21 Graphic Design Quotes from Famous Creatives

Every designer has had their own unique journey as a creative, encountering both obstacles and successes in their careers. In this list, we’ve compiled 21 quotes on graphic design and other observations from famous creatives. For more inspirational quotes about graphic design, be sure to follow our weekly Sunday Quote series on Instagram.

Read on to hear some reflections from creatives sharing their thoughts on the importance of personal projects, embracing failure, staying curious, honing your craft, the value of your work and many more observations.

1. Lauren Hom, Designer and Letterer

“Working on passion projects lets me explore a bunch of different styles, ideas, and mediums, which keeps me creatively inspired. I’m a big believer that every experience in my life contributes to my creative work.”

2. Chip Kidd, Book Cover Designer

“Design is a response to a specific problem. You are given a problem to solve, and then you let the problem itself tell you what your solution is.”

3. Jessica Walsh, Designer, Art Director and Illustrator

“Pay attention to what you’re passionate about when no one is paying you.”

4. Michael Bierut, Design Critic, Lecturer, Co-founder of Design Observer

“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.”

5. Morag Myerscough, Designer and Artist

“It is important how colour responds to light. There is nothing better than to see an amazing colour in the right environment, it can change your whole mood.”

6. Shawna X, Independent Artist and Creative

“I’m going to continue to evolve and change when something new speaks to me or inspires me. I don’t need to worry so much about how other people are categorizing me, as long as I’m learning about myself in the process, and feel good about how I’m categorizing my own work.”

7. Kate Moross, Art Director, Illustrator and Graphic Designer

“The key to great ideas is not having them, it is executing them. And great ideas come from problems. As designers, we call problems, briefs and we call reactions to problems, concepts.”

8. Juan Carlos Pagan, Creative Director at Sunday Afternoon and Shillington New York Guest Lecturer

“Be genuinely curious about things. It’s a great habit to cultivate. It will pay off in dividends.”

9. Malika Favre, Illustrator

“I am a very logical person and I like things to be there for a reason. I believe that out of structure comes freedom. Setting rules makes it more interesting and it triggers something when people look at the images.”

10. Marian Bantjes, Designer, Typographer, Writer and Illustrator

“I find that for myself, without exception, the more I deal with the work as something that is my own, as something that is personal, the more successful it is.”

11. Debbie Millman, Writer, Designer, Educator, Host of the Design Matters podcast and Shillington New York Guest Lecturer

“Failure is something that we should try to embrace. If you’re not making enough mistakes you’re not taking enough risks.”

12. Seymour Chwast, Graphic Designer

“I read once about the concepts of a lateral idea and the vertical idea. If you dig a hole and it’s in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn’t going to help. The lateral idea is when you skip over and dig someplace else.”

13. Paula Scher, Graphic Designer, Painter and Art Educator

“It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow. You have to get bad in order to get good.”

14. Peter Saville, Art Director and Designer

“Creative people have to believe in the value of their work. If you don’t have any belief then you can’t give anything—designing is an act of giving, and a belief in the value of the work fuels the desire to express something. It’s important to know what your values are and to take care of them.”

15. Louise Fili, Graphic Designer, Author and Founder of Louise Fili Studio

“I believe that every designer has to have personal projects—it’s the only way to grow and find a unique voice. At any given point in time, I’m working on an independent project in the studio and that’s very important to me—it’s what defines me as a designer.”

16. Saul Bass, Graphic Designer

“Failure is built into creativity…the creative act involves this element of ‘newness’ and ‘experimentalism,’ then one must expect and accept the possibility of failure.”

17. Jessica Hische, Lettering Artist and Author

“The work you do while you procrastinate is the work you should do for the rest of your life.”

18. Stefan Sagmeister, Graphic designer, Storyteller and Typographer

“It is very important to embrace failure and to do a lot of stuff—as much stuff as possible—with as little fear as possible. It’s much, much better to wind up with a lot of crap having tried it than to overthink in the beginning and not do it.”

19. Gabby Lord, Designer, Art Director and OMG Lord Founder

“The best designers I know are the people who never stop making and put in the work to hone their craft.”

20. James Victore, Designer, Author and Artist

“By believing your work is a ‘gift,’ it radically changes what you create. I think this is a revolutionary idea. It’s no longer about client approval or a paycheck, but aspiring to make work that has meaning and purpose in your life and for your audience.”

21. Shepard Fairey, Street Artist, Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Founder of OBEY Clothing

“Creating is about sharing ideas, sharing aesthetics, sharing what you believe in with other people.”

For motivational advice, check out this list of 16 inspiring quotes from Shillington guest speakers.

If you have a favourite graphic design quote or would like to share advice from your experience as a designer, send us an email.

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