Designers are constantly inspired by the world around them. It can come from the chaos of cities or the calmness of nature, the sound of street traffic or the pattern of a leaf. We’ve put together a list of UX quotes from design experts, visual designers, business legends, and even a few philosophers. We hope some of these will motivate you, and maybe even change the way you think about design.

Related25 UX Terms Every Designer Needs to Know

Click the links to share any design quote on Twitter—you may wind up inspiring someone else.

Our Favorite UX Quotes by Category

What Is Design?

"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works." — Steve Jobs

Design Is the Product

“Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”

Steve Jobs | Share

“Very often design is the most immediate way of defining what products become in people’s minds.”

Jony Ive | Share

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

— Steve Jobs | Share

“The word ‘design’ is everything and nothing. The design and the product itself are inseparable.”

— Jony Ive | Share

Design Is Innovation and Storytelling

“Every object tells a story if you know how to read it.”

Henry Ford | Share

“Where you innovate, how you innovate, and what you innovate are design problems.”

Tim Brown | Share

Design Is Everywhere

“Design is about three dimensions and the five senses.”

Danielle Sacks | Share

“Everything is designed. Few things are designed well.”

Brian Reed | Share

“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 | Share

“Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”

Robert L. Peters | Share

 

Good Design

"A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good." — Martin LeBlanc

Good Design Has a Reason

“Even the best designers produce successful products only if their designs solve the right problems. A wonderful interface to the wrong features will fail.”

Jakob Nielsen | Share

“Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.”

Massimo Vignelli | Share

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

Jeffrey Zeldman | Share

“Above all else, align with customers. Win when they win. Win only when they win.”

Jeff Bezos | Share

Good Design Is Invisible

“Design isn’t crafting a beautiful, textured button with breathtaking animation. It’s figuring out if there’s a way to get rid of the button altogether.”
Edward Tufte | Share

“The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it.”
Mark Weiser | Share

“Ease of use may be invisible, but its absence sure isn’t.”
IBM | Share

Good Design Is Obvious and Natural

“A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good.”

Martin LeBlanc | Share

“A user interface is well-designed when the program behaves exactly how the user thought it would.”

Joel Spolsky | Share

“Design needs to be plugged into human behavior. Design dissolves in behavior.”

Naoto Fukasawa | Share

“It’s art if can’t be explained. It’s fashion if no one asks for an explanation. It’s design if it doesn’t need explanation.”

Wouter Stokkel | Share

“Consistency is one of the most powerful usability principles: when things always behave the same, users don’t have to worry about what will happen.”

— Jakob Nielsen | Share

“If you find an element of your interface requires instructions… redesign it.”
Dan Rubin | Share

Good Design Goes a Step Further

“It is not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and, yes, beauty to people’s lives.”

Don Norman | Share

“It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.”

Jony Ive | Share

“What makes people passionate, pure and simple, is great experiences. If they have great experience with your product [and] they have great experiences with your service, they’re going to be passionate about your brand, they’re going to be committed to it. That’s how you build that kind of commitment.”

Jesse James Garrett | Share

“Accessibility is not about designing for the few. It is designing for us all.”

Paul Boag | Share

“Attention to detail can’t be (and never is) added later. It’s an entire development philosophy, methodology, and culture.”

Marco Arment | Share

Good Design Cares About Users

“Number one for product design: minimize the gap between what your product is and why it exists.”

Luke Wroblewski | Share

“Unintentional design happens when the organization focuses on the business or the technology, but doesn’t focus on the customer or user experience. The result is an experience that emerges that often isn’t pleasant.”

Jared M. Spool | Share

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”

Seth Godin | Share

“People choose not on the basis of what’s most important, but on what’s easiest to evaluate.”

Barry Schwartz | Share

“Usability answers the question, ‘Can the user accomplish their goal?’”

Joyce Lee | Share

“People ignore design that ignores people.”

Frank Chimero | Share

“If we want users to like our software, we should design it to behave like a likeable person: respectful, generous, and helpful.”

Alan Cooper | Share

“You’re designing a product for people, and it doesn’t matter if it’s on Android or iPhone or Windows Phone.”

Joey Flynn | Share

“We try to solve very complicated problems without letting people know how complicated the problem was.”

— Jony Ive | Share

 

Simplicity

"Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

 

“In a world where everybody screams, silence is noticeable. White space provides the silence.”

Massimo Vignelli | Share

“I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity; in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It’s about bringing order to complexity.”

— Jony Ive | Share

“Confusion and clutter are the failure of design, not the attributes of information.”

— Edward Tufte | Share

“‘Simple’ is a tricky word, it can mean a lot of things. To us, it just means clear. That doesn’t always mean total reduction, or minimalism. Sometimes, to make things clearer, you have to add a step.”

Jason Fried | Share

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry | Share

“Simple is hard. Easy is harder. Invisible is hardest.”

Jean-Louis Gassée | Share

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”

Hans Hofmann | Share

“Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it.”

Alan Perlis | Share

“Simplicity is not the goal. It is the by-product of a good idea and modest expectations.”

Paul Rand | Share

“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.”

Joe Sparano | Share

 

The Work of Designing

"Good design is about process, not product." – Jared Sinclair

Design Is a Process

“The best kind of design isn’t necessarily an object, a space, or a structure: it’s a process—dynamic and adaptable.”

— Don Norman | Share

“I tend to think of design as the most personal of things: a way of reaching goals, making decisions, managing relationships, communicating, learning—being intentional as we negotiate our everyday lives.”

— Joe Sparano | Share

“Good design is about process, not product.”

Jared Sinclair | Share

“The experience is about how we get there, not the landing place.”

Bill Buxton | Share

“You have to start with the customer experience and work your way back to technology.”

— Steve Jobs | Share

“Designers want to solve the whole puzzle and find a system, engineers want to build quickly and incrementally. Incremental improvements to a product are important, but they need to be lead by a clear vision. Vision needs to be tied to a solid understanding of customers and the market.”

Aarron Walter | Share

“Creating an interface is much like building a house: If you don’t get the foundations right, no amount of decorating can fix the resulting structure.”

Jef Raskin | Share

“Photoshop is the most effective way to show your clients what their website will never look like.”

Stephen Hay | Share

“It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission.”

Grace Hopper | Share

To Design Is to Always Learn

“Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context—a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”

Eero Saarinen | Share

“There’s no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times.”

— Jony Ive | Share

“Listen to your customers, not your competitors.”

— Joel Spolsky | Share

“When you know your position, you can say no. When you don’t know, you say yes out of fear. You build a feature because you’re afraid of what will happen if you don’t. That’s not a strong place to be competitively and it’s not a coherent place to be in terms of your product design.”

Ryan Singer | Share

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.”

Scott Adams | Share

“If you don’t talk to your customers, how will you know how to talk to your customers?”

Will Evans | Share

To Design Is to Understand What You Are Building

“It is absolutely crucial to identify what core activities you want to support so that you have a clear picture of what lies outside of that core.”

Paul Boag | Share

“The point is that to truly be adept at designing something, you have to understand how it works. You have to understand the nature of what you’re building, how what you’re building is perceived, and how you can use your tools to make your vision happen. Otherwise, you aren’t designing. You’re creating a veneer. You’re drawing ponies. Don’t draw ponies.”

David Kadavy | Share

“Talk to one user… start jumping to a solution. Talk to 5+ users… start understanding the problem.”

— Luke Wroblewski | Share

To Design Is to Ask the Right Questions

“Questions create the space where answers can appear.”

Clay Christensen | Share

“The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.”

Bertrand Russell | Share

“The benefit to your design process comes from untangling the design conversation into three things: the forces bearing on the design, the solutions under consideration, and the fitness between these two.”

— Ryan Singer | Share

“A problem well stated is a problem half solved.”

Charles Kettering | Share

“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

Albert Einstein | Share

To Design Is to Review the Results

“The design is done when the problem goes away.”

— Jason Fried | Share

“Design isn’t finished until somebody is using it.”

Brenda Laurel | Share

“When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

Buckminster Fuller | Share

 

Being a Designer

"There is no such thing as a boring project. There are only boring executions." — Irene Etzkorn

“Great UX designers—those that are deliberate, thoughtful, thorough—are like superheroes. Make sure they’re using their powers for good.”

Dan Brown | Share

“Look at usual things with unusual eyes.”

Vico Magistretti | Share

“Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.”

Paul Arden | Share

“The goal of a designer is to listen, observe, understand, sympathize, empathize, synthesize, and glean insights that enable him or her to make the invisible visible.”

Hillman Curtis | Share

“There is no such thing as a boring project. There are only boring executions.”

Irene Etzkorn | Share

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Aristotle | Share

“Designers shooting for usable is like a chef shooting for edible.”

Aarron Walter | Share

“Good designers can create normalcy out of chaos; they can clearly communicate ideas through the organizing and manipulating of words and pictures.”

Jeff Veen | Share

“Young designers, you need battle wounds. You need to fail. You need scars. Be curious and don’t ask for permission.”

Joel Beukelman | Share

 

Feeling inspired to learn more? Check out Springboard’s UX Design Course or UX bootcamp. You’ll have your own personal mentor, plus access to a global community of UX experts.