Whether you are a designer, business owner, writer, scientist, or tax advisor: It is likely your job involves at least some tasks that require creativity. And even if your work leaves no space for creativity, your private life surely does: The way you dress, make your food or interact with loved ones can be a means of creative expression. As Bukowski once said: “Even opening a can of tin can be an art”. It all depends on how you do it.
Most of us also know what it means to feel run down, uninspired or burnt out: It happens to the best of us. But don’t worry: We’ve assembled our favourite inspirational quotes from great artists, designers and innovators to help you get you motivated, inspired and ready to create.
10 quotes to get your creative juices flowing
1. Leonardo DaVinci
It may be surprising to hear such a statement from Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519). After all, this Renaissance man is one of the most famous polymaths of all time.
But despite his impressive scale of knowledge and skill in areas spanning art, anatomy, science, architecture, and many other subjects, he understood that keeping things simple is the hardest and most powerful thing of all.
2. Paul Rand
Paul Rand (1914-1996) is one of the most famous graphic designers of all time. He understood the true power of design: We are constantly surrounded and affected by it. From the buildings around us to our coffee mug: Everything is designed. Even trees are programmed to grow a certain way.
Realizing the true power of design can help us understand the powerful subconscious effect of every design choice we make. Great power comes with great responsibility. While an awareness of the power we hold may freeze us up instead of freeing our creativity, it is important to also keep it playful…
3. Eddie Martinez
Eddie Martinez is part of the legendary dance company “Tanztheater Wuppertal”. His quote highlights the importance of curiosity as a driving force in reaching excellence. What is true for dance is definitely true for design.
4. Maya Angelou
We live in a fast-paced world. The writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou knew what is truly important.
5. Jessica Walsh
Jessica Walsh is one of the most successful graphic designers in New York. It takes balls to innovate. Dare to be different and trust your instincts…no more words needed.
6. Charles Bukowski
The poet Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) knew what it’s about…but he wasn’t the only artist to highlight the importance of food…
7. John Cage
The musician John Cage (1912-1992) knew that anything can be a source of inspiration. If you are experiencing a creative block there is a simply way out:
Spend time doing or learning something that has nothing to do with your creative occupation. The most unexpected source is most likely to end up inspiring you in surprising ways…
8. Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs (1955-2011) and his company Apple have transformed the contemporary world in multiple ways. He was famous for his obsession with every detail of his process as he strived for simplicity, functionality, and excellence.
And yet he also knew the importance of experiencing life to its fullest. So don’t forget to leave the office or studio: An unlived life leads to boring design. Anything you experience, whether good or bad, can be used as creative fuel.
9. Scott Adams
Many artists including the graphic designer Paula Sher know the importance of making mistakes and allowing yourself to fail. She famously said that “It’s through your mistakes that you actually grow… You have to get bad in order to get good”.
The contemporary cartoonist Scott Adams took this idea further:
You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.
10. Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift (1667- 1745), an enlightenment writer famous for “Guilliver’s travels”, is credited with having invented the name “Vanessa”. How’s that for innovation?
10 Great Resources to Inspire your Creativity
If you want to know more about the people who said these inspiring words, we recommend for you to check out these inspirational resources…
1. “Leonardo DaVinci” by Walter Isaakson.
The New York Times called Walter Isaacson’s besteller “a study in creativity: how to define it, how to achieve it”.
2. Paul Rand’s “Thoughts on Design”:
This book, written by Paul Rand, is less than 100 pages long and has become a must in the library of every designer.
3. Wim Wender’s dancefilm “Pina”
This film about the dance legend Pina Bausch is a masterpiece. Its visual poetry is surely to inspire any designer. You can watch it on Amazon Prime or get the DVD.
4. Maya Angelou’s autobiography “I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing”
The autobiography of this civil rights leader and poet is a life-affirming work that shows us how even the worst of circumstances can give rise to immense beauty and strength.
5. “Beauty” by Sagmeister&Walsh
This is more than a book: It is a manifesto and a work of art.
This book was created by Jessica Walsh in collaboration with the enfant-terrible of the design world Stefan Sagmeister. In this stunningly designed volume, the rebellious design-duo goes in search for what seems to have gone out of fashion in the design and art world…this book has set itself no smaller task than the rehabilitation of beauty.
6. Bukowski’s “Post Office”
While this is not a book about design, this seminal work by one of the world’s most famous writers is sure to entertain and inspire…
7. “Silence” by John Cage
John Cage’s work and writing illustrate how much is already there- even in emptiness and silence. No matter whether you are a musician, designer, artist, or none of the above: If you are looking for inspiration you will find it here.
8. Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs”
This is the second Walter Isaacson biography on our list. And with good reason: This bestselling book is a must-read for anyone interested in innovation and design.
9. “Make it bigger” by Paula Sher
This volume, written and illustrated by graphic-design titan Paula Sher, is another must-have for any designer, artist, or design-lover.
10. Jonathan Swift’s Essential Writings
This collection of classical works (including “Gulliver’s Travels” ) can teach us a thing or two about satire.