Illustration by Rouba Shabou

We all need a little bit of inspiration sometimes. We’ve scoured the web, dug into the classics, and looked back at some of our previous interviews to bring you this list of inspiring quotes that dig deep into the heart of UX and design.

On design…

  1. In many ways design is akin to gardening: get rid of the weeds. If data is showing a feature has poor usage or unintentional consequences, kill it. ~ Didier Hilhorst
  2. Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent. ~ Joe Sparano
  3. People ignore design that ignores people. ~ Frank Chimero
  4. Design should never say, ‘Look at me.’ It should always say, ‘Look at this.’ ~ David Craib
  5. UI is the saddle, the stirrups and the reigns. UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse, and rope your cattle. ~Dain Miller
  6. Design is the beauty of turning constraints into advantages. ~ Aza Raskin
  7. Your products run for election every day and good design is critical to winning the campaign. ~ A.G. Lafley
  8. If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design. ~ Ralf Speth
  9. The proper study of mankind is the science of design. ~ Herbert Simon
  10. Design is about 3 dimensions and the 5 senses. ~ Danielle Sacks
  11. Very often design is the most immediate way of defining what products become in people’s minds. ~ Johnny Ive
  12. If it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful. ~ Joshua Porter
  13. Digital design is like painting, except the paint never dries. ~ Neville Brody
  14. If you think responsive is simple, I feel bad for you son. We got 99 viewports but the iPhone’s just 1. ~ Josh Brewer
  15. Computers are to design what microwaves are to cooking. ~ Milton Glaber
  16. Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style. ~ Massimo Vignelli
  17. Design everything on the assumption that people are not heartless or stupid, but marvellously capable, given the chance. ~ John Chris Jones
  18. People value design that values people. ~ Mark Jenkins
  19. Practice safe design: use a concept. ~ Petrula Vrontikis
  20. Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated. ~ Paul Rand

On details…

  1. The details are not the details. They make the design. ~ Charles Eames
  2. Whenever you add a detail to a design, it should enhance that specific element rather than overpower it, and ideally aid in making the overall experience more usable or comprehensible. ~ Matt Armstrong
  3. Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler. ~ Albert Einstein
  4. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~ Leonardo da Vinci
  5. Any product that needs a manual is broken. ~ Elon Musk
  6. When there’s that balance between functionality and emotion, the two amplify each other and the result is very powerful. ~ Mike Matas

On designers…

  1. A designer’s purpose is to design for people. ~ Liam Thurston
  2. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. ~ Steve Jobs
  3. It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. ~ Scott Belsky
  4. A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. ~ Antoine de Saint-Exupery.
  5. One problem with conventions: designers are reluctant to take advantage of them. ~ Steve Krug
  6. I think a lot of designers imagine how other people are going to react and interact with their design. But I would challenge designers to think, how good are they at that? How good are they at predicting how people will behave? That’s very difficult to do, quite frankly. Humans are complicated and unpredictable. ~ Rob Youmans
  7. This is our job as designers – to continue making decisions until the purpose of the design is perfectly clear. Then you are done. ~ Terry Acker

On users…

  1. Socrates said, “Know thyself,” I say, “Know the users.” And guess what? They don’t think like you do. ~ Joshua Brewer
  2. Want your users to fall in love with your designs? Fall in love with your users. ~ Dana Chisnell
  3. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. ~ Bill Gates
  4. Speak Human. Feedback is for human beings, so address them as such. Use the words your users use. ~ Dan Saffer
  5. The information is in the people, not in your head. ~ Edward T. Hall
  6. To design an easy-to-use interface, pay attention to what users do, not what they say. ~ Jakob Nielsen
  7. Good UI design gives users a sense of power that consistently helps them feel in control. ~ Jim Nielsen
  8. Designing for a user problem that you don’t deeply understand is really hard to do. You’re much more likely to successfully design for a user problem that you deeply understand. It also makes you more creative and more innovative when you do this kind of counterfactual thinking. It has a neurological effect that stimulates creativity. ~ Katy Mogal

On empathy…

  1. People are going to make meaning out of their experience no matter what we do. People are going to take from our designs what they need from it in their experience. ~ Pamela Pavliscak
  2. You cannot understand good design if you do not understand people. ~ Dieter Rams
  3. Observation becomes empathy when we use our design research to confront our own biases and assumptions about who we are, not just our biases and assumptions about who our users are. ~ Dylan Wilbanks
  4. UX doesn’t live inside our phones or our websites. We need to step way outside of those devices to understand what people are doing in the real world. ~ Matt Hryhorsky
  5. Left unchecked, technology turns people into proxies. That’s why it’s so crucial that we integrate empathy and compassion into the design process. ~ Whitney Hess

Real talk…

  1. Don’t be a complainer; make things better, let it go, or take action to make it better. ~ Tina Roth Eisenberg
  2. There is no such thing as a boring project. Only boring executions. ~ Irene Etzkorn
  3. Too many people talk about doing great work, but really just sit on social media hustling for that perfect quotable tweet. You’re only as good as your last project. If that last project sucked, or your best project was 2 years ago, no perfect social media presence will get you work. Eventually no one will hire you because they haven’t seen you do any real work recently. Fear being obsolete. ~ Shane Mielke
  4. A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. ~ Douglas Adams
  5. Delay always breeds danger. To protract great design is often to ruin it. ~ Miguel de Cervantes
  6. It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better. ~ Jony Ive
  7. Designers shooting for usable is like a chef shooting for edible. ~ Aaron Walter
  8. Not everyone notices the flowers you plant, but everyone will notice the fire you start. ~ Unknown
  9. Good work ain’t cheap. Cheap work ain’t good. ~ Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins

Did any of these quotes resonate with you? Do you have another favorite inspiring quote that we didn’t include? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.