No. 42 | Seven design quotes to deploy in case of burnout emergency

My friend and fellow Minneapolatin Rua is a designer with a good eye and great taste. I asked her to contribute a list to this project and she picked one of my favorite things: quotes about design!

The subject line is mine, but the rest of these words are hers. Well, hers and the people she’s quoting. Enjoy!

1. Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity. ―Charles Mingus

Okay, I’m not starting off with a designer, but this quote from Charles Mingus, jazz musician, has long been a favorite of mine. I HAD to start the list with this.

In reality, it doesn’t matter in what part of your life you use it. A simple life, design constraints, etc…sticking to the essentials while still making it beautiful is true creativity.

2. Good design is as little design as possible. ―Dieter Rams

The message is the cake. Design is icing. It’s an attractive way to communicate the message as cleanly as possible. Why detract from the message?

3. Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent. ―Joe Sparano

Ever since I was a child, I was drawn to good design in everyday life—product packaging, page layouts in magazines, etc. Most people don’t think that way. Let them notice the content without distraction (yes, a bit like #2, but still important on its own).

4. Everything is designed. Few things are designed well. ―Charles Eames

So true! I can’t really add to that.

5. Directive design gives an either/or choice, similar to a traffic sign. Interpretive design allows for personal choice, in the same way symbolism allows for individual meaning. ―Maggie Macnab

I feel that great graphic design can be like art. Why tell people what to think or feel—let them use their experiences help with the interpretation.

6. Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does. ―David Carson

Yup. We’re not doing life and death work here. But that’s OKAY. There’s nothing wrong with liking to make things pretty. We still add to the atmosphere.

7. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares. ―Saul Bass

Something I need to remind myself often. Don’t let ego get in the way. Who cares if you don’t get praise for something you worked hard on. Still get out there and create!

If you’re experiencing any kind of burnout (graphic design or otherwise), I hope this is helpful. I know I’ll be keeping this collection for myself the next time it happens.

Thanks Rua! 

Originally published as List No. 42 of the 7x77 newsletter project.
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