Finding it hard to feel inspired in the grip of a global pandemic? It’s safe to say that 2021 hasn’t started the way we thought it would – so now is the time to go back to basics and rediscover your love of design.
As the world goes into lockdown, unlock your mind with our list of the top 15 design quotes to inspire you in 2021. From graphic designers and writers to artists and entrepreneurs, these quotes come from people whose fresh ways of thinking will help to free your creativity.
Let's learn from what they have to say with these top 15 web design quotes.
This quote from American artist, Hofmann, reinforces the purpose of good design. Like a well-designed car, a beautiful website should feel intuitive to the user. Its features should blend thought and action seamlessly into one.
Adam Judge, the author of ‘The Little Black Book of Design,’ inspires us to consider every aspect of visual branding. Choosing not to design a certain feature on a website isn’t possible – that’s just bad design in action, and it will let down the overall impact of the whole page.
Steve Jobs needs no introduction. In this quote, the co-founder of Apple reminds us not to forget functionality in our eagerness to make a beautiful web design. After all, we all know that an incredible background on our homepage won’t have the desired effect if users can’t see their cursor against it.
Designer, writer, and curator Ellen Lupton battles against the all-too-common belief that white space is simply space that’s waiting to be filled. The interplay between empty space and color is one of the most important considerations to make when planning a design, as this is what helps key features stand out and gives your work the room it needs to breathe.
Think of McDonald’s logo. Its simplicity would have faded into history had the chain itself not become one of the most iconic brands in the world. Graphic designer Paul Rand reminds us that the most effective design is always backed up by a quality business.
A designer and creative director, Mamo encourages us to view design as storytelling. Our hunger for stories is part of what makes us human. Whether it’s the story of your brand, a client’s brand, or a concept you’re trying to explain, find the narrative in everything, and use your design to make it dance.
It’s tempting to think that web design begins and ends online. But as designer Gerard Huerta states, the best ideas often come from art, nature, and even doodling. Always keep your eyes (and mind) open.
London-based designer Brody reminds us that digital design is always a fluid process. While this idea can feel overwhelming, as it implies that the process is never truly finished, it’s also encouraging. Unlike paintings, which bear the marks of past mistakes, you can always enhance and improve your digital design; it evolves as you and your business grow.
Mairoka’s quote may seem lighthearted, but it also sheds serious light on the nature and value of design. A cosmetic dentist is concerned with the overall health, quality, and appearance of their patients’ teeth. Think of design work like dentistry – the elements that manage the usability of a site are the ‘braces’ of the branding world, while visual elements ensure that the look and feel of the site reflect its functionality. Get the basics straightened out first before polishing the final layer.
Reichelt reminds us of the importance of knowing your user. A site that sells jewelry in New York isn’t aiming to attract the same customer base as a site that sources lead generation in London. Research each site’s target demographic and draw a mental image of their quintessential customer – age, gender, income, hobbies, values. Design for them and nobody else.
Lindon Leader was the designer behind the award-winning logo for FedEx, which perfectly embodies both simplicity and clarity. This quote recalls the basics of design. With all the tools, principles, and trends out there, it can be tempting to overthink your branding in a bid to stand out. But if the FedEx logo can teach us anything, it’s that the most effective ideas are often the simplest.
As Hans Hofmann said above, ‘design is the intermediary between information and understanding.’ Katherine McCoy goes further, reminding us that good web design is the difference between presenting your users with raw data and providing them with ‘messages of meaning.’ This phrase is key – the nature of your design should help customers to interpret the information on your site, changing it from mere ‘information’ to crystal-clear ‘messages of meaning.’
Creative design gives a voice to unspoken ideas. As Debbie Millman sees it, this should come with a high level of responsibility. Think about the branding of your site and the sort of ideas you want to put into the world, and make sure that all visual elements corroborate these ideas. After all, almost anything that ends up on the web is a form of social enterprise.
Joel Spolsky is a writer, programmer, and the founder of project manager app Trello. He argues that web design is so intrinsic to a business that its value will always outweigh the cost of its creation – as long as it’s done well. When you’re designing, you should consider how each element will add value to the user experience and how this will add value to the business. A well-designed website is an exchange between branding and buyers, bringing value to both with every interaction.
The final quote to make this list encourages us to see the potential in every project. A brief might sound a little boring, but that doesn’t mean your branding has to be. It might even inspire you. Think outside the box, keep your user in mind, and find a new way of looking at things that will inspire them too.
What Inspires You?
No matter what your next project is, we hope that these top 15 design quotes have inspired you to see things differently.
Which of these web design quotes will inspire you when working on your next project?