10 Quotes All Graphic Designers Should Know By Heart

Inspiration fuels great design, and we most often seek design inspiration in visual cues. However, some of the best inspiration comes from poignant phrases uttered by some of design’s greatest thinkers.  Check out the following ten quotes all graphic designers should know by heart, and give them consideration when you plan your next design. Doing so might lend you the insight needed to turn a static design into a compelling and memorable work that defines your status as a master designer.

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

Before you set out to create a design, ask yourself what the end goal is. Then create a design that helps that goal be met.

Charles Eames

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

Your design shouldn’t distract from your end goal.

Joe Sparano

3.  “Design is as much an act of spacing as an act of marking.” – Ellen Lupton

Great designs are made by excellent use of white space, and plenty of it.

Ellen Lupton

4. “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman

Always keep in mind why the end viewer or customer is there in the first place.

Jeffrey Zeldman

5. “You can’t do better design with a computer, but you can speed up your work enormously.” – Wim Crouwel

Don’t be afraid to incorporate new technologies into your design business if you can work more efficiently without sacrificing quality.

Wim Crouwel

6. “Technology over technique produces emotionless design.” – Daniel Mall

New technologies should never hamper your ability to craft stellar artwork.

Daniel Mall

7.  “If design isn’t profitable, then it’s art.” – Henrik Fiskar

More people will pay you money to help them achieve a monetary goal than will pay you to give them something pretty to look at.

Henrik Fiskar

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

This goes hand-in-hand with goal-setting.  Plan before you design; don’t skimp the design brief.

Petrula Vrontikis

9. “Create your own visual style… let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others.” – Orson Welles

When your design speaks to you, those who share your ideals (customers, clients, and end viewers) can hear it too.

Orson Welles

10. “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Keep it simple, stupid!

Antoine de Saint Exupery

Guest author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

14 thoughts on “10 Quotes All Graphic Designers Should Know By Heart”

  1. “If design isn’t profitable, then it’s art.” ??? Sorry, but I disagree. There are many designs that aren’t made for profit or are profitable that are worthy of the name.

    I’d like to add my own quote if I can be so bold: “The three most important words in the early 21st century are: context, context, and context.”

  2. There are no small projects, only small budgets. – Me

    Bring a designer a problem, not a solution. – Me

    (You may substitute “designer” with “developer” or any other position of craft in the second one.)

  3. @mark – I love the second one you wrote. “Bring a designer a problem, not a solution.” I currently am working with a client who basically came to me with exactly what they wanted. Even though I hate that I did it anyway and now they keep changing their mind!

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