33 quotes about design, art and creativity from 33 female heroes

At Ideaseed, we are honouring International Women’s Day (March 8) by bringing you the voices of women who influence and inspire the design world. Featuring artists, designers, illustrators and architects, these high achieving women are responsible for shaping the past and future of their fields.

We hope you love reading these quotes as much as we loved collecting them.

“The job of the designer is to make things understandable, usable, accessible, enjoyable…”

Paula Scher, Graphic Designer

“I don’t think that architecture is only about shelter, is only about very simple enclosure. It should be able to excite you, to calm you, to make you think.”

Zaha Hadid, Architect

“I love the idea that something is practical and still looks great.”

Vera Wang, Fashion Designer

“Art is my religion.”

Del Kathryn Barton, Artist

“What I’ve come to realize is that there’s nothing you can do to persuade someone they should like something they don’t like.”

Debbie Millman, Designer

“Obsession and repetition in the process of making things is one constant element in my work.”

Sandy Skoglund, Photographer

“Do work that feeds your soul, not your ego.”

Jessica Walsh, Graphic Designer

“There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.”

Helen Frankenthaler, Artist

“Does not the very word ‘creative’ mean to build, to initiate, to give out, to act – rather than to be acted upon, to be subjective?”

Berenice Abbott, Photographer

“Designers whose work is edgier than mine, and women who think entirely differently than I do play a significant role in the way I think about issues and ideas relating to women, cities, art and design.”

Sheila de Bretteville, Designer

“Good design’s not about what medium you’re working in, it’s about thinking hard about what you want to do and what you have to work with before you start.”

Susan Kare, Graphic Designer

“Creative thinking inspires ideas. Ideas inspire change.”

Barbara Januszkiewicz, Artist

“Art is a process, not a product.”

MaryAnn F. Kohl, Author

“Designers must act as stewards of design rather than dictators.”

Cassie McDaniel, Designer

“Design must seduce, shape, and perhaps more importantly, evoke an emotional response.”

April Grieman, Artist

“I am convinced that abstract form, imagery, colour, texture, and material convey meaning equal to or greater than words.”

Katherine McCoy, Graphic Designer

“Graphic design is a popular art and a practical art, an applied art and an ancient art. Simply put, it is the art of visualizing ideas.”

Jessica Helfand, Designer

“As an architect, I feel it is part of our profession to use space as a medium to express our thoughts.”

Kazuyo Sejima, Architect

“Information is only useful when it can be understood.”

Muriel Cooper, Graphic Designer

“Design is to invent with intent. If you take away the ‘invent’ bit, you have an engineer. If you take away the ‘intent’ bit, you have an artist.”

Rebecca Reubens, Designer

“To be a good artist/letterer/designer/guitar player it takes practice. A lot of it. More than you can even fathom when you’re starting out.”

Jessica Hische, Illustrator

“To create, one must first question everything.”

Eileen Gray, Architect and Designer

“I think fearlessness may have always been a trait in me.”

Polly Wales, Jewelry Designer

“The modes of expression that have always been most important to me are fusion, imbalance, unfinished, elimination and absence of intent.”

Rei Kawakubo, Fashion Designer

“Architecture can’t force people to connect, it can only plan the crossing points, remove barriers, and make the meeting places useful and attractive.”

Denise Scott Brown, Architect

“Good design is like a refrigerator – when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks”

Irene Au, UX Designer

“I don’t see architecture as distinct from design or culture, or even from chemistry for that matter. What’s more important to me is the search for a language of expression that carries meaning, and a worthy argument.”

Neri Oxman, Architect

I believe that you risk copying yourself when you follow a certain style. 

Lora Lamm, Graphic Designer

“If an artist has a certain power of being heard and voicing something important, it’s right to do it.”

Shirin Neshat, Artist

“I find that when people say they want to keep it ‘clean,’ more often than not they’re just a little afraid of taking a chance.”

Gail Anderson, Typographer

“The main thing in making art often is letting go of your expectation and your idea.”

Agnes Martin, Artist

“Design is art that people use.”

Ellen Lupton, Graphic Designer

“Good ideas come from everywhere. It’s more important to recognize a good idea than to author it.”

Jeanne Gang, Architect