Design, UI, UX, Inspiration

40 Design Quotes to Inspire Your Next Masterpiece

Calling all UI/UX designers! Unleash your design potential with this curated selection of 40 powerful design quotes.

Feeling uninspired or frustrated by your designs, you can’t just call it a day? Tight deadlines might keep you up late, pondering how to make your design truly great. In such moments, seek wisdom from design masters. This is why a daily dose of design quotes can be a powerful tool to benefit creatives in numerous ways.

Firstly, these quotes serve as a constant source of inspiration, infusing fresh ideas and perspectives into their creative process. They can also boost motivation and instill a sense of purpose in creatives. When faced with creative blocks or self-doubt, reading inspirational quotes can reignite their passion for their craft, reminding them of the profound impact design can have on the world.

So, let’s dive into a selection of 40 inspiring design quotes that reveal the true essence of artistry. These quotes, spoken by visionaries like Steve Jobs and Paul Rand, go beyond words, unlocking the profound power of design and may inspire your next breathtaking masterpiece.


“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


Renowned French writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupéry captures the essence of simplicity and perfection in design with his profound quote. This timeless wisdom emphasizes the power of restraint and the art of refining a design to its purest form, where every element serves a purpose and nothing is superfluous. In just a few words, Saint-Exupéry encapsulates the fundamental principle that guides designers to create harmonious and impactful works of art.


“Pay attention to what users do, not what they say”

— Jakob Nielsen


Jakob Nielsen is a distinguished Usability Expert, Co-Founder, and Principal of the Nielsen-Norman Group. He emphasizes the significance of user-centered design and invites designers to focus on observing how users interact with their designs, rather than solely relying on user feedback.  The quote highlights the essence of understanding user behavior to craft designs that truly resonate and fulfill the client’s needs.


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

— Steve Jobs


The visionary Co-founder of Apple Inc. leaves an indelible mark on the world of design as a pioneer in the tech industry. Jobs understood that aesthetics alone are not enough to create exceptional products. Instead, he believed that true design greatness lies in crafting functional and intuitive experiences that seamlessly blend form and function. With this quote, he encourages designers to prioritize user experience, ensuring that every element serves a purpose and enhances the overall usability of the product.


“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.”

— Brian Reed


Brian Reed is a multi-talented musician and Front-end Developer. He highlights the omnipresence of design in our lives, from everyday objects to digital interfaces. However, he also emphasizes the scarcity of designs that truly stand out due to their meticulous planning and thoughtful execution. This quote serves as a reminder for designers to strive for excellence, to go beyond mere aesthetics, and to create purposeful designs that elevate the user experience and leave a lasting impact.


“Good design is all about making other designers feel like idiots because the idea wasn’t theirs.”

— Frank Chimero


This quote is attributed to the talented and imaginative Designer Frank Chimero. He humorously captures the competitive spirit of creative design with a touch of wit.  In this lighthearted remark, he acknowledges the healthy competition that motivates designers to push boundaries and constantly seek fresh perspectives.


“When typography is on point, words become images.”

— Shawn Lukas


Artist and Designer Shawn Lukas recognizes the transformative potential of well-crafted typography. In his statement, he highlights how thoughtful typographic choices can elevate the written word, turning it into a captivating visual experience that resonates deeply with the audience.


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

— Martin LeBlanc


Martin LeBlanc, a talented Designer, humorously points out the significance of intuitive design and the vital role of simplicity and clarity. Just like a good joke, a well-crafted user interface should effortlessly convey its purpose without the need for lengthy explanations. Designers should prioritize user-friendly experiences that effortlessly guide users and make interactions seamless and enjoyable.


“The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all.”

— Douglas Martin


Douglas Martin is an author with a thought-provoking perspective. Even in the absence of intentional design, a result will still be achieved, but it may not necessarily be favorable. Rather than leaving things to chance, he encourages embracing the concept of good design to purposefully craft positive and impactful outcomes.


“The function of design is letting design function.”

— Micha Commeren


Micha Commeren is a skilled designer who encapsulates the fundamental role of design, which is to enable and facilitate functionality. With this simple yet profound statement, the author reinforces the importance of purposeful design and its transformative impact on the world around us.


“Art is solving problems that cannot be formulated before they have been solved. The shaping of the question is part of the answer.”

— Pete Hein


Visionary architect Pete Hein beautifully emphasizes the problem-solving nature of art and design. The quote illuminates the creative process, where artists and designers grapple with challenges and uncertainties, searching for innovative solutions. The act of formulating the right questions, in itself, becomes an integral part of uncovering the answers through artistic expression.


“Simplicity carried to an extreme becomes elegance.”

— Jon Franklin


In his quote, the writer Jon Franklin recognizes that minimalism and refined design choices lead to an extraordinary sense of elegance. This quote pinpoints the art of simplicity, as it can create a lasting impact and evoke a sense of beauty that resonates deeply with the audience.


“Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.”

— Irene Au


Here we have a more humorous quote by the designer Irene Au. The author notices that for any design executed flawlessly, users may not consciously take note of it, as it seamlessly fulfills its intended purpose. However, when design falls short, its flaws become glaringly apparent, negatively impacting the user experience.


“Rules are what the artist breaks; the memorable never emerged from a formula.”

— Bill Bernbach


Bill Bernbach is a visionary creative director who encourages breaking the norm by pushing creative boundaries and thinking outside the box. He highlights that true innovation and lasting impact come from daring to challenge conventional norms and stepping away from rigid formulas.


“Work for money, design for love.”

— Issey Miyake


Celebrated Japanese designer Issey Miyake beautifully expresses the passion and dedication designers should have for their craft. His quote explains that while monetary rewards are essential, the heart and soul of design come from a genuine love for the creative process. These words inspire us to work with love and enthusiasm, transcending mere financial gain.


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

– John Maeda


John Maeda is a multi-talented designer, technologist, and author. He advocates for purposeful and meaningful design choices where the true artistry lies in removing unnecessary complexities while adding elements that bring significant value and impact. Here we have a guiding principle for designers to craft experiences that resonate with users on a profound level.


“Design adds value faster than it adds costs.”

– Joel Spolsky


The software engineer and blogger Joel Spolsky highlights the role of design in enhancing products and experiences, where the benefits it brings far outweigh the investment put into its development. This quote serves as a reminder that design is not merely an expense but a valuable asset that contributes significantly to a product’s overall success and impact in the world.


“The details are not the details. They make the design.”

– Charles Eames


Charles Eames is an esteemed architect and designer. In his quote, he reminds designers that cherishing the details creates enduring and captivating experiences, showcasing the power of precision and craftsmanship in design.


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

– Robert L. Peters


In this thought-provoking statement, distinguished designer and author Robert L. Peter underscores the interconnectedness between design, culture, and the values that pave the way for our collective future. This quote encourages designers to approach their craft with a sense of responsibility and purpose, understanding that every design choice carries the potential to contribute positively to the world we inhabit.


“Design is intelligence made visible.”

– Alina Wheeler


Here we have a quote by Alina Wheeler, who is a well-known design consultant and author. In this powerful statement, Wheeler highlights that design goes beyond mere aesthetics; it is the tangible representation of intellect and creativity. Designers should approach their projects with a strategic mindset.


“Design is thinking made visual.”

– Saul Bass


Embodying the essence of design’s visual impact, Saul Bass, a visionary Graphic Designer, and Filmmaker, explains the power of design as a medium to convey thoughts and ideas through compelling visuals. Get inspired to approach your work with a thoughtful and purposeful mindset.


“Design is the intermediary between information and understanding.”

– Hans Hofmann


Hans Hofmann is an esteemed abstract painter and art teacher. In his quote, he beautifully reflects on design’s role to serve as a bridge between raw information and meaningful comprehension. As a master in the world of abstract art, he underscores the power of design to convey complex concepts in a visually accessible manner.


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

– Maya Angelou


The renowned poet, writer, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou celebrates the infinite reservoir of creativity within every individual. As an influential figure in literature and activism, she encourages people to embrace their creative potential without reservation.


“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


As an expert in graphic design, Valerie Pettis emphasizes the importance of finding a balance between creativity and functionality, client needs, and artistic expression. This quote serves as a reminder for designers to ensure each element plays its part in achieving a harmonious and compelling end result.


“Accidents often produce the best solutions. Only you can recognize the difference between an accident and your original intent.”

— Jennifer Morla


As a leader in the design industry, the Creative Director of Morla Design urges designers to embrace serendipity, knowing ingenious solutions arise from twists and turns. This quote reminds designers to stay open to possibilities and view accidents as opportunities for exploration. Morla’s insight empowers designers to trust their instincts and distinguish accidental brilliance from their intentions.


“Don’t design for everyone. All you end up doing is designing something that makes everyone unhappy.”

— Leisa Reichelt


Head of Research and Insights at Atlassian Leisa Reichelt underscores that designing for users requires a deep understanding of their needs and preferences. As a leading expert in research and user insights, she encourages designers to prioritize more meaningful and effective designs that resonate with their target audience.


“To create a memorable design, you need to start with a thought that’s worth remembering.”

– Thomas Manss

According to the visionary graphic designer Thomas Manss, you need to focus on crafting designs that not only catch the eye but also touch the heart and minds of your viewers. Approach your work with purpose and intention.


“The best design is the simplest one that works.”

– Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein needs no introduction. As one of the greatest scientific minds in history, he encourages designers to seek elegance and efficiency in their creations. Pursue simplicity as a guiding principle. It will ultimately lead to designs that stand the test of time.


“Design is the method of putting form and content together; Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art; Design can be aesthetics; Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”

– Paul Rand

Paul Rand’ is a distinguished graphic designer and art director. With profound insight, Rand acknowledges that design is a multifaceted discipline that intertwines form and content. As a pioneer in the world of graphic design, he recognizes that design defies rigid definitions and can encompass various artistic expressions.


“The dumbest mistake is viewing design as something you do at the end of the process to ‘tidy up’ the mess, as opposed to understanding it’s a ‘day one’ issue and part of everything.”

– Tom Peters

Tom Peters’s quote emphasizes the vital role of design from the outset of any project. As a business management expert and author, he highlights the fundamental importance of integrating design thinking into every stage of a project. By recognizing design as a “day one” issue, Peters urges individuals and organizations to prioritize thoughtful design considerations right from the project’s inception.


“Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.”

— Judy Garland

Judy Garland’s quote encourages originality and individuality in design. As a celebrated actress, Garland’s words carry a timeless message for designers to embrace their unique creative identities. By being true to themselves and expressing their distinct perspectives, designers can infuse their work with authenticity and innovation. Creativity thrives when designers dare to break free from imitation and create genuine designs that reflect their own vision.


“UX suffers when we wall ourselves off from the rest of the organization. Getting people from other disciplines involved gives them the opportunity to feel that you’re all working toward a common goal. At the same time, it gives you the opportunity to advocate user-centered thinking and gain that critical buy-in.”

— John Ferrara

John Ferrara, Senior UX Designer at Ferrera, stresses the importance of collaboration and a user-centric approach in UX design. By involving individuals from diverse backgrounds, designers can gain valuable insights and perspectives that enrich the user experience. Emphasizing user-centricity in collaboration ensures that design decisions align with the needs and preferences of the target audience. Ultimately, this inclusive and cooperative approach leads to more effective and impactful UX designs that resonate with users and drive success for the entire organization.


“Design is about creating spaces for people to enjoy and, of course, creating moments where you elevate the spirit, but ‘design for good’ is figuring out a program that not only creates better spaces but creates jobs, creates new industry, creates clean energy; sustainability is the ‘design for good’.”

-Cameron Sinclair

This quote is attributed to John Cary, an Architect and Author. underscores the potential of design in addressing societal challenges. It highlights how design has the power to shape the human environment, creating spaces and systems that positively impact people’s lives. Architects and designers can play a significant role in creating a more just, healthful, and sustainable world. This perspective encourages a thoughtful and purpose-driven approach to design, where the focus goes beyond aesthetics to address pressing global issues such as climate change, urbanization, and social equity.


“Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe, the practical with the desirable.”

– Donna Karan

The world-famous fashion designer icon Donna Karan beautifully explains the essence of design as a delicate balancing act between aesthetics and functionality. Her quote emphasizes the importance of achieving harmony between the practical and the desirable in every creation. For designers in the fashion industry, this delicate balance is crucial as they seek to craft garments that not only look beautiful but also serve their wearers’ needs and lifestyles.


“Design is not a single object or dimension. Design is messy and complex.”

– Natasha Jen

As designers, we must navigate through layers of creativity, problem-solving, aesthetics, and functionality, among others, to create meaningful and impactful designs. Each decision we make influences the final outcome, making the design process an intricate journey of exploration and discovery. Natasha Jen’s words inspire us to embrace the complexity of design and approach it with curiosity.


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

– John Chris Jones

The next quote is by designer and educator John Chris Jones. As people are capable, compassionate, and intelligent beings, he encourages a human-centered approach to the creative process. Designers can develop solutions that empower and uplift individuals, providing them with meaningful experiences that resonate on a deeper level. Jones’ words serve as a reminder to reject assumptions of incompetence and instead trust in the boundless abilities of those for whom we design.


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

– Charles Eames

The well-known architect and designer Charles Eames defines design as a purposeful arrangement of elements. In all, design is a deliberate process that brings together various components to achieve a specific goal. When you organize and integrate these elements, you can create solutions that have it all: not only visual appeal, functionality, and effectiveness.


“In a very real way, designers create the human environment; they make the things we use, the places we live and work, our modes of communication and mobility. Simply put design matters. And at a moment in our history in which the scientific community has issued serious warnings about the negative impacts of our flawed designs—from global warming and water pollution to the loss of biodiversity and natural resources—designers have a critical role to play in the creation of a more just, healthful, and sustainable world.”

— William McDonough

William McDonough, an architect, designer, and author, highlights the significant impact of design on our environment and society. His quote emphasizes the crucial role of designers in shaping our world. Whether it’s buildings or experiences they create, their work affects our well-being and the planet. McDonough urges designers to embrace their responsibility and contribute to a more just and sustainable world.


“The rich and interactive experiences we have come to expect on mobile apps have created new standards and expectations for all digital media including the web. The result is websites are evolving to become more app-like in their rich functionality. ”

— Raj Aggarwal

The Co-founder of Stealth Startup Raj Aggarwal suggests that web design is adapting to meet the standards set by mobile apps, leading to more app-like functionality on websites. As users become accustomed to seamless experiences on mobile apps, they now expect similar levels of rich functionality on the web. As the digital landscape is continually shifting, staying up-to-date with user preferences is essential for creating successful and user-friendly designs.


“End users not technologies shape the market. Consequently, marketers need to stay abreast not only of technological developments but also of the way people respond to them.”

— Matt Haig

Matt Haig, the Author of “Mobile Marketing: The Message Revolution,” stresses the significance of a user-centric approach in marketing and design. His quote highlights that successful marketing is not solely about promoting technologies but understanding how people respond to them. By putting the end-users at the forefront of marketing strategies, businesses can create more effective and engaging campaigns that resonate with their audience.


“If you do good work for good clients, it will lead to other good work for other good clients. If you do bad work for bad clients, it will lead to other bad work for other bad clients.”

— Michael Bierut

Michael Bierut shows the impact of the choices we make in our design careers. By opting to work on projects that align with our values and passion, and collaborating with clients who appreciate and value our work, we can build a portfolio that opens doors to more fulfilling opportunities. Bierut’s advice inspires designers to stay true to their principles. This means investing their talents where they can make a real difference.


Feeling motivated and inspired to roll up your sleeves? Awesome. In case you need a web development partner for your current and future projects, here at htmlBurger, we are more than glad to discuss your needs. Wanna talk?

Let’s Wrap It Up!

These 40 design quotes serve as a source of inspiration for creative minds from all around the world. Each quote, attributed to influential figures from various fields, highlights the essence of design as a transformative force, balancing aesthetics, functionality, and human experience. From the importance of simplicity and problem-solving to the significance of user-centric thinking, these quotes offer invaluable insights to help designers elevate their craft.

Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a seasoned professional, we hope these words of wisdom boosted your creativity and inspired you to craft your next masterpiece.

In the meantime, let’s explore more insights and resources on web design and web development by checking out our other articles!

Subscribe for our newsletter

We hate boring. Our newsletters are relevant and on point. Excited? Let’s do this!