50 Quotes From Timeless Designers

Designers are one of the most inspiring people whether we know it or not. Their opinions and advice are priceless. What makes designers so relatable is that their quotes often do not exclusively pertain to design itself but about life in general. These inspiring quotes have been used by many people in their speeches, lifetime advices and principles in life.

The following article lists down 50 quotes from timeless designers. You might have heard or read some of these, and have maybe even used them in your own way. These quotes have been classified according to the different types of designers, such as fashion designers, architects, graphic designers, and many more.


Tibor Kalman is a famous American graphic designer with Hungarian root. He is known as one of the most gifted graphic designers of all times. He founded Barnes and Noble and worked as a creative director for famous magazines such as Colors Magazine, Art forum and Interview. Among his famous quotes include the following:

  1. “The difference between good design and great design is intelligence.”
    – Tibor Kalman


Oscar de la Renta, a fashion designer from the Dominican Republic is known for his iconic designs of shoes worn by many celebrities across the world. Among his famous quotes include the following:

  1. “I wanted this, I wanted to do this, but my work is me, and it has to be right.”
    – Oscar de la Renta

Edith Head

Edith Head was an American costume designer known for her winning pieces in The Heiress and The Sting. She was recognized eight times by the Academy.

  1. “You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”
    – Edith Head


  2. “Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does.”

  1. “Don’t confuse legibility with communication. Just because something is legible doesn’t mean it communicates.”
    – David Carson


  2. “Design is, literally, purposeful planning. Graphic Design, then, is the form those plans will take.”

  3. “Never fall in love with an idea. They’re whores. If the one you’re with isn’t doing the job, there’s always, always, always another.”
    – Chip Kidd


  1. “Directive design gives an either/or choice, similar to a traffic sign. Interpretive design allows for personal choice, in the same way symbolism allows for individual meaning.”

  2. “Effective problem solving in design requires a balance of strategy and spontaneity, intelligence and creativity.”

  3. “Design is a human ritual of understanding.”
    – Maggie Mcnab


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

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

  2. “Something that has absolutely no purpose can be absolutely beautiful… art is one of very few things that can just be, it does not feed a function.”
    – Stefan Sagmeister


Mieke Gerritzen, a designer from Amsterdam is a director, and producer known for her contributions in digital media. Her contributions is used and known in Netherlands. Among her quotes include:

  1. “Good design goes to heaven. Bad design goes everywhere.”
    – MiekeGerritzen


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


Massimo Vignelli is a known designer from Italy who is renowned for his works in furniture, houseware materials, packages, signage and showrooms. He founded Vignelli Associates along with Lella, his wife.

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

  2. “If you do it right, it will last forever.”

  3. “There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence.”
    – Massimo Vignelli


Paul Rand was a known art director and graphic designer from the US who contributed primarily to the design of well-known products and logo services such as IBM and UPS. He also designed the logos of ABC, Enron, Morningstar, Inc., and Westinghouse. As an American commercial artist, he pioneered the use of Swiss style in designing graphics.

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

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

  3. “So that is the design process or the creative process. Start with a problem, forget the problem, the problem reveals itself or the solution reveals itself and then you reevaluate it. This is what you are doing all the time.”

  4. “Everything is design. Everything!”

  5. “Design is a silent ambassador of your brand.”

  6. “The public is more familiar with bad design than good design. It is, in effect, conditioned to prefer bad design, because that is what it lives with. The new becomes threatening, the old reassuring.”
    -Paul Rand


  1. “Practice safe design: Use a concept.”
    – Petrula Vrontikis


Ray and Charles Eames were husband and wife American designers who made significant historical contributions to the development of modern architecture and furniture. They are also in the fields of industrial and graphic design, fine art and film.

  1. “What works good is better that what looks good, because what works good lasts.”
    – Ray Eames

  2. “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

  3. “Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem: the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible; his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints.”

  4. “Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.”
    – Charles Eames

Andy Warhol was a controversial artist from America known for leading the pop art movement in the country, and eventually in the world. He is known for his commercial artworks. His works are housed in the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and is considered the largest museum in the country devoted to one artist alone.

  1. “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
    – Andy Warhol


  1. “Failure is built into creativity… the creative act involves this element of ‘newness’ and ‘experimentalism,’ then one must expect and accept the possibility of failure.”

  2. “Design is thinking made visual.”

  3. “I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares, as opposed to ugly things. That’s my intent.”
    – Saul Bass


  1. “Creativity is to discover a question that has never been asked. If one brings up an idiosyncratic question, the answer he gives will necessarily be unique as well.”
    – Kenya Hara


  2. “A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist, and evolutionary strategist.”
    – Buckminster Fuller

  3. “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
    – Steve Jobs


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


  5. “Allowing artist-illustrators to control the design and content of statistical graphics is almost like allowing typographers to control the content, style, and editing of prose.”
    – Edward R. Tufte


  6. “Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere.”
    – G. K. Chesterton


  7. “Art is the lie that reveals the truth.”
    – Pablo Picasso.


  8. “Without freedom, no art; art lives only on the restraints it imposes on itself, and dies of all others.”
    -Albert Camus


  9. “Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.”
    – Mary Lou Cook


  10. “The good design you make will be the emissary of your marque”
    – Paul Gauguin


  11. “Whenever something is engineered as complex, it is designed to keep you simple.”
    – Richard Diaz


  12. “The more uninteresting the letter, the more useful it is to the typographer.”
    – Piet Zwart


  13. “Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.”
    – Brian Reed


  14. “Design is not for philosophy it’s for life.”
    – Issey Miyake


  15. “You are the only person on earth who can use your ability.”
    – Zig Ziglar


  16. “Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.”
    – Joe Sparano


  17. “Design is about making things good (and then better) and right (and fantastic) for the people who use and encounter them.”
    – Matt Beale


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