"Don't call the world dirty because you forgot to clean your glasses."
~ Aaron Hill
I really should vacuum. I should also do the dishes, dust the bunnies, take the garbage out and if the bathroom hasn't been taken away by health authorities, I should probably take a soapy brush to that as well. We have a tendency to let things like this slide, especially when we're busy doing more enjoyable stuff (e.g. practically anything else). Inevitably, the detritus we ignore adds up and the time comes that leaving mops, brooms and other implements of cleaning strategically placed around the house is no longer fooling anyone. We look up from our other pursuits, see the world around us as the messy place we've allowed it to become, get totally grossed out, have an epiphany and find ourselves reacquainting ourselves with cleaning equipment. The tough part is figuring out what we should hold onto and what we should toss. (Hint: dust and dirt, bad; spare change hidden in the couch and the dog found in the laundry basket, good.) And when we're done that arduous task, we can get to go back to the more enjoyable stuff again.
And in a way, design is like that. After a period of time with our heads down working on a project, we look back over what we've done and clean up. We do that because a lot of ideas come pouring out and, like some people, not all of them belong together. Untrained designers, like hoarders, tend to skip that bit. What they produce may be all loaded up with all sorts of neat stuff but there may be just too much of it and people who look at it may not know where to look first or how to wade through it all. Or even want to. Hence, the message that is trying to break through becomes lost in the clutter. Eyes glaze over. And good campaigns die a miserable death.
Seasoned designers keep things clean. In fact, as they become used to producing material with simplicity and clarity they see possibilities in their heads, learn to recognize what they're going to eventually throw out and tidy up as they go along.
Just like I should learn to do with my housework...