QUOTE OF THE DAY: Design Quotes

Check out this collection of design quotes I have collected over the years from various design fields.

Today’s Quote of the Day theme is Design Quotes. You can check out the last theme, Ideas, here. The next quote theme will be Ego.

While all of the quotes below probably fit any kind of design I chose quotes that transmit the idea and my core belief behind Production Design:

Production Design is not only about having the perfect relationship to the story but also the ability to lift up the story to a place no one knew it could go. If a film is well designed it allows for depth of character and depth of story which in turn creates depth of experience for the intelligent viewer.

Blade Runner (1982)

Production Designer: Lawrence G. Paull

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.

— Joe Sparano

Visual design is often the polar opposite of engineering: trading hard edges for subjective decisions based on gut feelings and personal experiences. It’s messy, unpredictable, and notoriously hard to measure. The apparently erratic behavior of artists drives engineers bananas. Their decisions seem arbitrary and risk everything with no guaranteed benefit.

— Scott Stevenson

Design is the search for a magical balance between business and art; art and craft; intuition and reason; concept and detail; playfulness and formality; client and designer; designer and printer; and printer and public.

— Valerie Pettis

People ignore design that ignores people.

— Frank Chimero

People think that design is styling. Design is not style. It’s not about giving shape to the shell and not giving a damn about the guts. Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.

Paola Antonelli

Gone with the Wind (1939)

Production Designer: William Cameron Menzies

Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.

Jeffrey Zeldman

Good design must be defined by appropriateness to audience and goals, and by its effectiveness, not by its adherence to Swiss design or the number of awards it wins.

— Drew Davies

The dumbest mistake is viewing design as something you do at the end of the process to ‘tidy up’ the mess, as opposed to understanding it’s a ‘day one’ issue and part of everything.

— Tom Peters

The life of a designer is a life of fight: fight against the ugliness.

Massimo Vignelli

Practice safe design: Use a concept.

— Petrula Vrontikis

Designing a product is designing a relationship.

— Steve Rogers

Great design will not sell an inferior product, but it will enable a great product to achieve its maximum potential.

Thomas J. Watson Jr.

Design is an opportunity to continue telling the story, not just to sum everything up.

— Tate Linden

Rear Window (1954)

Art Directors: Joseph MacMillan Johnson & Hal Pereira

Which quote is your favourite and why? What is your favourite film with the best production design? How and why did it affect you the way it did?

Rose Lagacé | @artdepartmental

Sources: Design Was Here, Quotes On DesignWikipedia

Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. I’d call it a tie between the Paola Antonelli and Tate Linden quotes. Good production design rings true all the way through — and the perfect example is your photo of “Blade Runner,” to my mind one of the best production designs ever for a film. That movie created a non-digital world (and a vision of the future) so convincingly real that it still makes me sweat every time I watch it.

    Another one of my favorites is “Chinatown,” which also has a wonderful production design. And for a sleeper pick, how about “The French Connection,” as gritty and bruising an urban crime drama as you’ll ever see, where the characters and their milieu are almost inseparable. No digital magic, just smart aesthetic and artistic choices.

    Great post.


  2. […] Quote Day theme is an exploration of the Ego. You can check out the last hump day theme, Design, here. The next quote theme will be […]


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.