101 Design Quotes


Sometimes a good quote is innumerably more helpful then you were expecting because you did not even know the question to ask to receive such advice. So, here is a compilation of 101 design quotes collected from here and there and all across the interweebs – Enjoy.

Do you have a design related quote? Please leave it in the comments below.


Design is everything. Everything!

— Paul Rand


Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.

— Joe Sparano


The most innovative designers consciously reject the standard option box and cultivate an appetite for thinking wrong.

— Marty Neumeier


A designer is a planner with an aesthetic sense.

— Bruno Munari


The design process, at its best, integrates the aspirations of art, science, and culture.

— Jeff Smith


Math is easy; design is hard.

— Jeffrey Veen


The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

— Unknown


Good design is good business.

— Thomas J. Watson Jr.


A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

— Antoine de Saint Exupéry


Never hesitate on how you want your steak done.

— Unknown


The future influences the present just as much as the past.

— Unknown


Always do what you are afraid to do.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson


I made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it short.

— Blaise Pascal


The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.

— Bruce Lee

Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.

— Paul Rand


Providing, meaning to a mass of unrelated needs, ideas, words and pictures – it is the designer’s job to select and fit this material together and make it interesting.

— Paul Rand



Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.

— Paul Rand



Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.

— Christian Dior



A camel is a horse designed by committee.

— Alec Issigonis



An expert is someone who tells you why you can’t do something.

— Alec Issigonis



The public don’t know what they want; it’s my job to tell them.

— Alec Issigonis



Computers are to design as microwaves are to cooking.

— Milton Glaser


Camouflage should only be worn in the presence of the animal you are hunting.

— Unknown



The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.

— Milton Glaser



To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.

— Milton Glaser


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

— Steve Jobs, 2003


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 Adigard


I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

— Pablo Picasso


Truly elegant design incorporates top-notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form.

— David Lewis


Design is as much a matter of finding problems as it is solving them.

— Bryan Lawson


Good art inspires; Good design motivates.

— Otl Aicher


Design is where science and art break even.

— Robin Mathew


You can have an art experience in front of a Rembrandt… or in front of a piece of graphic design.

— Stefan Sagmeister


Simplicity does not mean want or poverty. It does not mean the absence of any decor, or absolute nudity. It only means that the decor should belong intimately to the design proper, and that anything foreign to it should be taken away.

— Paul Jacques Grillo


There ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something.

— Thomas Edison


Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.

— Leonardo da Vinci


The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.

— Neil Gaiman


Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.

— Pablo Picasso


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

— Charles Eames


Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.

— Brian Reed


There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence.

— Massimo Vignelli


People ignore design that ignores people.

— Frank Chimero


Art is an idea that has found its perfect visual expression. And design is the vehicle by which this expression is made possible. Art is a noun, and design is a noun and also a verb. Art is a product and design is a process. Design is the foundation of all the arts.

— Paul Rand


It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.

— Steve Jobs


Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because that idea wasn’t theirs.

— Frank Chimero


The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness.

— Massimo Vignelli


Form follows function-that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.

— Frank Lloyd


Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.

— Paul Rand


The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.

— Milton Glaser


To design something really well you have to get it. You have to really grok what it’s all about. It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something — chew it up, not just quickly swallow it .. .. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. They don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions, without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.

— Steve Jobs, Wired (March, 1996)


When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I only think about how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution isn’t beautiful, I know it is wrong.



I think there are two types of people in this world – people who can start things and people who can finish things. And while I place great value on the finishers, it’s the starters who are rare because they can envision what isn’t there.



Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.

— E. F. Schumacher, Economist


Design is people.

— Jane Jacobs, Urbanist


[A designer is] an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist.

— Buckminster Fuller


The designer… has a passion for doing something that fits somebody’s needs, but that is not just a simple fix. The designer has a dream that goes beyond what exists, rather than fixing what exists… the designer wants to create a solution that fits in a deeper situational or social sense.

— David Kelley, Founder of IDEO (from Terry Winograd’s book “Bringing Design to Software”)


Design is art that makes itself useful.

— 1984 poster for Die Neue Sammlung, design museum, Munich


Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.

— Dieter Rams


Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition.

— Freeman Thomas, Automobile Designer, DaimlerChrysler


There is no such thing as a boring project. There are only boring executions.

— Irene Etzkorn


There are three basic principles behind any well-designed product: truth, humanity, and simplicity.

— Sohrab Vossoughi, Founder and President, Ziba Design Inc.


Graphic designers are, by and large selfish and spoiled. They stubbornly control and individually design things that are generally smaller than them, perfecting to a level appreciated only by people like them. They don’t share and play well with others

— Wayne Hunt


Designers are meant to be loved, not to be understood

– Fabien Barral

You can’t do better design with a computer, but you can speed up your work enormously.

— Wim Crouwal


Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.

— Salvador Dali


The science of design, or of line-drawing, if you like to use this term, is the source and very essence of painting, sculpture, architecture… Sometimes… it seems to me that… all the works of the human brain and hand are either design itself or a branch of that art.

— Michelangelo


Good design, like good painting, cooking, architecture or whatever you like, is a manifestation of the capacity of the human spirit to transcend its limitations.

— George Nelson


Good design means as little design as possible.

— Dieter Rams


Unless it gets in the way of a creative flash of inspiration, design time is never wasted.

— Tony Smibert


The design process is basic problem-solving.

— Jack Stoops


Design is thinking made visual.

— Saul Bass


There is no better designer than nature

— Alexander McQueen


When you make something no one hates, no one loves it.

— Tibor Kalman


To be outstanding – get comfortable with being uncomfortable

— Alrik Koudenburg


Artists are natural marketers for everyone but themselves

— Oren Sherman


No amount of skillful invention can replace the essential element of imagination

— Edward Hopper


The design process harnesses intuition. Like an iceberg there’s so much more to our thinking than we can see

— @billmoggridge


Your style is defined by what makes you feel most comfortable.

— Unknown


Learn from those who came before you.

— Unknown


Don’t mistake activity for achievement.

— John Wooden


The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.

— Coco Chanel


Of all the achievements of the human mind, the birth of the alphabet is the most momentous.

— Frederic Goudy


Watching me work is like watching a refrigerator make ice.

— M Carter


Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

— William Morris


We must never confuse elegance with snobbery.

— Yves Saint Laurent


Delete the negative; Accentuate the positive!

— Donna Karan


The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.

— William Morris



That is what the title of artist means: one who perceives more than his fellows, and who records more than he has seen.

— Edward Gordon Craig



If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.

— Marc Chagall

All colors are the friends of their neighbours and the lovers of their opposites.

— Marc Chagall


Make clever simple and simple clever

— Unkown


Good artists copy, Great artists steal

— Pablo Picasso


I am still learning.

— Michelangelo


A person without imagination is like a teabag without hot water.

— Alan Fletcher


A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.

— Louis Nizer

A great trademark is appropriate, dynamic, distinctive, memorable and unique.

— Primo Angeli


Great designers seldom make great advertising men, because they get overcome by the beauty of the picture – and forget that merchandise must be sold.

— James Randolph Adams


If there were a prerequisite for the future successful digital creative, it would be the passion for discovery.

— John Maeda


Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.

— Scott Adams


Type design moves at the pace of the most conservative reader. The good type-designer therefore realizes that, for a new font to be successful, it has to be so good that only very few recognize its novelty.

— Stanley Morrison


Great design is all about details. With innovative material selection, sensible construction techniques and modern aesthetics one can craft a unique design language that sets a new standard.

— Roi James


Simplicity, carried to an an extreme, becomes elegance.

— Jon Franklin