48 Graphic Design Quotes for Encouragement

Need some inspiration for your next project — or a laugh? These graphic design quotes are perfect to get your creative juices flowing or to send to your client.

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) 

Need help creating your Instagram graphic? Check out our icon collections to bring your design to life, or learn from designer Adrien Coquet to create your own iconography. 

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. 

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