Design Sayings and Quotes

Below you will find our collection of inspirational, wise, and humorous old design quotes, design sayings, and design proverbs, collected over the years from a variety of sources.


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

Steve Jobs

Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.     

Dieter Rams

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

Milton Glaser

Design is a response to social change.     

George Nelson

Design must reflect the practical and aesthetic in business but above all... good design must primarily serve people.     

Thomas J. Watson

I don't design clothes, I design dreams.     

Ralph Lauren

Design is directed toward human beings. To design is to solve human problems by identifying them, examining alternate solutions to them, choosing and executing the best solution.     

Ivan Chermayeff

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

Paul Rand

If you can design one thing, you can design everything.     

Massimo Vignelli

Design is body language for inanimate objects.     

Jarod Kintz

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.     

Joe Sparano

Design is the application of intent - the opposite of happenstance, and an antidote to accident.     

Robert L. Peters

Design is as much an act of spacing as an act of marking.     

Ellen Lupton

The design process, at its best, integrates the aspirations of art, science, and culture.     

Jeff Smith

Design is an opportunity to continue telling the story, not just to sum everything up.     

Tate Linden

Design is not the narrow application of formal skills, it is a way of thinking.     

Chris Pullman

Behavioral design is all about feeling in control. Includes: usability, understanding, but also the feel.     

Don Norman

Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.     

Robert L. Peters

A design isn't finished until somebody is using it.     

Brenda Laurel

Truly elegant design incorporates top-notch functionality into a simple, uncluttered form.     

David Lewis

The only important thing about design is how it relates to people.     

Victor Papanek

Design is in everything we make, but it's also between those things. It's a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy     

Erik Adigard

Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.     

Charles Eames

Only when the design fails does it draw attention to itself; when it succeeds, it's invisible.     

John D. Berry

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

Freeman Thomas

Design is the contrast of the core of limitations therefore there are no boundaries. It is simply an interpretation of creativity.     

Jenaiha Woods

Design is intelligence made visible.     

Alina Wheeler

Design is the intermediary between information and understanding.     

Richard Gref

Design is where science and art break even.     

Robin Mathew

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

Freeman Thomas

Design is more important than technology in most consumer applications.     

Dave McClure

The beauty of design ought to be totally incidental to the enterprise itself.     

Stephen Metcalf

Design is all about learning from doing, that's how we evolve to the best solution.     

Tim Brown

Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it's decoration.     

Jeffrey Zeldman

Design is the search for a magical balance between business and art; art and craft; intuition and reason; concept and detail; playfulness and formality; client and designer; designer and printer; and printer and public.     

Valerie Pettis

Design everything on the assumption that people are not heartless or stupid but marvelously capable, given the chance.     

John Chris Jones

Design implies a sense of mapping something out and then you follow the plan.     

Andy Goldsworthy

Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.     

Steve Jobs

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.     

Jim Rohn

Good design is a lot like clear thinking made visual.     

Edward Tufte

The word design is everything and nothing. The design and the product itself are inseparable.     

Jonathan Ive

Design is the beauty of turning constraints into advantages.     

Aza Raskin

Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.     

Charles Eames

In design as in life, smart can also mean wise, kind, inspiring - and cost-effective. And that has a charm all its own.     

Nancy Gibbs

Design is in everything we make, but it's also between those things. It's a mix of craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy.     

Erik Adigard

Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.     

Massimo Vignelli

The design of each element should be thought out in order to be easy to make and easy to repair.     

Leo Fender

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

Design is a dreadful form of expression.     

Philippe Starck

Design isn't just about making things beautiful; it's also about making things work beautifully.     

Roger Martin

Designs are increasingly winning competitions because they are literally green, and because somewhere they feature a small windmill.     

Rem Koolhaas

Design is so simple. That's why it's so complicated.     

Paul Rand

Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.     

Dieter Rams

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.     

Walt Disney

Good design is long-lasting! It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated.     

Dieter Rams

Great design is a multi-layered relationship between human life and its environment.     

Naoto Fukasawa

Design is about making things good (and then better) and right (and fantastic) for the people who use and encounter them.     

Matt Beale

Making good design is easy. It's polishing the half-assed stuff that takes time.     

Stefan G. Bucher

Design is the art of planning, and it is the art of making things possible.     

Paula Scher

I think design covers so much more than the aesthetic. Design is fundamentally more. Design is usability. It is Information Architecture. It is Accessibility. This is all design.     

Mark Boulton

In design, Mother Nature is our best teacher.     

Van Day Truex

Design is the conscious effort to impose a meaningful order.     

Victor Papanek

The design should make the product speak to you.     

Dieter Rams

In design, be logical, search for truth, be clear.     

Massimo Vignelli

Design is a word that's come to mean so much that it's also a word that has come to mean nothing.     

Jonathan Ive

Designs of purely arbitrary nature cannot be expected to last long.     

Kenzo Tange

Design is defined by light and shade, and appropriate lighting is enormously important.     

Albert Hadley

The best design tool is a long eraser with a pencil at one end.     

Marty Neumeier

Great design is not democratic; it comes from great designers. If the standard is lousy, then develop another standard.     

Edward Tufte

Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.     

Herbert Simon