Words of wisdom about creative problem solving and design
Arranged in category, in alphabetical order by author's first name.

Creativity    Problem solving    Design    Typography    Personal growth    Computers/technology

Creativity
Albert Einstein
     • Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.
     • Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Art Holst
     • Human beings are creatures of habit. But, the only difference between a rut and a grave is its length, depth, and how long you're in it.
Charles Knight
     • You need the ability to fail. You cannot innovate unless you are willing to accept some mistakes.
Charles Mingus
     • Making the simple complicated is commonplace. Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.
Cynthia Heimel
     • When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.
Dalai Lama
     • Great achievements involve great risks.
Dee Hock
     • Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.
Eckhart Tolle
     • True intelligence operates silently. Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found.
Frank Scully
     • Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?
George Bernard Shaw
     • You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not'?
George S. Patton
     • If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.
Harry Emerson Fosdick
     • The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can't be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.
Hubbard Elbert
     • The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually fear that you will make one.
I Ching
     • Before the beginning of great brilliance, there must be chaos. Before a brilliant person begins something great, they must look foolish to the crowd.
Ivan Chermayeff
     • There are not many designers who are truly creative and literate. Most are self-indulgent, illiterate, fashion-mongering, service people trying to bridge a message between a product and an audience.
Jim Watson
     • To think outside the box, avoid ever allowing yourself to get boxed in. (Think outside the box? - if you're a designer, what are you doing inside a box?) Inspired by Edwin Land
     • It is better to fail while taking a risk than to succeed while playing it safe.
     • Look within to see without.
     • Obstacles are perceived in your mind, deal with them in your mind.
     • Look beyond just what is - to what could be.
     • Great ideas don't happen within the lines.
John Maynard Keynes
     • The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.
Kevin Blankenship
     • Creative thinking is thinking without fear.
Kurt Vonnegut
     • I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Leo Burnett
     • Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.
Lester Beall
     • A designer has the responsibility to give his audience not what they think they want, for this is almost always the usual and the obvious. Rather, he should provide that quality of thought which rejects the commonplace for originality.
     • Anyone interested in design must be interested in other fields of expression - theater, ballet, photography, literature, music.
From these, the alert designer can obtain not only ideas related to the problem, but genuine inspiration.
     • 3 requirements for a good designer: 1. genuine knowledge and love of great design. 2. sound knowledge of principles and techniques of communication. 3. heart (passion).
Lewis Carroll
     • "There is no use trying," said Alice. "One can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Maya Angelou
     • You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Nietzsche
     • You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.
Oliver Wendell Holmes
     • Man's mind, stretched to a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.
Osho
     • To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.
Pablo Picasso
     • Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.
Paul Rand
     • Have the courage to be creative.
Rusty Nix
     • I don't fail - I learn.
     • Avoid latching on to trends, believing you're creative; and not solving the problem in a fresh way.
Salvador Dali
     • Have no fear of perfection, you'll never reach it.
Scott Adams
     • Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Shakti Gawain
     • We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other people's models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.
Stefan Sagmeister
     • To be a good designer, you would need to have deep and far-reaching interests outside of the profession.
Thomas Edison
     • After numerous failed experiments: Shucks, we haven't failed. We now know a thousand things that won't work, so we're that much closer to finding what will.
     • There are no rules here. We're trying to accomplish something.
Thornton Wilder
     • Seek the lofty by reading, hearing, and seeing great work at some moment every day.
Tim McMahon
     • Risk-taking is inherently failure prone. Otherwise it would be called sure-thing-taking.
Vincent van Gogh
     • If you hear a voice within you say, 'You cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
Walt Disney
     • Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
W.C. Fields
     • A dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.
Unknown authors
     • What would you do tomorrow if you had no fear of failure?
     • Its better to try a swan dive and deliver a colossal belly flop than to step timidly off the board while holding your nose.
     • Why change when it is easier to remain the same? Because springs become rivers. Because buds become flowers. Because a hum becomes a song. Because ideas begin their lives as dreams. Change is a beautiful thing.
     • Creative minds are like parachutes: they work best when they are open.
     • All the action of a culture is at the edge - where the lunatics and geniuses are.
     • Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who put them into action are priceless.
     • Break the crust of habit.
     • The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever gone before.
     • You have two choices in life: you can dissolve into the mainstream or you can be distinct. To be distinct you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be.
     • Creative minds are like parachutes: they work best when they are open.
     • If the brain was so simple that we could understand it, it would be so simple that it couldn't.
     • Enemies of change are mainly people fearful of losing power.
     • Don't create mistakes - discover them. They allow you to see in new ways, be open to new influences and new results.
     • All great men are nonconformists. But all nonconformists are not great men.
     • Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt. And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along.
     • He who never makes mistakes never did anything worthy.

Creativity    Problem solving    Design    Typography    Personal growth    Computers/technology

Problem solving
Albert Einstein
     • The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
Buckminster Fuller
     • 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 isn't beautiful, I know its wrong.
Chip Kidd
     • If you can properly define the problem, then you've already defined the solution as well.
Earl Gary Stevens
     • Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes from being open to all the questions.
Ernst Keller
     • The solution to a design problem should emerge from the content.
Goethe
     • Thinking is more interesting than knowing... but less interesting than searching. . .
Henry Kaiser
     • Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.
Ivan Chermayeff
     • Problem solving is problem definition. If you can define the problem, you’re 90% home.
Jerry Lemelson, a prolific inventor
     • Can it be done better?
Jim Watson
     • Just because something isn't broken doesn't mean it can't be made better.
John Capozzi
     • To get the right answer, it helps to ask the right question.
John Gardner
     • We are all continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
Mary Wells
     • The more you understand the problem, the easier the solution becomes.
Saul Bass
     • Sometimes clients have a sophisticated view of their design problem, sometimes they do not. I often spend time with the client redefining the problem, going back to the beginning. Often the problem is just a symptom. Sometimes you have to move back in order to move forward to understand what the nature of the solution should be.
Unknown authors
     • If it ain't broke - break it
     • Be ruthless with the problem, but not with the people, including yourself.
     • Evaluate your decision but not your self-worth (that comes separate).
     • Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it.
     • Challenge everything, including this statement.

Creativity    Problem solving    Design    Typography    Personal growth    Computers/technology

Design
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
     • A designer knows that he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
April Greiman
     • I’m a fan of balance and order, but I like to put that extra layer on top. It makes it more dynamic.
Brian Collins, Ogilvy & Mather NY
     • The question to ask about design is, does it make something happen? Design is not just a plan for decoration.
Buckminster Fuller
     • When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I've finished, if the solution isn't beautiful, I know its wrong.
Charles Harrison, Designer at Sears and designer of the View-Master
     • Designers do not design for themselves. You learn that very early on - at least you should. When designers approach a design, they have to extract themselves from the equation and think about who's going to use it.
David Carson
     • Invite the reader to participate by deciphering. Chaos can attract and engage.
Edward Tufte
     • There is no such thing as information overload, just bad design.
Frank Chimero
     • People ignore design that ignores people.
Isamu Noguchi
     • In my work, I wanted something irreducible, an absence of the gimmicky and clever.
Ivan Chermayeff
     • Styles come and go, design goes on forever: solving communication problems with new tools applied to the same old common sense.
Jan Tschichold
     • Readers want what is important to be clearly laid out; they will not read what is too troublesome.
Jason Fried, founder of 37Signals
     • The design is done when the problem goes away.
Jim Watson
     • Designers don't deal with reality, they deal with perceptions of reality.
     • Figure out what's working in the piece, exploit that and minimize the rest.
     • Live with passion. Design with extreme passion. Without courage, passion is useless.
Massimo Vignelli, from study tour visit to his apartment, May 2008
     • Don’t be governed by the grid, govern the grid. A grid is like a lion cage - if the trainer stays too long it gets eaten up. You have to know when to leave the cage - you have to know when to leave the grid.
     • If you do the best thing everyday of your life, but nothing shakes you nor shakes the table for you and others, it is stale and its not worth it.
     • Design is not art. Design is utilitarian, art is not.
     • The only way to stay in fashion is never be in. If you are never in fashion, you are never out of fashion.
     • In design, be logical, search for truth, be clear.
Milton Glaser
     • Design is a way of thinking: first define the problem with a specific and narrow focus.
     • Work should be effective, not beautiful; or so the viewer cannot tell the difference.
     • The basic issue is making things clear and sometimes you have to disrupt expectations in order to do that.
Oscar Wilde
     • I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful.
Paul Rand
     • Everything is design. Everything!
     • Design is the integration of form and function for effective communication.
     • The role of the designer is to upgrade rather than to serve the lowest common denominator of public taste.
     • Good design is simple honesty.
     • Design for function and usefulness, the beauty will come.
     • Have the courage to be creative.
Ray and Charles Eames
     • To whom does design address itself? To the need.
     • Design is an expression of the purpose.
Raymond Loewy
     • Never leave well enough alone.
     • The designers goal is to not complicate further the already difficult life of the consumer.
Sagi Haviv, Jim Watson, and thousands of others
     • A great logo is not about what one likes or dislikes. It's about what works.
Sahil Lavingia, founding designer of Pinterest
     • Good design is using reason to make decisions and to solve problems. -
Sauma, Finnish design
     • The task of the designer is to create the best possible solution by merging the wisdom of tradition and the excitement of innovation. Designers are deeply rooted in the traditions of craftsmanship and cultural environment. They shape our daily experiences by creating tangible objects that give us a way to relate to the world. As keen observers, the designers translate the newest technical innovations into practical tools. Thus design can be understood as a cultural interface that facilitates navigation in the world of ever changing cultural, social, and technical demands.
Seymour Chwast
     • If you do not start with the idea, you are creating fine art - its personal, but it tends not to communicate.
Sol Sender
, Obama campaign logo designer
     • Unless there is meaning, there is no solution.
     • Designers devote their efforts to change.
     • More rationale decreases subjectivity.
     • Great design should tell a story.
Stefan Sagmeister
     • To be a good designer, you would need to have deep and far-reaching interests outside of the profession.
Steff Geissbuhler
     • Nothing dulls faster than the cutting edge.
Steve Jobs
     • Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But, if you dig deeper, its really how it works. To design something really well, you have to 'get it'. You have to really (understand) what its all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something - most people don't take the time to do that.
Unknown
     • Perfection is attained when there is nothing left to take away, not when there is nothing left to add.
     • Design is empty and meaningless. The viewer/participant attributes substance relevant to him/her - then design has meaning.

Creativity    Problem solving    Design    Typography    Personal growth    Computers/technology

Typography
David Carson
     • Invite the reader to participate by deciphering. Chaos can attract and engage.
Herb Lubalin
     • Typography can be as exciting as illustration and photography.
     • Sometimes you sacrifice legibility to increase impact.
Jan Tschichold
     • The aim of every typographic work - the delivery of a message in the shortest, most efficient manner.
     • Readers want what’s important to be clearly laid out; they won’t read what is too troublesome.
Mark Twain
     • I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have time.
Milton Glaser
     • The basic issue is making things clear and sometimes you have to disrupt expectations in order to do that.

Creativity    Problem solving    Design    Typography    Personal growth    Computers/technology

Personal growth
Andre Gide
     • People cannot discover new lands until they have the courage to lose sight of the shore.
Anthony Robbins
     • If you say you can't, you're right. If you say you can, you're right.
April Greiman
     • I like to step into areas where I am afraid. Fear is a sign that I am going in the right direction.
Behaviors of Successful People
     • Endure the pain of feedback in order to secure the joy of growth.
Abandon hope for a better yesterday.
Stop waiting for a better tomorrow.
Spend time with inspiring people.
Bill Cosby
     • In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
Brandon Reese
     • True success comes when you can wear with beauty & grace all the marks left by life.
Brian Dyson, CEO, Coca Cola
     • Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. We are each special because we are each different. Don't set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Carl Jung
     • Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.
Dalai Lama
     • Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for your actions.
     • When you realize you've made a mistake, correct it immediately.
Debbi Field, founder, Mrs. Field's Cookies
     • Good enough never is.
De La Vega
     • Don't let the idiots ruin your day.
Dr. Seuss
     • Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
     • Good, better, best; never rest, until good be better and better be best.
Eleanor Roosevelt
     • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
     • Do one thing every day that scares you.
Fernando Flores
     • Great work is done by people who are not afraid to be great.
Frank Scully
     • Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where the fruit is?
George Clooney
     • Whatever you do, don't wake up at 65 years old and think about what you should have done with your life.
George Washington Carver
     • If you do common things in an uncommon way, the world will notice.
Grace Hopper
     • A ship is safe in a harbor. But a harbor is not what a ship is for.
Henry Ford
     • Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
Herman Melville
     • It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.
Irving Berlin
     • Life is 10% what you make it, and 90% how you take it.
Ivan Chermayeff
     • As designers, we are the interface. Trying to make things understandable. That requires involving oneself with what’s going on in the world. One must understand what people are, what they’re up to, what they care about, how they feel.
Jacob Braude
     • Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you'll understand what little chance you have of trying to change others.
James Brooks writer & director
     • Courage is mastery of fear, not absence of fear.
Jerry Seinfeld
     • You have to motivate yourself with challenges. That's how you know you're still alive. Once you start doing only what you've already proven you can do, you're on the road to death.
Jim Watson
     • It's all a game. To play is to win. To not play is to lose.
     • The simple act of trying raises your chances for success immediately. Not trying guarantees failure.
     • If the desire is strong enough, the path will be clear.
     • Experience life with open palms, not clenched fists.
     • Say 'want to', not 'have to'. Almost always its true. It sounds better for your attitude and mind to want to do something.
     • Strive to control your mental attitude, your attitude controls your behavior, and your behavior controls your environment.
     • The game of life is developing and experiencing a balance between making a responsible contribution to society and having a good time.
     • Why don't we just choose to be content? Why do we choose to be frustrated? To be jealous? To be angry?
Joe E. Lewis
     • You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.
John Brodie
     • You have the greatest chance of winning when your first commitment is to a total and enthusiastic involvement in the game itself. Enthusiasm is what matters most.
John Capozzi
     • The greatest mistake you can make is to fear making a mistake.
     • Many years ago, a large American shoe company sent two sales reps to different parts of the Australian outback. A while later, the company received a telegram from each. The first said, 'No business here - the natives don't wear shoes.' The second said, 'Great opportunity here - the natives don't wear shoes.'
Jules Henri Poincaré (1854-1912) French mathematician
     • To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.
Kenneth Blanchard
     • When you're interested in something, you do it only when its convenient. When you're committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.
Lou Holtz, retired football coach
     • Ability is what you're capable of doing.  Motivation determines what you do.  Attitude determines how well you do it
Mario Andretti
     • Love what you do. Believe in your instincts. And be prepared to pick yourself up and brush yourself off every day. While life is not always fair, it is manageable. It is a matter of attitude and confidence.
Mark Twain
     • Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines; sail away from the safe harbor; catch the tradewinds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.
     • Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
Martha Graham
     • Great dancers are not great because of their technique; they are great because of their passion.
Mate Steinforth
     • Keep open to new influences, go out and actively look and explore the world and let yourself be inspired by it. There’s so much amazing stuff around that it shouldn’t be too hard.
Milton Glaser
     • The greatest attribute for a professional designer is curiosity and to remain in a state of inquiry.
Nelson Mandela
     • The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.
Notre Dame
     • Those who are afraid of being different will never make a difference.
Oprah Winfrey
     • You are the single biggest influence in your life.
P.J. O'Rourke
     • There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you please unless it causes others harm. With it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences.
Paul Harvey
     • I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist.
Plato
     • The life which is unexamined is not worth living.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
     • Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Richard Devos
     • This is an exciting world. Great moments wait around every corner.
Rudyard Kipling
     • We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.
Salman Rushdie
     • Once you put a thought into the world, it can be disagreed with, but it can't be unthought.
Sam Harris
     • 
Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person you will pass on the street today, is going to die. Living long enough, each will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?
School of Visual Arts, NYC
     • To be good is not enough when you dream of being great.
Sean Cobb
     • Mediocrity exists so that the passionate can excel.
     • Its not that I'm so brilliant, its just that most people don't shine at all.
Seth Godin

     • Don’t try to be the ‘next’. Instead, try to be the other, the changer, the new.
Smiley Blanton, MD
     • To be happy, drop the words 'if only' and substitute instead the words 'next time'.
Stefan Sagmeister
     • To be a good designer, you would need to have deep and far-reaching interests outside of the profession.
Thaddeus Golas
     • Inside yourself or outside, you never have to change what you see, only the way you see it.
Thomas Edison
     • If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.
Thornton Wilder
     • Seek the lofty by reading, hearing, and seeing great work at some moment every day.
Vincent Van Gogh
     • If you hear a voice within you saying, 'You are not a painter,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.
Wayne Gretzky
     • You miss 100% of the shots you never take.
Will Rogers
     • Never let yesterday use up too much of today.
     • Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
Winston Churchill
     • Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Unknown authors
     • What we do at the bottom of the valley defines who we'll be at the top of the next hill.
     • The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
     • Well behaved people rarely make history.
     • If your hands aren't sweaty, you're not in a big enough ballgame.
     • If better is possible, then 'good' is not enough.
     • Some people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
     • How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?
     • Stop fighting yourself, be your own best friend. Love yourself. Its OK.
     • Don't wait for your ship to come in; swim out to it.
     • Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.
     • My greatest power in life is my power to choose. I am the final authority over me. I make me.
     • Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
     • We become what we think about most of the time. We don't believe what we see, we see what we believe. If you look for what's wrong, you'll find it. Change is a matter of motivation, not ability.
     • I've learned that no matter how much I care, some people are just assholes.
     • It takes years to build up trust, and it only takes suspicion, not proof, to destroy it.
     • You shouldn't compare yourself to others - they are more screwed up than you think.

Creativity    Problem solving    Design    Typography    Personal growth    Computers/technology

Computers/technology
Bill Gates, 1981
     • 640K ought to be enough for anybody.
Editor, Prentice Hall Business Books, 1957
     • I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year.
IBM executive commenting on the microchip, 1968
     • But what is it good for?
Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949
     • Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.
President, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977
     • There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
Steve Wozniak, co-founder, Apple
     • Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window.
Steve Jobs, trying to get Atari and HP interested in the Apple computer
     • So we went to Atari, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' They said, 'No.' So we went to Hewlett-Packard, they said, 'Hey, we don't need you. You haven't got through college yet.'
Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943
     • I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.

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