10 Inspiring Quotes That Will Get You Designing

September 13, 2012
5 min read
5 min read

Every now and again we all hit that design wall. It’s like you can’t think straight. Like every concept you come up with has been done before, or is just plain old rubbish. It’s an irritating feeling and it’s one that we all have to face at some point, and simply admit the fact that for today at least, our inspiration well has run dry. Although, for the professional designer who has deadline to meet and bills to pay these days can be a real nightmare. One little trick I’ve found over the years is to look to others for inspiration. Sometimes, we may not feel overly passionate about graphic design and that’s ok, but when those days come by my way I boost my inspiration levels back up to full by reading over a few of these inspiring quotes that always get me back on my feet and back designing. (Just so you know- you can click on any of these quotes to Tweet them!)

1. You musn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger darling”
Eames (Inception)

Ok, technically not a quote from a graphic designer (or even a real person) but the message rings true none the less, and perhaps even more so for designers. When we are asked to create something for a client the brief is often laid out in black and white, it’s our job to to then turn that into an all singing all dancing barrage of clever imagery. It can be tempting to look at what has come before and mimic that, but personally I always try to push myself to go one better than the best design I can find.

2. “If you think it’s that simple, then do it yourself”
Unknown

This is more of a quote directed at those clients that all of us have to deal with from time to time. As in my post about 12 things to remember when designing a logo, sometimes your finished product may look very simple, but that’s not why you’re paid. You’re paid for how you got to that finished design, the fact that it’s so simple is testament to how good you are at what you do. The fact of the matter is that there are very very few people that can do what you do, remember that and remember your worth.

3. “When you make something no one hates, no one loves it”
Tibor Kalman

Good design is about getting peoples attention, and to do that sometimes you need to step out from the norm. Sure, not everyone might like it and the sorry state of the matter is that you’ll probably hear about that more than you’ll hear about the people that loved it. But just remember, for every person that doesn’t like your bold design, there is another out there who thinks it’s amazing.

4. “Good design is good business”
Thomas J. Watson, Jr

 This is something I need reminding of from time to time and it’s useful for any designer to keep it in mind. What we do, we do for a purpose and that purpose more often than not is to do with business. If we just designed what we wanted for no other purpose than to please ourselves then we would be artists. To be a designer you have to be as mindful of your audience and the message to want to display to them as you are about what you’re actually creating.

5. “The best way to accomplish serious design is the be totally and completely unqualified for the job”
Paula Scher

Don’t take it all too seriously. If you knew everything there was to know about something then doing that every day would be a very dull task. I’m happy to say that every day I learn something new about the design industry and that every day I become more creative and an overall better graphic designer. If you waited until you knew everything about something before you did it, you’d do very little.

6. “No masterpiece is ever created by a lazy artist”
Salvador Dali

If you’re doing something then do it right. It may be the case that the job you have on at the moment may not press your buttons creatively, but that’s the time that you really need to kick things up a gear. Every day designers make amazing things out of the mundane, so when a boring jobs comes your way, use it as an opportunity to make something amazing.

7. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”
Unknown

Do what you don’t know and do it often. If you want to grow as a designer then take on new challenges and keep on learning. Whether it’s a new program or a new art style, keep on pushing yourself. My personal mission at the moment is to get to grips with video editing so I’m spending my spare time learning all I can. When I get half decent I’ll maybe take a job from a client for little or no money to build up a portfolio in that area and in time it’ll be a whole new service that I can charge for.

8. “Design is thinking made visual”
Saul Bass

Clients need you because they have something to show, something that cannot be said or written down. That can make your job very difficult, but that’s what you’re paid for. So when you’re designing you need to keep the idea that needs to be reaching your audience at the forefront of your mind.

9. “Clients don’t understand their success is reliant on standing out, not fitting in”
Don Draper

It can be irritating when clients demand a dull design because that’s what their competitors are doing. What you need to remember is that your clients are not just paying for your creative talents, they are paying for your knowledge and advice, so if you can see them making a mistake- call them on it.

10. “Quit slackin’ & make shit happen!”
Very wise Unknown

This is the most important quote of all. Just do it. If all else fails, just start and see where it leads you.

If you have any other quotes that get your design juices revved up then please let me know in the comments below- I’d love to hear them!

Photo Credit to Dave Makes

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is owner of Hunting Town Design, a small design house based in Manchester UK specialising in Graphic Design and Illustration. Alex is also the founder and editor of The Design Range. Find out more about Alex on his website or follow him on twitter.
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