Design: the body language of writing.
A book is an island of calm, where nuance and explanation are possible.
It is through design that words make their first impact on a reader; a good design draws the reader in and guides them through the work, without getting in their way.
I believe visual design is far more than logos and icons: it is a systematic way of reinforcing the message through the design of the communications. A reader of your annual report should feel the energy of your commitment before they read even one word of the document; opening a fundraising letter should entice the potential donor to want to help you, even before they see your pitch. Your presentation slides (and handouts) should engage your audience on multiple levels in concert with your speaker.
As an independent graphic designer, I pride myself on creating clean, consistent designs which draw the reader in, then get out of the way to let the content shine.