Creative quotes

graphic designer quotes

Gathered from around the internet, here are 40 quotes from graphic designers, a few artists, a scientist or two and some odds and ends.

A little inspirations for your creative career.

Paul Rand

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

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

Without aesthetic, design is either the humdrum repetition of familiar clichés or a wild scramble for novelty.

Without the aesthetic, the computer is but a mindless speed machine, producing effects without substance.

Form without relevant content, or content without meaningful form.

The designer does not, as a rule, begin with a preconceived idea. His idea is the result of subjective and objective thought, and the design a product of the idea.

In order, therefore, to achieve an honest and effective solution he necessarily passes thought some sort of mental process … Consciously or not, he analyzes, interprets, translates … He improvises, invents new techniques and combinations.

He coordinates and integrates his material so that he may restate his problem in terms of ideas, pictures, forms, and shapes. He unifies, simplifies, eliminates superfluities. He symbolizes … abstract from his material by association and analogy.

He intensifies and reinforces his symbol with appropriate accessories to achieve clarity and interest. He draws upon instinct and intuition. He considers the spectator, his feelings and predilections.

Sol Sender.

The strongest logos tell simple stories.

Sol was also the head creative behind the Obama 08 logo development, check out this post for a 15 minute video interview with Sol and some great insight into the project.

Milton Glaser

To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.

The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows.

Computers are to design as microwaves are to cooking.

Scott Adams

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.

Daniel Boorstin

An image… is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.

Emil Ruder

Typography has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing. No argument or consideration can absolve typography from this duty.

Primo Angeli

A great trademark is appropriate, dynamic, distinctive, memorable and unique.

George Santayana

Graphic design is the paradise of individuality, eccentricity, heresy, abnormality, hobbies and humors.

William Bernbach

Advertising doesn¹t create a product advantage. It can only convey it.

John Ruskin

It’s unwise to pay too much, but is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little – that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do.

The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot, it can’t be done! If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.

Salvador Dali

Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.

Freeman Thomas

Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition.

Albert Einstein

I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

Roy H. Williams

In marketing you must choose between boredom, shouting and seduction. Which do you want?

Vincent Van Gogh

Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.

General George S. Patton

If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn¹t thinking.

George-Louis De Buffon

Genius is nothing but a great aptitude for patience.

Samuel Butler

Think of and look at your work as though it were done by your enemy. If you look at it to admire it, you are lost.

Charles Brower

A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a joke or worried to death by a frown on the right person’s brow.

Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

Creativity often consists merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?


I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

Douglas Adams

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

John Updike

Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right or better.


Picasso was in a park when a woman approached him and asked him to draw a portrait of her. Picasso agreed and quickly sketches her. After handing the sketch to her, she is pleased with the likeness and asks how much she owed to him.

Picasso replies: “$5,000.”

The woman screamed, “but it took you only five minutes.”

“No, madam, it took me all my life,” replied Picasso.


The creative ‘act’ is a process, not a moment.

Got any more?

If you know any other interesting quotes I’d like to hear them. Image credit.

One thought on “Creative quotes”

Comments are closed.