Design

72 quotes about design and creativity

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Updated 7/28/2016: We’ve added even more quotes to this post. Enjoy!

We asked some of our favorite folks in the InVision community to share the quotations about design and creativity that have stuck with them throughout their careers. Without further ado, here are those nuggets of wisdom.


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“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” –Charles Eames

Michael McWatters, UX Architect at TED


“How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things, but how well we are understood.” –Andrew Grove

Jane Portman, UI/UX Consultant and Trainer at UI Breakfast


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

Danny Schreiber, Marketing Director at Zapier


“Where do new ideas come from? The answer is simple: differences. Creativity comes from unlikely juxtapositions.” –Nicholas Negroponte

Anthony Armendariz, Partner and Head of Design at Funsize


“Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.” –Paul Arden

Dom Goodrum, VP of Design at Percolate


If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.” –Paraphrased from Charles Bukowski’s poem “Roll the Dice”

Todd Ross Nienkerk, CEO, Co-founder, and Digital Strategist at Four Kitchens


“The goal of a designer is to listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathize, synthesize, and glean insights that enable him or her to ‘make the invisible visible.’ –Hillman Curtis

Sarah Doody, UX Designer and Founder of The UX Notebook


“Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.” –Massimo Vignelli

Joe Toscano, Experience Designer for R/GA at Google


“Those who don’t build must burn.” –Ray Bradbury

Samantha Soper, UI/UX Developer at Golfsmith International


“It is not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and, yes, beauty to people’s lives.” –Don Norman

Dawn Ta, UX Design Manager at ResMed


“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” –Steve Jobs

Samantha Zhang, Design Lead at Graphiq


“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” –Ralf Speth

Cassius Kiani, Partner at Mikleo


“You don’t think your way to creative work. You work your way to creative thinking.” –George Nelson

Blake Sirach, Chief Experience Officer at WillowTree


“If you do it right, it will last forever.” –Massimo Vignelli

Tess Herrmann, Creative Director at DocuSign


“I have several times made a poor choice by avoiding a necessary confrontation.” –John Cleese

Ghaida Zahran, Product Designer at Change.org


“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.” -Brian Reed

Mark Lamb, Senior Experience Design Lead at Adobe


“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” –Henry Ford

Aaron Epstein, Co-founder of Creative Market


“Creativity is to discover a question that has never been asked. If one brings up an idiosyncratic question, the answer he gives will necessarily be unique as well.” -Kenya Hara

Ollie Khakwani, Product Designer at Inkling


“Design is a solution to a problem. Art is a question to a problem.” –John Maeda

Nick Yeh, Lead Product Designer of Mobile Apps at Citrix Systems


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“There is no design without discipline. There is no discipline without intelligence.” –Massimo Vignelli

Lisa Ding, Product Designer at Twitter


“Design everything on the assumption that people are not heartless or stupid but marvelously capable, given the chance.” –John Chris Jones

Daniel Hightower, CEO and Co-Founder of Clariture


Related: A comprehensive reading list for and by designers

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Jonathan Smiley, Principal UX Designer at Quantcast


“Leave it better than you found it.” –Robert Baden-Powell

Akshay Singh, Growth and Marketing at Creative Market


“There is no such thing as a boring project. There are only boring executions.” –Irene Etzkorn

Scott Shell, Senior Interactive Designer


“Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful.” –John Maeda

Elysse Bonner, Product Designer


“The time it takes to make a decision increases as the number of alternatives increases.” –William Edmund Hick

Vee-O, Creative Director at Weebly


“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.” –Steve Jobs

David Ghent, Product Designer at Pivotal Labs


“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.” –Paul Rand

Jeff Hilnbrand, Product at Creative Market


“Simplicity, wit, and good typography.” –Michael Bierut

Tian Jiang, Art Director at Salesforce


“Design is more important than technology in most consumer applications.” –Dave McClure

Zack Onisko, Chief Growth Officer at Creative Market


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

Jacob Swift, UX Lead at Salesforce


“They don’t want quarter-inch bits. They want quarter-inch holes.” –Leo McGinneva

Mitchell Joe, UX Designer and Researcher


“The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic ‘right-brain’ thinkers whose abilities mark the fault line between who gets ahead and who doesn’t.” –Daniel Pink

Cole Fox, CEO and Co-Founder of ProtoHack


“Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible.” –M.C. Escher

Ian Ernzer, Lead Digital Designer at Butchershop




“The details are not the details. They make the design.” –Charles Eames

Jiyoung Kim, UX designer at Adobe


“Great design is a multi-layered relationship between human life and its environment.” –Naoto Fukasawa

Marcus Pérez Cervantes, Lead Product Designer at Citrix


“Above all, think of life as a prototype. We can conduct experiments, make discoveries, and change our perspectives. We can look for opportunities to turn processes into projects that have tangible outcomes. We can learn how to take joy in the things we create whether they take the form of a fleeting experience or an heirloom that will last for generations. We can learn that reward comes in creation and re-creation, no just in the consumption of the world around us. Active participation in the process of creation is our right and our privilege. We can learn to measure the success of our ideas not by our bank accounts by their impact on the world.” –Tim Brown

Chris Chappelle, Lead Designer at Bright Funds


“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” –Albert Einstein

Drew Bridewell, Senior UX Designer of lynda.com at LinkedIn


“Creativity is only as obscure as your reference.” –Unknown via Aaron Wiggan

Chris Linden, Art Director and Designer


“There’s the whole Buddhist thing about the essence of a bowl being its emptiness—that’s why it’s useful. Its emptiness allows it to hold something. I guess that means that design must talk about something else. If you make design about design, you’re just stacking bowls, and that’s not what bowls are for.” –Frank Chimero

Mandy Collins, Marketing Designer at Remind


“Get in over your head as often and as joyfully as possible.” –Alexander Isley

Andrew Peters, Director of User Experience Strategy at EPIC


“Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated.” –Paul Rand

Debby Chiang, Graphic Designer


“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” –E. F. Schumacher

John Torres, Product designer at Nutanix


“Good designers must always be avant-gardists, always one step ahead of the times. They should–and must–question everything generally thought to be obvious. They must have an intuition for people’s changing attitudes. For the reality in which they live, for their dreams, their desires, their worries, their needs, their living habits. They must also be able to assess realistically the opportunities and bounds of technology.” –Dieter Rams

David Oberholtzer, Lead UX Designer at Gensler


“No. I don’t think the Empire had Wookiees in mind when they designed it, Chewie.” –Han Solo to Chewbacca about the Tydirium imperial shuttle they’re flying

Giuliano Manno, Senior Software Engineer/UX Designer at Meltwater San Francisco


“Any product that needs a manual to work is broken.” –Elon Musk

Antonio Marzo, Founder of Zen Shopping


“Artists can have greater access to reality; they can see patterns and details and connections that other people, distracted by the blur of life, might miss. Just sharing that truth can be a very powerful thing.” –Jay-Z

Harrison Wheeler, Lead Designer at Base


“A designer is an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist, and evolutionary strategist.” –Buckminster Fuller

Hunter Block, Director of Project Strategy at Parade SF


“A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.” –Martin LeBlanc, Iconfinder

Jess Hamilton, Sr. UX/UI Designer at GoPro


“Design isn’t crafting a beautiful textured button with breathtaking animation. It’s figuring out if there’s a way to get rid of the button altogether.” –Edward Tufte

Abigail Beck, Product Designer at Twitter


“Innovators have to be open. They have to be able to imagine things that others cannot and be willing to challenge their own preconceptions. They also need to be conscientious. An innovator who has brilliant ideas but lacks the discipline and persistence to carry them out is merely a dreamer … But crucially, innovators need to be disagreeable … They are people willing to take social risks—to do things that others might disapprove of.” –Malcolm Gladwell

Kate Braham, Mobile Designer at Raizlabs


“I would be happy to learn just half the stuff I already thought I learned.” –Unknown

Artiom Dashinsky, Designer and Maker


“Put hot triggers in the path of motivated people.” –B.J. Fogg

Stanford Rosenthal, UX Designer at LinkedIn


“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” –Jessica Hische

Darren Wong, Interactive Designer


“As we decrease uncertainty, we give ourselves permission to increase fidelity.” –Jonathan Irwin

Mike Long, Product Designer at Pivotal


“Curiosity about life in all its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” –Leo Burnett

Thom Milkovic, Designer and UX Strategist


“Less is more work.” –Patric McCue

Andy Proehl, Principal Designer at Meltwater


“Design is an opportunity to continue telling the story, not just to sum everything up.” –Tate Linden

Jonathan Hammer, Senior Lead UX/UI and Visual Designer at Advent Software


“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.” –Mark Weiser

Ana Rosario, User Experience Researcher


“Y’all talk about UX like it’s just another feature. For a user, it literally is the product. Full stop. Everything else is inside baseball.” –Startup L. Jackson Twitter account

Quintin Carlson, Product Designer at Inkling


“Design and art are independent coordinates that provide their greatest satisfactions when experienced simultaneously.” –Milton Glaser

Josh Johnson, Inbound Marketing Manager at Creative Market


“Here is one of the few effective keys to the design problem: the ability of the designer to recognize as many of the constraints as possible; his willingness and enthusiasm for working within these constraints.” –Charles Eames

Jim Gasperini, Senior User Experience Designer at Hotwire


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

Aaron McCullough, Head of Product and Design at Buzzstarter


“When you believe a thing, believe it all the way, implicitly and unquestionably.” –Walt Disney

Brad Aldridge, Lead Designer at Butchershop


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

Matthew Moore, Growth Designer at Uber


“The soul never thinks without an image.” –Aristotle

Bronwen Abbattista, Product Designer


“Do good work for good people.” –Aaron Draplin

Jordan DiSanto, Product Designer at Remind


“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” –Aristotle

Lindsay Mindler, Head of Design at Remind


“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.” –Robert L. Peters

Cameron Reynolds-Flatt, UX Designer at Remind


“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” –Sir Ken Robinson

Ian Fike, Product Designer at Remind


“The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.” –David Ogilvy

Joe Lee, Product Designer at Remind

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Author

Margaret Kelsey
Content + community at InVision. Newly Bostonian.

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