A Showcase of 100 Design Quotes To Ignite Your Inspiration

Creativity is all around us – in the homes we live in, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and the food we eat.

When you’re looking for creative inspiration, where do you turn? Do you do a quick Google search, scan Behance, or dive into Dribbble? Inspiration comes in so many shapes and sizes, but for designers often the best inspiration comes from those who’ve been there and done it before.

Let’s take a look at 100 curated quotes by some of the most creative designers in history.

01. Design Well

1

Brian Reed is a front-end developer, musician, and self declared ‘ghostbuster’. This quote revels in the fact that everything we interact with is designed, but few things are designed properly and with thought.

02. Simply Complicated

2

Paul Rand was an American graphic designer best known for corporate logo design, like IBM and ABC. This quote brings attention to the fact that design itself is a simple idea, but the act of doing it is not as simple.

03. Design is Life

3

Issey Miyake is a Japanese fashion designer known for technology driven designs and exhibitions. This quote shows how important design is, and how it isn’t just an academic discipline, but a way we live our lives.

04. Smoke & Mirrors

4

This quote shows that bad design is misleading, and obscures the truth, while good design is reflective and truthful.

05. Cultural Values

5

Robert L. Peters is a designer actively involved in design education. This quote puts the notion into context that design inadvertently shapes the future.

06. Thoughtful Design

6

Ralph Caplan is a design consultant, writer, and public speaker. His quote shows that design can be a daunting thing, but it must be taken seriously, and if it isn’t it will be a real detriment to society.

07. Informational Understanding

7

Hans Hofmann was a teacher and painter, as well as one of the most important postwar American artists. His quote paints design as the mediator, as it helps relay information to bring understanding to the masses.

08. Design Works

8

Steve Jobs was an American businessman most famous for his co-founding of Apple. This quote proves that design isn’t just a tactile or aesthetic thing, but actually functional.

09. There Is Always Design

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Adam Judge is the author of two design books, ‘The Little Black Book of Design’ and ‘The Little Blue Book of Design’. This quote drives the notion home that everything is designed. No matter if it is good or bad, someone somewhere took the time to make it.

10. Color & Design

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Pierre Bonnard was a post-impressionist painter and printmaker. His quote brings to light that a design should not rely on its coloring to make it look ‘pretty’, but should be used to complement the design to its full advantage.

11. Transparent Design

11

Joe Sparano is an American graphic designer and teacher. This quote instills the idea that great design can often go unnoticed or be taken for granted because it is so effective.

12. Design Is Part Of Everything

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This quote brings design to the forefront, and makes it an apparent need in everyday life rather than being an afterthought and only something that makes things look nice.

13. Design & Technology

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Daniel Mall is a creative director, advisor, and band member of Four24, a Philly-based contemporary Christian band. His quote about technology and technique shows that tech cannot surpass traditional technique. Traditional technique is important in giving designs meaning.

14. Simple Elegance

14

This quote shows how simplicity, on of the most important aspects of design, can be viewed as elegant if it is used in just the right way.

15. Visible Intelligence

15

Alina Wheeler is in the business of strategic imagination and brand identity. Her quote shows that design is simply a way of physically showing intelligence. Intelligence becomes something you can touch and see when you pair it with design.

16. Think Efficiently

16

Pierre Reverdy was a French poet inspired by Surrealism, Dadaism, and Cubism. His idea portrayed in this quote is that being creative not only a way of thinking, it is the smartest way.

17. Nail the Basics

17

Chris Anderson’s quote shows the importance of a solid base idea. If you don’t start with a strong idea, no amount of embellishments will make it a good one.

18. The Question Forms The Answer

18

Piet Hein was a Danish architect, mathematician, and poet. His quote shows that design is all about problem solving, and that the problem must be looked at closely and fully understood before an answer can be reached.

19. Let Design Function

19

Micha Commeren is a designer from Amsterdam. His quote about design drives home the fact that design must function in order to serve its purpose.

20. Derived Meaning

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Paul Rand was an American graphic designer who specialized in corporate logos. He believed that logos needed to have a strong backbone, and that the logo itself could not be the backbone.

21. Art Is Freedom

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Paula Rego is a Portuguese visual artist who is known for her prints and paintings inspired by storybooks. Her quote shows that with art, you can express yourself however your heart desires.

22. Loving Design

22

Adam Judge is the author of two design books, ‘The Little Black Book of Design’ and ‘The Little Blue Book of Design’. He points out the fact that we shouldn’t get too attached to anything in the art world, because it is ever changing and we shouldn’t rely on a crutch.

23. Creativity Is Fun

23

Mary Lou Cook was an actress, singer, and dancer. This quote on creativity leaves no stones unturned, and encourages everyone to live life to the fullest in everything we do.

24. Design Is Everywhere

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Paul Rand was an American designer most well known for his logos. This quote, one of his many, shows that everything is designed – no matter what it is. The homes we live in, the products we buy, the cars we drive, the list goes on and on.

25. Step Away From Technology

25

Gerard Huerta is a designer and letterform creator. His message about getting away from the computer helps us see that we can’t always rely on technology. We need to get traditional from time to time and rediscover what design is really about.

26. Focus Your Imagination

26

Mark Twain was an American author. This quote relies on the importance of imagination, and how if we aren’t imaginative we won’t see wonderful ideas.

27. Design Is Storytelling

27

Lorinda Mamo is a designer and creative director. Her quote brings to attention that design relies on a story, and without a great story, you can’t have great design.

28. Fight The Ugly

28

Massimo Vignelli was an Italian minimalist designer. His quote shows that designers are constantly trying to make things beautiful, and we must eliminate the ugly things one at a time.

29. Design Is Visual

29

Saul Bass was an American graphic designer and filmmaker. This quote relays the fact that design is a thought process, and the final thoughts are seen in the final design.

30. Make Design Accessible

30

Steve Ballmer is an American businessman and former CEO of Microsoft. His quote on design points out that if your design is accessible to the masses, it serves no purpose.

31. Perfect Design

31

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a French writer and poet. His quote shows that design is a complicated process, and that we often over embellish things.

32. The Dreaded Deadline

32

Nolan Bushnell is an American engineer and entrepreneur. This quote shows what all designers despise most, but how it encourages us to work.

33. Don’t Fear Failure

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Dr. Edwin Land was a physicist, scientist, and inventor (he invented the Polaroid camera). His quote about creativity serves as a comfort, and lets us know it’s okay to fail. In order to be creative, we will fail, but we can’t fear it otherwise it will hinder us.

34. Content > Design

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Jeffrey Zeldman is a designer, author, and podcaster. His quote gives true meaning to design, and sets it apart from what people uneducated on the subject view it to be. Design needs substance, decor does not.

35. Design With Purpose

35

Charles Eames was an American designer who made major contributions to architecture and furniture. His quote on design points out the the fact that design serves a purpose and accomplishes a goal.

36. Design Is In Everything

36

Erik Adigard is a designer and media based artist. His quote takes on a deeper investigation into design, and shows how far it really goes.

37. Design Is Needed

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Charles Eames was an American designer who worked with architecture and furniture. This quote proves that design is a solution for a problem.

38. Design Will Save The World

38

David Carson is an American art director, designer, and surfer. He is comparing design to rock and roll, which is a great compliment. Rock and roll was a pivotal point in music history, and impacted many all over the world, just like design will.

39. Ideation

39

Ray Bradbury is an American fantasy, science fiction, horror and mystery fiction author. This quote is inspiring, because to be so full of wonderful ideas that you start everyday fresh and alert because of them is a great way to live.

40. Design Is Complicated

40

Paul Rand was an American designer most well known for his corporate logos. Here he is talking about design as a construct, how it in itself is simple, but the act and execution is complicated.

41. Typography & Design

41

Rohan Nanavati is an art director at Roar Studios in India. His quote addresses how important typography is to design, and how it shouldn’t be an afterthought.

42. Experience Typography

42

Helmut Schmid is a designer and typographer. His quote about typography shows that it isn’t just about pretty letters, but creating a feeling with those letters and phrases.

43. Design Is Advertising

43

Paul Rand was an American graphic designer most well known for his logos. This quote is a declaration that while design is art, it serves an economical purpose.

44. When Art Works

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John Maeda is a Japanese-American designer, computer scientist, and author. His quote about art is that art isn’t straightforward, and not everyone will appreciate its complexities.

45. Responses To Design

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Milton Glaser is one of the most well known designers in the United States, famous for his I Love NY image. This quote shows that you don’t want to just get by with alright design, you should want to dazzle with your work.

46. Experience Design

46

Stefan Sagmeister is a New York based graphic designer and photographer. He is comparing design to classic pieces of art, and giving credibility to both.

47. The Bad Comes Before The Good

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Paula Scher is an American graphic designer, painter, and educator. Her quote suggests that mistakes are a part of living. You need to make them in order to change.

48. Are You Ever Done?

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Neville Brody is a London born graphic designer. His quote suggests that when we design digitally, it never feels quite complete.

49. Know Your Users

49

Joshua Brewer is a graphic designer based in San Francisco. His quote suggests that you should consider others when designing, because not everyone thinks in the same manner.

50. Create Beauty

50

Saul Bass was an American graphic designer and filmmaker. His quote about creating beautiful things for himself is inspiring. He doesn’t care if anyone else needs it, he’s creating it for him.

51. Simplicity & Clarity

51

Lindon Leader is a graphic designer, and the creator of the award-winning FedEx logo. This quote is informative, and tells you two of the most important things in design.

52. Build Something New

52

Adam Judge is the author of two design books, ‘The Little Black Book of Design’ and ‘The Little Blue Book of Design’. This quote informs you that you should always try to be original and come up with innovative ideas, rather than recycle others’ ideas.

53. Continue The Story

53

Tate Linden is an American branding and strategy expert. His quote on design shows that successful design doesn’t have to come to an end, it can continue on and continue being informative.

54. Don’t Try To Save Bad Content

54

Edward R. Tufte is a statistician, artist, and professor at Yale University. This quote informs us that if your story isn’t great, no amount of design can save it.

55. Intrigue Viewers

55

Alexander Isley is a brand strategist and identity designer. His quote tells us that design’s goal should be not only to educate, but to intrigue viewers and make them curious.

56. There Are No Bad Clients

56

Bob Gill is a designer and illustrator. This quote takes a different perspective on a ‘bad client’. It suggests that clients are never bad or difficult, you just need to guide them to make the best decisions.

57. Detailed Design

57

Charles Eames was an American designer who made major contributions to architecture and furniture. His quote on design suggests that the small things are what makes up the bigger picture, and every detail is crucial.

58. Create Envy

58

Frank Chimero describes himself as a designer who writes. This quote is all about being innovative and inspiring envy and jealousy from your peers due to your great ideas.

59. Design Is Paradise

59

George Santayana was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. His quote regarding graphic design paints it as a wonderful thing, full of whimsy and enjoyment.

60. Don’t Rely On Software

60

David Carson is an American art director, designer, and surfer. This quote brings to light that fancy programs and technologies can’t make you a good designer. You have to be a good designer before the programs.

61. Design Makes Ideas Tangible

61

Debbie Millman is a writer, artist, brand consultant, and radio show host. Her quote puts design on a pedestal, right where it should be. Designers are incredibly important parts of our lives, and make the world a better place.

62. Design Is An Act

62

Ellen Lupton is a designer, writer, curator, and educator. Her quote about design brings to light that design isn’t always about creating something on the page, but knowing when to not create it.

63. Designers Aren’t Understood

63

Fabien Barral is a graphic designer specializing in innovative and unique ideas. He paints the designer as a complex creature, and one that most people can’t quite pin down – just like most creatives.

64. Make & Fix Mistakes

64

Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect, writer, and interior designer. This quote makes the idea of fixing mistakes at any point during the process okay. It lets you know that you shouldn’t let something go just because it is in its final stages.

65. Don’t Rely On Images

65

Germano Facetti was an Italian graphic designer who worked at Penguin Books. His quote on imagery shows that designers cannot rely on imagery alone, that it has to be part of something bigger to truly be successful.

66. Visible Function

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Jennifer Morla is president and creative director of Morla Design in San Francisco. Her opinion on design is that it makes content tangible, and clearly depicts something meaningful.

67. Design Adds Value

67

Joel Spolsky is a web programmer, writer, and the creator of Trello. His take on design is that when it’s done well, products become more valuable, but don’t necessarily have to be more expensive.

68. Marketing Needs Design, & Vice Versa

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Von Glitschka is an illustrative designer. His quote gives purpose to both marketing and design, showing that they both need each other to be valuable.

69. You Can’t Please Everyone

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Leisa Reichelt is a freelance user experience designer. Her take on design is that you can’t please everyone when you design. You should keep your audience in the forefront of your mind, but don’t worry about those not in your target.

70. Designing Is No Easy Job

70

Marty Neumeier is an American author and speaker about brand, design, and creativity. This quote pokes fun at those who don’t think design is challenging by showing how stressful it really is.

71. Good vs. Bad Design

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Mieke Gerritzen is an Amsterdam born designer, producer, and director. Her quote is a play on a popular quote ‘good dogs go to heaven…’ but instead incorporates design. She points out that bad design is all around us, and good design can be hard to come by.

72. Communicate Clearly

72

Milton Glaser is one of the most well known designers in the United States, famous for his I Love NY image. His quote about communication brings to light the need to communicate in whatever ways you can, but make sure it is done in a way that is easily understood.

73. Design Tricks The Brain

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Neville Brody is a London born graphic designer. His opinion on design is that it is almost like an optical illusion, and your brain must work to figure it out.

74. Don’t Aim For Simplicity

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Paul Rand was an American designer most well known for his corporate logos. He believed that you shouldn’t go into something with the aim of only keeping it simple. It should be simple when it needs to be, and it will arrive at that point when the idea is sound.

75. Don’t Underestimate Your Abilities

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Paula Scher is an American graphic designer, painter, and educator. She suggests that in order to learn and grow, you should take on challenges you don’t believe yourself to be prepared for.

76. Design With A Plan

76

Charles Eames was an American designer working in architecture and furniture. His quote suggests that design is the solution for a problem, and is carefully thought out to achieve a goal.

77. Have A Concept

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Petrula Vontrikis is a designer, author, and educator in Los Angeles. Her quote is a play on another popular adage, yet takes on the idea that good design comes from a concept. It isn’t just something to look at and admire.

78. Style Is Silent Communication

78

Rachel Zoe is a stylist, designer, and editor. She presents that you can represent who you are by simply having your own style – whether it be clothing or your design style.

79. Good Design Does Multiple Things

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Raymond Loewy was a French-born American industrial designer who was known as ‘the man who shaped America’ and ‘the father of industrial design.’ His perception of good design is design that works for people, makes the company money, and doesn’t rub visual people the wrong way.

80. Designers Give Form To Ideas

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Rudy VanderLans is a Dutch graphic and type designer. He suggests that designers bring other people’s ideas to life, and that if designers only had their own ideas, they wouldn’t do work for other people.

81. Don’t Forget Traditional Techniques

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Wim Crouwel is yet another Dutch graphic and type designer. He believes that computers are only a tool in the design process. If you can’t design with pencil and paper, you won’t be able to do it with technology.

82. Great Things Are Made Of Small Things

82

Vincent Van Gogh is an incredibly famous Post-Impressionist painter. His quote about great things can be applied to design, meaning that small things help create great design. It’s all in the details.

83. You’re In Control

83

Von Glitschka is an illustrative designer. His quote here states that the client may think they’re in charge, but they’re not doing the design. Do good work and make the client see that it’s good work.

84. Good Design Is Invisible

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John D. Berry is an editor and typographer. He shows here that bad design is noticed, yet good design remains unnoticed.

85. Designers Solve Problems

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This quote points out the fact that designers are problem solvers. We can take a unique and creative approach to help out businesses.

86. Design Gives Us Personality

86

Joe Mansueto is the CEO of Morningstar, Inc. He brings to attention that design lets you stand out and be unique compared to everyone else.

87. Design Solves Art’s Problems

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Karl Gerstner is a prominent Swiss graphic designer. He juxtaposes design and art, and says that design is the solution to art.

88. Design With Intent

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Robert L. Peters is a designer actively involved in design education. His take on design is that it must be done with purpose, and should never just happen willy nilly. There should always be a plan.

89. Design Should Be Natural

89

Roger Black is a notarized magazine designer. This quote shows that design should be natural and should never look forced.

90. Design Is Optimized Art

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Shimon Shmueli is a creative with experience in engineering, marketing, and design. This quote shows that while art doesn’t always serve a specific purpose, design does. Design solves problems, but can look like a beautiful piece of art while doing it.

91. Design Creates Relationships

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Steve Rogers is an illustrative graphic designer. His quote focuses on the need for there to be a relationship between a product and the user.

92. Bad Design Doesn’t Make A Bad Designer

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This quote shows that good designers make bad designs sometimes. It’s important to try your best, but if you get in a rut don’t get too down. You’ll come out of it, and be a better designer after.

93. Resolve Issues With Design

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Soumeet Lanka is an architect who focuses solely on furniture, products, and interior design. He suggests that the crucial element of design is being sure to fix problems, all of the little things aren’t as important.

94. Design Feeds The Soul

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Dieter F. Uchtdorf is in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This quote depicts creation as something primitive within us as humans, and something we must do to feel complete and at peace.

95. Design With Discipline

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Massimo Vignelli was an Italian minimalist designer. This quote creates a relationship between design, discipline, and intelligence. Designers are intelligent, and are disciplined in their practice in order to create their best work.

96. Never Forget Traditional Methods

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Milton Glaser is one of the most well known designers in the United States. This comparison shows that computers are only a tool in the design world, and really only act as a shortcut. Good design doesn’t come from computers, it comes from good designers.

97. Make Everything Fun

97

Irene Etzkorn is a clarity officer with Siegelvision. She suggests that if you’re bored with a project, you should take a different approach. If you’re creative enough, you can make anything incredibly interesting.

98. Create Meaningful Design

98

John Maeda is a Japanese-American designer, computer scientist, and author. His take on simplicity is that only meaningful parts should be included in your design. Trim it down as much as possible and make it purely informative.

99. Reach For The Sky

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M.C. Escher is a world famous graphic artist. His wise quote encourages you to push the limits and go for the extremes. You won’t be able to break new grounds if you only dip your toes in the pool.

100. Living Life Through Design

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Alan Fletcher was the father of British graphic design. His quote sums up this article nicely, and tells us that design is a way of living. It isn’t a simple action, but truly a part of who we are as human beings.

Have we missed one?

After reading all of these amazing quotes, it’s hard not to be inspired to create something truly wonderful. If we’ve overlooked a design quote that gets your creative juices flowing, add it in the comment section below.

Caitlin Jordan is a graphic designer and copywriter from Columbus, OH. Apart from design and writing, she loves all things beauty. She combines her passion for both in a beauty blog and beauty channel on YouTube.