51 Inspirational Quotes on Design and Creativity
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51 Inspirational Quotes on Design and Creativity

A collection of quotes on design, creativity, and inspiration from legends of the field.

Quotes On Design

“Get rid of everything that is not essential to making a point.”
 — Christopher Neimann

“Design can help to improve our lives in the present. Design thinking can help us chart a path into the future.”
 — Tim Brown

“Good design is good business.” 
 — Thomas Watson Jr.

“Simplicity will stand out, while complexity will get lost in the crowd.”
 — Kevin Barnett

“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible,”
 — Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

“Design is more than just a few tricks to the eye. It’s a few tricks to the brain.”
 — Neville Brody

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
 — Steve Jobs

“Make it simple, but significant.” 
 — Don Draper (fictional character, Mad Men)

“It’s the feeling of being an eternal student that keeps this profession interesting.”
 — Adrian Shaughnessy, How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”
 — Robert L. Peters

“Bad design shouts at you. Good design is the silent seller.”
 — Shane Meendering

“the more things you’re interested in, the better your work will be.”
 — Michael Beirut, 79 Short Essays on Design

“Define what the product will do before you design how the product will do it.”
— Alan Cooper, About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design

“If you can make a compelling argument, and win enough minds, and if you can transform various parts of our world sufficiently, then the moment belongs to you.”
— Debbie Millman, Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

“There are three responses to a piece of design — yes, no and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”
 — Milton Glaser

“Design is art optimized to meet objectives.”
 — Shimon Shmueli

“Design is the last great competitive advantage.”
— Seth Godin

“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”
 — Paul Rand

“designers actually can change the world for the better by making the complicated simple and finding beauty in truth.”
 — Michael Beirut, 79 Short Essays on Design

“Design is intelligence made visible.”
 — Alina Wheeler

“Every great design begins with an even better story.”
 — Lorinda Mamo

“Design is one of the few disciplines that is a science as well as an art. Effective, meaningful design requires intellectual, rational rigor along with the ability to elicit emotions and beliefs. Thus, designers must balance both the logic and lyricism of humanity every time they design something, a task that requires a singularly mysterious skill.”
 — Debbie Millman, How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer

“Accessible design is good design.”
 — Steve Ballmer

“Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.” 
 — Massimo Vignelli

“Rule of thumb: if you think something is clever and sophisticated beware-it is probably self-indulgence.”
 — Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

“Design is thinking made visual”
 — Saul Bass

“Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because that idea wasn’t theirs.”
 — Frank Chimero

“Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.”
 — Jeffery Zeldman

“Design is in everything we make, but it’s also between those things. It’s a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy.”
 — Erik Edigard

Quotes on Typography

“Typography is a hidden tool of manipulation within society.”
— Neville Brody

“There is only one type of designer — the type that cares about type.”
 — Rohan Nanavati

“Typography needs to be audible. Typography needs to be felt. Typography needs to be experienced.”
 — Helmut Schmid

Quotes on Creativity

“Where people aren’t having any fun, they seldom produce good work.”
 — David Ogilvy

“Having guts always works out for me.” 
 — Stefan Sagmeister

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Have the confidence to fail. Persistence is key.
 — Jessica Walsh

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
 — Albert Einstein

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
 — Henry Ford

“Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.”
 — Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.

“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”
 — Paula Scher

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
 — Maya Angelou

“One must dare to be happy.”
— Gertrude Stein

“Confidence means believing in yourself. If you don’t believe that what you have to offer is of any value, well, no one’s going to pay for it.”
 — David Airey, Work for Money, Design for Love

Quotes on Inspiration

“I find going to bed and pulling my imagination over my head often means waking up with a solution to a design problem. That state of limbo, the time between sleeping and waking, seems to allow ideas to somehow outflank the sentinels of common sense.”
 — Alan Fletcher, The Art of Looking Sideways

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
 — Walt Disney

“I prefer to see with closed eyes.”
 — Josef Albers

“The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.”
 — Nolan Bushnell

“Where do ideas come from? From looking at one thing, and seeing another. From fooling around, from playing with possibilities, from speculating, from changing, pushing, pulling, transforming, and if you’re lucky, you come up with something worth saving, using, and building on. That’s where the game stops and the work begins.” 
 — Saul Bass, Short Film: Why Man Creates

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
— Mark Twain

“Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.”
 — Pablo Picasso

“Genius gives birth, talent delivers. What Rembrandt or Van Gogh saw in the night can never be seen again.”
— Jack Kerouac

Inspiration comes and goes, but the best thing you can do is press on. In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” We hope these quotes give you an added boost to keep creating.

Have some inspired design work that needs to make its way onto a t-shirt. Let us know. Our team can’t wait to turn your design ideas into reality.

Originally Published 04/18/2019 | Updated 05/18/2023

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