On days when you need a little inspiration, these graphic design quotes can offer wisdom and encouragement. Whether you need a boost of creativity, a laugh or something to keep you motivated, there’s something to learn from graphic designers who have come before.
Keep reading to learn from graphic designers both old and new, and find inspiration and encouragement to hone your own skills in the craft.
Famous Graphic Design Quotes
From the greats of graphic design, these quotes are considered classics. Learn from these historic figures and enjoy taking some inspiration from their minds.
1. “Design is thinking made visual” — Saul Bass, graphic designer and filmmaker
2. “There are three responses to a piece of design: yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.” — Milton Glaser, graphic designer
3. “Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries.” — Neville Brody, typographer and art director
4. “Good design’s not about what medium you’re working in. It’s about thinking hard about what you want to do and what you have to work with before you start.” — Susan Kare, typeface designer and iconographer (Apple Macintosh)
5. “I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.” — Lindon Leader, graphic designer
6. “If no one hates it, no one really loves it.” — Jessica Walsh, art director and illustrator
7. “If you do it right, it’ll last forever.” — Massimo Vignelli, typeface designer (NYC Subway map)
8. “Ensure it feels like it’s made by humans, for humans.” — Stefan Sagmeister, typographer
Creative Graphic Design Quotes
If you’re in need of a creativity boost, these quotes are for you. Find some ideas about what creativity is, how to find it and how to execute on unique ideas. Don’t forget that sometimes creativity comes from experimenting with different design styles.
9. “Creating is about sharing ideas, sharing aesthetics, sharing what you believe in with other people.” — Shepard Fairey, street and mural artist
10. “Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.” — Erich Fromm, psychologist and philosopher
11. “I am a very logical person and I like things to be there for a reason. I believe that out of structure comes freedom. Setting rules makes it more interesting and it triggers something when people look at the images.” — Malika Favre, illustrator
12. “I read once about the concepts of a lateral idea and the vertical idea. If you dig a hole and it’s in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn’t going to help. The lateral idea is when you skip over and dig someplace else.” — Seymour Chwast, illustrator and typeface designer
13. “Creative people have to believe in the value of their work. If you don’t have any belief, then you can’t give anything — designing is an act of giving, and a belief in the value of the work fuels the desire to express something. It’s important to know what your values are and to take care of them.” — Peter Saville, art director
14. “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.” — Saul Bass, graphic designer and filmmaker
15. “Truly elegant design incorporates top-notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form.” — David Lewis, philosopher
16. “Every great design begins with an even better story.” — Lorinda Mamo, Typographer
Funny Graphic Design Quotes
When tough clients have you down, sometimes all you need is a laugh. These quotes are sure to help you smile on even your hardest days.
17. “Clients are the difference between design and art.” — Michael Bierut, typographer, critic at Yale School of Art
18. “Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because that idea wasn’t theirs.” — Frank Chimero, illustrator and brand designer
19. “The life of a designer is a life of fight. Fight against the ugliness.” — Massimo Vignelli, typeface designer (NYC Subway map)
20. “Great design isn’t just what looks cool, it’s a calculated and balanced blend of form and function that serves a specific purpose. Although, it’s really satisfying when the end result looks cool.” — William Justice, videographer
21. “Good design goes to heaven; bad design goes everywhere.” — Mieke Gerritzen, digital designer and author
22. “The best way to accomplish serious design…is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job.” — Paula Scher, graphic designer (Windows 8 logo)
23. “Design won’t save the world, but it damn sure makes it look good.” — Mary Crawford, author
24. “I discovered that I never really used Helvetica but I like to look at it. I like the VW Beetle, too, although I’ve never driven one.” — Stefan Sagmeister, typographer
Inspirational Graphic Design Quotes
No matter what type of graphic design you specialize in, honing your skill takes practice. Find a little inspiration to keep going from these successful graphic designers.
25. “What the visionaries had in common was a particular love of craft and a desire to play.” — Petrula Vrontikis, graphic design educator and author
26. “I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares, as opposed to ugly things. That’s my intent.” — Saul Bass, graphic designer and filmmaker
27. “It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.” — Paula Scher, graphic designer (Windows 8 logo)
28. “Pay attention to what you’re passionate about when no one is paying you.” — Jessica Walsh, art director and illustrator
29. “The key to great ideas is not having them; it is executing them. And great ideas come from problems. As designers, we call problems ‘briefs’ and we call reactions to problems ‘concepts.’” — Aries Moross, illustrator and art director
30. “To be a good artist/letterer/designer/guitar player, it takes practice. A lot of it. More than you can even fathom when you’re starting out.” — Jessica Hische, lettering artist and author
31. “Working on passion projects lets me explore a bunch of different styles, ideas and mediums, which keeps me creatively inspired. I’m a big believer that every experience in my life contributes to my creative work.” — Lauren Hom, lettering artist
32. “Be genuinely curious about things. It’s a great habit to cultivate. It will pay off in dividends.” — Juan Carlos Pagan, typographer and creative director
Graphic Design Quotes for Instagram
Need a quote to publish on your Instagram page? These quotes are short and to the point, which helps them fit perfectly into your social feed.
33. “We live in a rainbow of chaos.” — Paul Cézanne, impressionist painter
34. “Design is a learning experience. So my agenda is to figure out what I want to learn next.” — Ayse Birsel, industrial designer and author
35. “Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” — Charles Eames, product designer
36. “The goal of design is to raise the expectation of what design can be.” — Paula Scher, graphic designer (Windows 8 logo)
37. “Good design is a language, not a style.” — Massimo Vignelli, typeface designer (NYC Subway map)
38. “People ignore design that ignores people.” — Frank Chimero, illustrator and brand designer
39. “Design is where science and art break even.” — Robin Mathew, design entrepreneur
40. “Words have meaning; type has spirit.” — Paula Scher, graphic designer (Windows 8 logo)
Enhance your design with free icons
More Quotes To Encourage Graphic Designers
If you need just a little more encouragement, these graphic design quotes can offer the wisdom to help you find your way out of a rut.
41. “Design is the art of planning, and it is the art of making things possible.” — Paula Scher, graphic designer (Windows 8 logo)
42. “I’ve never had a problem with a dumb client. There is no such thing as a bad client. Part of our job is to do good work and get the client to accept it.” — Bob Gill, illustrator
43. “It is important how color responds to light. There is nothing better than to see an amazing color in the right environment; it can change your whole mood.” — Morag Myerscough, illustrator and visual artist
44. “There are three basic principles behind any well-designed product: truth, humanity, and simplicity.” — Sohrab Vossoughi, owner of Ziba Design
45. “Design is so simple, that’s why it’s so complicated.” — Paul Rand, corporate logo designer
46. “You have to utilize who you are in your work. Nobody else can do that — nobody else can pull from your background, from your parents, your upbringing, your whole life experience.” — David Carson, art director
47. “Design is, literally, purposeful planning.” — Chip Kidd, book cover designer
48. “Design is everything. Everything!” — Paul Rand, corporate logo designer
Like Luis Prado says about icon design, “Visual communication transcends language.” By honing your skills as a graphic designer, you can help make the world not only a more beautiful place, but also a more connected place.
Stay connected with the latest in graphic design by subscribing to our newsletter below.