Design Quotes and Inspirations

A collection of quotes about design, the media, social change, and other inspirations for research, teaching, and creativity.


“Questions about whether design is necessary or affordable are quite beside the point: design is inevitable. The alternative to good design is bad design, not no design at all.”
~Douglas Martin

“People are not passive consumers of design, they are active designers of their own world—and always have been.”
~Jane Fulton Suri

“We are on a journey toward a future being made from the dreams of everyday people.”

~E. B.-N. Sanders

“A digital designer is a…
Facilitator, assisting others in refining and transmitting ideas.
Steward, supporting and protecting empathy and the creative process.
Connoisseur, maintaining a high bar of quality.”
~Diógenes Brito, 2015

“One of the first things we have to do to correct these perceptions is to connect our work, our skills and our abilities to the challenges that are truly valuable, from an economic, social, cultural perspective. In other words, not just focus on the æsthetic value with which we want to imbue all our work, but look at the larger task at hand, and then figure out what we can bring to it.”
~Clement Mok

“Design is everything we make, but it’s also between those things. It’s a mix if craft, science, storytelling, propaganda, and philosophy.”
~Erik Adigard

“Before I speak about design I will talk about society, and before I speak about society I will talk about family”
~Li Edelkoort

“Public art’s responsibility is to bring a sense of community to the public”
~Huda AbiFares

“Our intentions are more important than our responsibilities; it’s all about the awareness we create”
~Huda AbiFares

“A critique does not consist in saying that things aren’t good the way they are. It consists in seeing on just what type of assumptions, of familiar notions, of established and unexamined ways of thinking the accepted practices are based… To do criticism is to make harder those acts which are now too easy.”
~Michel Foucault

“Festivals are a wonderful way to democratise the arts and make them accessible to all.”
~Prashat Panjiar

“We are polymaths and design specialists. Therefore we act as leaders, as well as individual thinkers. We see what is and imagine the possibilities.

We are diverse and we nurture diversity, for it is fundamental to creation, life and wellness for all.We are part of a whole, but are able to see patterns within. We can manage those patterns and artfully manipulate them, with compassion and care and respect for relationships, into comprehensive thoughtful projects.

We think large and small, on a relative and sliding scale, exerting fact and fiction and bringing together the sensible, wonder and fuzzy logic.

We are in the immediate present, designing your future and our own, we are aware of the past but are not bound by it.We are metamodern metadesigners. We are mindful agents of change.”
~Manifesto of The Department of Design and Architecture Iceland Academy of the Arts:

Social Change

“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance”
~Verna Myers

“The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”

~Ann Wigmore

“You have demonstrated that everyone here has a purpose. You have demonstrated that everyone has meaning and no one person is better or more important than another, and no one person holds a position of privilege.

Whether it’s a full-timer or a part-timer. Whether it’s a sacker, or a cashier, or a grocery clerk, or a truck driver, or a warehouse selector, a store manager, a supervisor, a customer, a vendor or a CEO—we are all equal. By working together—and only together—do we succeed.

You proved—all of you—that your grassroots effort to save your company and harness thousands and thousands of people was not about a family conflict or a Greek tragedy, but more about fairness, justice and a solid moral compass that unites the human soul.

I have always believed that we are born into this world and at a certain place to be with certain people for a reason and a purpose. Everyone has a destiny, and because of you, I stand here with a renewed vigor and a sense of purpose. May we always remember this past summer first as a time where our collective values of loyalty and courage and kindness for one another really prevailed. And, in that process, we just happened to save our company.As you gave generously to those who had less than you, the public watched in awe and admiration, because you empowered others to seek change.

You all have demonstrated to the world that it is a person’s moral obligation and social responsibility to protect the culture which provides an honorable and dignified place in which to work.”
~Arthur T. Demoulas, speach featured in Esquire

“It doesn’t matter how large the project is or even how vast the impact, what matters is how engaged you are with choosing to affect change.”

~Patricia Murphey, 2016

“I once said, ‘If you want to liberate a society, all you need is the Internet.’ I was wrong … the same tool that united us to topple dictators eventually tore us apart.”
~Wael Ghonim

“Our digital experiences favour broadcasting over engagement, posts over discussions, shallow commitment over deep interaction. We talk at, not with.”
~Wael Ghonim

We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.”

~John Naisbitt

“A good tool is an invisible tool. By invisible, I mean that the tool does not intrude on your consciousness; you focus on the task, not the tool.”

~Mark Weiser, 1993

“The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

~Tim Berners-Lee


“Let these footsteps leave this decaying earth as a symbol of my existence or let them stand the test of time in which my ancient voice cannot be heard.”
~Ryan Emans


“Not everyone is born a witch or a saint. Not everyone is born talented, or crooked, or blessed; some are born definite in no particular at all. We are a fountain of shimmering contradictions, most of us. Beautiful in the concept, if we’re lucky, but frequently tedious or regrettable as we flesh ourselves out.”
~Gregory Maguire

“For what its worth, its never too late to be whoever you wanna be. There’s no time limit; start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same—there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it… I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
~Benjamin Button

“A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!”