10 Non-Cliché Quotes for the Creative Mind

These leading creatives have shared many of their iconic works with the world, as well as a few words of wisdom. We've collected their thoughts on the creative process, beauty and all things design.

When it comes to design inspiration, there’s hardly ever a right or wrong answer. Creativity can have completely different meanings for different people. At times it can get so elusive that what got you sparking with ideas one day, loses its charm the next. In this life of endless wandering, there is no eternal spring of inspiration to rely on. Yet like a lighthouse beaming in the dark, we are sometimes able to find direction in the aura of powerful thinkers in the arts. We’ve collected 10 intriguing and thought-provoking quotes from notable individuals we look up to, from David Lynch to Issey Miyake. Not entirely straightforward, not exactly motivational – we hope these words strike a cord in your designer heart.

About the author: Spike Jonze (born 1969) is an Oscar-winning filmmaker and director. Many of his works discuss the self-loathing and inner turbulence that follow the creative process. Being John Malkovich and Adaptation are two iconic examples of such metafilms.

About the author: Influential graphic designer Saul Bass (1920-1996) created many memorable title sequences for Hollywood films, revolutionizing movie credits from a plain and informative introduction to an inherent part of the film’s storytelling. He is also the designer of many logos, among them the AT&T, United Airlines and Kleenex logos.

About the author: British artist Francis Bacon (1909-1992) is known for his grotesque and bleak style. His powerful and emotional works capture the post-war anxiety of his time in portraits of distorted characters that seem tortured and hurt, many times with their mouths wide open, mid-scream. The abstract depiction of his subjects is contrasted against flat, geometric backgrounds. Most of his works are organized into series, repeating similar subject matter in diptych or triptych formats.

About the author: The poems and short stories of German-American writer Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) mainly depict his hometown, Los Angeles. Bukowski describes alcohol-filled, crude and anti-social human interactions of his city’s poor lowlife, and centers his plots around the mundane events of the everyday.

About the author: Born in Austria (in 1962) and based in New York, acclaimed graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is well-known for his innovative use of typography – creating type with materials ranging from bananas to his own skin. Sagmeister has also designed album covers for prominent musicians including the Rolling Stones and Jay-Z, and initiated an exhibition and a film about happiness – The Happy Show and The Happy Film.

About the author: Filmmaker David Lynch (born 1946) is known for the surreal and enigmatic atmosphere he achieves on film, with its distinct aesthetics. From films Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive to television series Twin Peaks, Lynch’s creations tap into the collective subconscious with an eerie, dreamlike beauty.

About the author: Japanese animator and film director Hayao Miyazaki (born 1941) is co-founder of Studio Ghibli and director of many beloved anime films such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. His imaginative, often epic films stress the importance of our relationship with nature and warn against the possible harms of technology.

About the author: Finnish artist Tove Jansson (1914-2001) is the author and illustrator behind the Moomin book series and comic strips. The Moomin series, spanning over nine novels and three picture books, offers an idyllic and peaceful portrayal of family ties, friendships and life with nature, that is only interrupted by the Moomins’ adventurous journeys in the Nordic wilderness.

About the author: Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake (born 1938), founder of the Tokyo-based Miyake Design Studio, is known for his cutting-edge mix of new techniques with traditional materials and fabrics, creating garment construction that is almost seamless. He is also responsible for a collection of perfumes under his name and has proclaimed in the past that proceeds from his perfumes go to charity.

About the author: American art director and graphic designer Paul Rand (1914-1996) is the creative mind behind timeless logos such as those for IBM, ABC, and Westinghouse. Rand helped pave the way for a well-rounded approach to corporate identities, regarding design as an essential part of businesses. Rand’s Modernist style was based on simple geometric shapes and bold color palettes.

Text Eden Spivak

Images Dana Dushkin

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