We all naturally relate to the things we understand. 

We also naturally think we understand a lot more than we do.

Everything has its language. Design has a language too.

The great thing about language is that it is meant to be clear and simple in order to be expressive. When it gets too complicated it starts to become impressive and fails to be communicative.

What is also great is that there is an easy way to gage the effectiveness of language.

Nothing grows exponentially forever. Therefore there is always a point between two extremes where things start to decline from one to the other, naturally.

The sketch below shows the impressive/expressive curve in relation to the effectiveness of design language.

Expressive / Impressive

Expressive / Impressive

As you can see there is an optimal point after which expressiveness slowly starts to becomes impressive.

It shows that when trying to be too expressive we fall into the trap of impressiveness and loose both expressiveness and impressiveness entirely.

So what does this have to do with design?

As stated above. Design has a language too, and is not exempt from falling into the impressiveness trap. 

So thinking about your designs, when do they reach that critical point, that sweet spot when you feel your are trying to impress?

All designs have one. The best ones, the ones you know and hear about have designers behind them who stop at that point, realising that going too far would take away from the core expression of the design.

 And that is arguably the main reason behind most successful designs. They get as far as possible in delivering the core message, but no more; avoiding the trap that most designs fall into.