Visual complexity is frequently studied, and previous research on this topic has been discussed several times in Research Design Connections. A study conducted by Wang and team confirms the benefits of designing in moderate levels of visual complexity. They learned that for web design “Product images with higher background complexity attract greater attention. . . . Higher background complexity distracts more attention away from the focal product. . . . Moderate background complexity can best promote product information processing. . . . Moderate background complexity can best facilitate consumer purchase intention. . . . Product images with moderate background complexity best promote consumer processing of product information, thereby increasing purchase intention. . . . consumers with a field-dependent cognitive style are more susceptible to being influenced by background complexity.” Field dependence is discussed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Field_dependence.
Qiuzhen Wang, Da Ma, Hanyue Chen, Xuhong Ye, and Qing Xu. “Effects of Background Complexity on Consumer Visual Processing: An Eye-Tracking Study.” Journal of Business Research, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.07.018