Design Quotes for Creatives (Love Letters to Great Design)

Check out these amazing design quotes from the best design thinkers, artists and creatives in the design space.

Get inspired to ideate and create!

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“Art is solving problems that cannot be formulated before they have been solved. The shaping of the question is part of the answer.”

Piet Hein

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.”

Joe Sparano  

“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.”

Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless  

“Users’ problems are design opportunities.”

Mario Maruffi  

“Absurdity and anti—absurdity are the two poles of creative energy.”

Karl Lagerfeld  

“Typography is the craft of endowing human language with a durable visual form.”

Robert Bringhurst, The Elements of Typographic Style  

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman’s Odyssey  

“If you can design one thing, you can design everything.”

Massimo Vignelli  

“When you want to know how things really work, study them when they’re coming apart.”

William Gibson, Zero History  

“Everything is design. Everything!”

Paul Rand  
Paul Rand

“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” 

John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life 

“Simple is good.” 

Jim Henson, It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider 

“Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”

Paul Rand  

“Clear thinking at the wrong moment can stifle creativity.”

Karl Lagerfeld  

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

Steve Jobs  

“Design is an opportunity to continue telling the story, not just to sum everything up.”

Tate Linden  

“The Fibonacci Sequence turns out to be the key to understanding how nature designs… and is… a part of the same ubiquitous music of the spheres that builds harmony into atoms, molecules, crystals, shells, suns and galaxies and makes the Universe sing.”  

Guy Murchie, The Seven Mysteries of Life: An Exploration of Science and Philosophy

“A chair is the first thing you need when you don’t really need anything, and is therefore a peculiarly compelling symbol of civilization. For it is civilization, not survival, that requires design.”  

Ralph Caplan

“Art is life. Design is emotion. Craft is the expression of humanity.” 

Cesare Giovanelli

“Beige is the color of indecision”

Paula Scher  
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“Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.”

Charles Eames  

“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”

Robert L. Peters  

“Thinking about design is hard, but not thinking about it can be disastrous.”

Ralph Caplan

“When brainstorming encourage wild and crazy ideas. Nonsense often leads to ideas that make perfect sense.”  

Sam Harrison, Creative Zing! Spark Your Creativity & Powerfully Present Your ideas

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

Lorinda Mamo

“Design is art optimized to meet objectives.”

Shimon Shmueli

“Attention must be paid’ is the cardinal rule of design discipline, for the designer is above all someone who pays attention to the situation at hand.”

Ralph Caplan

“You are responsible for what you put into the world.”  

Victor Papanek, Design for the Real World: Human Ecology and Social Change

“Simple can be harder than complex” 

Steve Jobs

“Art is self-centered
Design is user-centered”

Mario Maruffi  
Mario Maruffi, black and white, design quotes for creatives
Mario Maruffi

“I would say that an understanding of man’s intrinsic needs, and of the necessity to search for a climate in which those needs could be realized, is fundamental to the education of the designer.”  

Paul Rand

“Unvalidated design assumptions are risky design solutions.”

Mario Maruffi

“It’s a great day to design.”

Adrienne Posey

“The best idea tools are pen, paper and imagination.”  

Sam Harrison, Creative Zing! Spark Your Creativity & Powerfully Present Your ideas

“It is a funny paradox of design: utility breeds beauty. There is elegance in efficiency, a visual pleasure in things that just barely work.”  

Ben Orlin, Math with Bad Drawings

“The only difference between design and art is that design sometimes needs a reason, and art never does .”

Mike Stagnitta

“If you keep keep colouring within the boxes and writing on the lines, you may never be able to do something remarkable. Break your spirit free to explore.”

Bernard Kelvin Clive

“Good design decisions are rarely guessed.”

Mario Maruffi

“Good design adds value”

Amanda Talbot, Rethink: The Way You Live  

“My philosophy is best summed up by the phrase ‘plain, simple, and useful.’ Such things may not win many design prizes, but neither do they go out of fashion.”

Sir Terence Conran

“Sophistication is the craft of subtlety that goes noticed.”

John Maeda, Redesigning Leadership

“My philosophy is best summed up by the phrase ‘plain, simple, and useful.’ Such things may not win many design prizes, but neither do they go out of fashion.”

Sir Terence Conran

“A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense.”

Bruno Munari, Design as Art

“When typography is on point, words become images.”  

Shawn Lukas

“Design is a human ritual of understanding.”  

Maggie Macnab, Design by Nature: Using Universal Forms and Principles in Design

“Bad design cannot be patched up with labels, instruction manuals or training courses.”  

Donald Norman
Don Norman, color photograph the father of design.  Design quotes for creatives
Don Norman

“Good design is as little as possible. Less, but better, because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.”  

Dieter Rams, Weniger, Aber Besser/Less But Better

“Design is fluid. It’s liquid. It moves like water and fills every space…”

Justin Matthew Vance

“Anyone who doesn’t design, accepts to be designed.”

Giulio Carlo Argan

“Working within the constraints of a problem is part of the fun and challenge of design.”

Ellen Lupton, Graphic Design: The New Basics
Ellen Lupton, blurred photo looking to the distance, design quotes for creatives
Ellen Lupton

“Designers love subtle cues, because subtlety is one of the traits of sophisticated design. But web users are
generally in such a hurry that they routinely miss subtle cues.”  

Steve Krug, Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability

“To design is to plan and to organize, to order, to relate and to control. In short it embraces all means of opposing disorder and accident. Therefore it signifies a human need and qualifies man’s thinking and doing.”

Josef Albers

“design is so important because chaos is so hard”

Jules Feiffer

“The designer’s job is to imagine the world not how it is, but how it should be.”

Sir Terence Conran

“We interrogate the world by making.”

Bill Burnett

These design quotes are perfect for getting your creative juices flowing! Looking for a creative hobby?

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