32 Graphic Design Quotes to Inspire

As we gear up for the end of the year, it’s the perfect time to begin new projects or bite the bullet and finish others. If you’re looking for some inspiration to kick start your workday, look no further. Here are 32 memorable quotes from design greats, many who have timeless wisdom tidbits that act as simple reminders of why we’re in the business (and perhaps, here to stay). How different are these graphic designers? There are no two alike. Every designer has their own reason for taking up the trade—others have inspiring reasons to keep them going in tough times. Here are some of them.

best graphic design quotes

  1. “Any good typeface can be completely destroyed when misused or extensively overused.” —Alexander Gelman
  2. “Design is thinking made visual.” —Saul Bass
  3. “It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.” —Paula Scher
  4. “The ultimate inspiration is the deadline.” —Nolan Bushnell
  5. “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” —Hans Hofmann
  6. “Waste is a design flaw.” —Kate Krebs
  7. “You can have an art experience in front of Rembrandt … or in front of a piece of graphic design.” —Stefan Sagmeister
  8. “Do not seek praise, seek criticism.” —Paul Arden
  9. “Effective problem solving in design requires a balance of strategy and spontaneity, intelligence and creativity.” —Maggie Macnab
  10. “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
  11. “The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire and persistence.” —Milton Glaser
  12. “Perfect typography is certainly the most elusive of all arts.” —Jan Tschichold
  13. “Designers may be the true intellectuals of the future.” —Paola Antonelli
  14. “Design is intelligence made visible.” —Alina Wheeler
  15. “Effective, meaningful design requires intellectual, rational rigor along with the ability to elicit emotions and beliefs.” —Debbie Millman
  16. “Typefaces are to the written word what different dialects are to different languages.” —Steven Heller
  17. “Color does not add a pleasant quality to design—it reinforces it.” —Pierre Bonnard
  18. “The goal of a designer is to listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathize, synthesize and glean insight that enables him or her to make the invisible visible.” —Hillman Curtis
  19. “The true entrepreneur is a risk taker, not an excuse maker.” —VDEXTERS
  20. “Everything is designed, few things are designed well.” —Brian Reed
  21. “A logo derives meaning from the quality of the thing it symbolizes, not the other way around.” —Paul Rand
  22. “No design works unless it embodies ideas that are held common by the people for whom the object is intended.” —Adrian Forty
  23. “Design is a solution to a problem; art is a question to a problem.” —John Maeda
  24. “Design is a formal response to a strategic question.” —Mariona Lopez
  25. “Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because that idea wasn’t theirs.” —Unknown
  26. “Practice safe design; use a concept.” —Petrula Vrontkis
  27. “Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas, worry about the day they stop.” —Jeffrey Zeldman
  28. “Good design is obvious, great design is transparent.” —Joe Sparano
  29. “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like, design is how it works.” —Steve Jobs
  30. “I am a graphic designer, not a miracle worker, I can’t make bad ideas look good.” —Unknown
  31. “Design is where science and art break even.” —Robin Mathew
  32. “Graphic designers judge a cover by its book.” —Mokokoma Mokhonoana