Most of us are aware that less is more when it comes to communication.

I would have written you a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time. — derived from Blaise Pascal, Provincial Letters XVI.

This same rule applies when it comes to pictures.

Here an image I used in The Agile Samurai to explain one of the two pillars of agile analysis—just-in-time analysis.

This is a powerful concept and there were a lot of points I wanted to make with this picture.

It’s a good image.
Get’s the point across.
But the reader has to work too hard to figure out what I am really trying to say.

Here is the same image, but with fewer lines and less noise.

Much better. Intent jumps right off the page.

I don’t have a systematic way of determine when removing a line or word makes sense and when it doesn’t.

Best advice I can offer to to draw your art both ways and see what feels better.

So the next time you are preparing that killer graphic, see if there are any lines or words you could remove before hitting the save button.

You’ll audience will appreciate the clarity and you will stand a greater chance of getting your point across.