The best graphic design quotes to get you inspired!

12 Graphic Design Quotes that will Inspire You to Create Great Work

When creative block sets in, many designers turn to motivational quotes from industry leaders for a bit of inspiration. Powerful phrases that have become mantras for the entire industry of design. We’ve selected twelve design quotes to share from true visionaries to help you get out of your creative funk, and back to creating great work.

1. Visual Thoughts

Design is thinking made visual - Saul Bass

Saul Bass is known as one of the greatest graphic designers in American history. He was an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and was well known for his design of title sequences, posters, and corporate logos.

2. Simple Yet Complicated

Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that's why it is so complicated - Paul Rand

Paul Rand was a master of modernist design. He was an American art director and graphic designer. The iconic IBM, ABC, Westinghouse, Enron, and UPS logos were all designed by Paul Rand.

View work here.

3. How it Works

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

Steve Jobs was an American entrepreneur and remains a business icon to this day. Jobs co-founded Apple, Inc. and was CEO and chairman. He was also the primary investor and chairman of Pixar Animation Studios.

4. Details Make the Design

The details are not the details. They make the design - Charles Eames

Charles Eames is best known for his innovative contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, and photography.

Learn more about Charles Eames.

5. Easy to Understand

Color is so intuitive - Milton Glaser

Milton Glaser embodies American graphic design. He is immensely creative and forged the sophisticated, exuberant advertising look of the late 1960s. He created the ubiquitous I love NY logo, the iconic psychedelic Mad Men artwork, and much more.

View work.

6. Design Everything

If you can design one thing, you can design everything - Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli was an Italian designer who specialized in many areas ranging from packaging design to houseware design. He excelled in the areas of furniture design, public signage, and showroom design. Vignelli’s focus was on simplicity through the use of basic geometric forms.

View MoMA exhibit.

7. Raise Expectations

The goal of design is to raise the expectation of what design can be - Paula Scher

Paula Scher is known to be one of the most influential American graphic designers in the world. She served as the first female principal at Pentagram, and has developed branding, promotional materials, graphics, publication and packaging designs for a wide range of clients that include Bloomberg, Microsoft, Tiffany & Co., Coca-Cola, Shake Shack, Citibank, the Museum of Modern Art, the Sundance Institute, and many more.

View Paula’s work.

8. Change the World

Designers actually can change the world for the better by making the complicated simple and finding beauty in truth - Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut is also a Pentagram partner. Bierut is the winner of numerous design awards, the founder of Design Observer as well as a professor at Yale School of Art and Yale School of Management. His portfolio includes design work for clients such as the New York Times, Saks Fifth Avenue,  Harley-Davidson, Mastercard, Mohawk Paper Mills, New World Symphony, the New York Jets, and more.

Learn more here.

9. Break the Rules

For me, there are no rules when it comes to what’s considered ‘good’ design - Kate Moross

Kate Moross is a London based art director, graphic designer, and illustrator. She received the Creative Future award in 2007 and is proving herself to be a self-rising star in the design world.

Learn more about Kate’s work.

10. Solve Problems

Creativity can solve almost any problem - George Lois

George Lois has been called pioneer and an advertising genius by New York Magazine. He is well-known for his work with Esquire magazine. He designed 92 covers for the popular magazine from 1962 to 1972.

View covers.

11. Thrive

Be stimulated by rejection - Bob Gill

Bob Gill is an American illustrator, designer, and an outspoken visual communication critic. He was the Gill in Fletcher/Forbes/Gill (F/F/G), which we know today as Pentagram.

Interview with Bob Gill.

12. Motivate

How enables, but Why motivates... - Frank Chimero

Frank Chimero is an author, designer, and illustrator. His famous book “The Shape of Design” started as a Kickstarter campaign in 2012. The book takes a theoretical look at the opportunities and possibilities of design, and how design can affect the world.

Learn more about Frank’s Books.

As designers, we know creating great work is not easy. Bookmark these quotes for the next time you’re in a bit of a rut and need a creative boost.

Do you have a favorite inspirational design quote? If so, share it with us in the comments below.


Also published on Medium.

Jen Johnson

Jen is the Brand Manager at Primoprint. She's responsible for our brand development and strategy as well executing marketing campaigns. She's an avid fan of the Carolina Panthers, craft beer, yoga, and good design.