14 Insightful Quotes about Product Design
Written By: Cat McClintock

Even those of us who love our jobs could use a little inspiration every now and then. These 14 brilliant quotes about product design and designers will help you remember what is important about what you do.

On Why Design Matters

"Design is concerned with how things work, how they are controlled, and the nature of the interaction between people and technology. When done well, the results are brilliant, pleasurable products.” Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things

 “Design is a fundamental human activity, relevant and useful to everyone. Anything humans create—be it product, communication or system—is a result of the process of making inspiration real. ” Maggie Macnab, Design by Nature: Using Universal Forms and Principles in Design

“A chair is the first thing you need when you don’t really need anything, and is therefore a peculiarly compelling symbol of civilization. For it is civilization, not survival, that requires design.” Ralph Caplan, design consultant

“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.” Charles Eames, furniture designer

“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.” Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover

On Solving Design Problems

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.” E. F. Schumacher, economist

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, aviator and poet

“Labor at your work until people cannot imagine what you have designed existing any other way.” Alan Moore, Do Design: Why Beauty Is Key to Everything

“So that is the design process or the creative process. Start with a problem, forget the problem, the problem reveals itself or the solution reveals itself and then you reevaluate it. This is what you are doing all the time. ” Paul Rand, art director

“Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems.”  Scott Adams, author

On the Value of Designers

“I am enthusiastic over humanity’s extraordinary and sometimes very timely ingenuity. If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.” R. Buckminster Fuller, architect and designer

“One man’s ‘magic’ is another man’s engineering. ‘Supernatural’ is a null word.” Robert A. Heinlein, author

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Henry Ford

“We tend to hear much more about the splendors returned than the ships that brought them or the shipwrights. It has always been that way. Even those history books enamored of the voyages of Christopher Columbus do not tell much about the builders of the Nina the Pinta and the Santa Maria or about the principle of the caravel. These spacecraft, their designers, builders, navigators, and controllers are examples of what science and engineering set free for well-defined peaceful purposes can accomplish. Those scientists and engineers should be role models for an America seeking excellence and international competitiveness. They should be on our stamps.” Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

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About the Author Cat McClintock

Cat McClintock edits the Creo and Mathcad blogs for PTC.  She has been a writer and editor for 15+ years,  working for CAD, PDM, ERP, and CRM software companies. Prior to that, she edited science journals for an academic publisher and aligned optical assemblies for a medical device manufacturer. She holds degrees in Technical Journalism, Classics, and Electro-Optics. She loves talking to PTC customers and learning about the interesting work they're doing and the innovative ways they use the software.