The Designer Says: The Collected Quips and Wisdom of Famous Graphic Designers
“Everything hangs on something else.”
By Maria Popova
On the heels of last year’s tiny gem The Architect Says comes The Designer Says: Quotes, Quips, and Words of Wisdom (public library) — a charming, similarly-spirited compendium of more than one hundred beautifully typeset remarks by some of today’s and yesteryear’s most celebrated graphic design minds, including favorites like Saul Bass, Charles Eames, Debbie Millman, Milton Glaser, Louise Fili, Paula Scher, and Maira Kalman.
I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.
Everything hangs on something else.
My dream is to have people working on useless projects. These have the germ of new concepts.
Seymour Chwast shares a valuable distinction:
I read once about the concepts of the lateral idea and the vertical idea. If you dig a hole and it’s in the wrong place, digging it deeper isn’t going to help. The lateral idea is when you skip over and dig someplace else.
It is important to use your hands. This is what distinguishes you from a cow or a computer operator.
A graphic designer usually makes hundreds of small drawings and then picks one of them.
Information visualization godfather Edward Tufte reminds us of the weight of function over form, integrity over vanity:
If your words aren’t truthful, the finest optically letter-spaced typography won’t help.
Erik Spiekermann echoes Dr. Seuss’s advice to children:
I’d sooner do the same on Monday or Wednesday as I do on a Saturday or Sunday. I don’t divide my life between labor and pleasure.
Published May 7, 2013