When the Inspiration has Gone Off and Left You — Here are 10 Inspirational Quotes to Get it Back

Pamela Robinson
5 min readOct 6, 2015


Design. It can’t be defined, because it has no parameters, no beginning, no end, and is neither concrete nor abstract. We can define elements of design — line, shape, direction, size, texture, color, value, balance, gradation, contrast, harmony, unity, and more. These are the “rules” that any artist uses in his/her creations. But there is something intangible and undefined in how that artist chooses elements and combines those elements to create something memorable and meaningful, whether that is a piece of clothing, a home, a business logo, or a website.

Designers depend upon two things — creativity and inspiration. And they all have methods by which they stimulate these two things within themselves in order to create the designs that will engage clients and the public at large. When the creativity and the inspiration dry up, however, they have to find ways to get it back. There are a variety of thing that they do:

• They study the art of others — in museums, online, and in books and magazines. Many designers do state that they can renew their inspiration through the inspired works of others.
• They wonder at nature. One designer stated that, in his mind’s eye, he “travels” above the building in which he is standing, looking down at himself. He then travels further into space to look down at the earth and then farther out until the earth is simply a speck and he simply a speck on that speck of an earth. He gains perspective as well as amazing ideas for designs.
• Other designers find inspiration in reading — reading anything. They read essays and poetry. One designer, in looking for inspiration for the design of a web-based writing service website, read research paper writing reviews on the company to get some stimulation for creative design from how others described it.

Quotes That Inspire

Often, inspiration can be found in a simple phrase from another artist — painter, writer, musician, sculptor, etc. If you are struggling to find your “muse” again, perhaps some of these quotes that inspired others can do the same for you.

“The enemy of creativity is self-doubt.” (Anonymous). And how very true this is. When we are stalled, we begin to worry that our creativity is finite and that it is now over. When this type of doubt rears itself, you should look back upon all of the magnificent designs you have created, all of the customers you have made happy, all of the praise you have received for what you have crafted. These great successes will inspire you to accomplish more and may even spark a great new idea that can be taken from those earlier successes.

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” (Anonymous). Many designers are very tied to the “rules” and, while they can create very satisfactory products for customers, they will not veer to far “out of the box.” You can experiment with the unique and unusual and take yourself further outside of the box. This will move your forward to places that others cannot go.

“I love the sounds of deadlines as they go swooshing by.” (Douglas Adams). Yes, it happens. And, often when deadlines are missed panic sets in. You cannot work under panic conditions, so adopt the attitude that they do “swoosh” by and you feel the breeze, but that they cannot defeat you.

“Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for you being here.” (Neil Gaiman). When you are fearful about breaking from the “wisdom of the designing greats,” steeped in their traditional notions, take Gaiman’s advice. After all, the word has only progressed because people have refused to live by the rules.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Design is knowing which ones to keep.” (Anonymous). Picasso once said that he thought of many of his paintings as mistakes. He wanted perfection and often felt it was not achieved. Fortunately for him, others did not see the “mistakes.” They saw new, vibrant, exciting and unique pieces of art. Don’t throw out those mistakes. Let them brew and simmer a bit. Go back to them at a future time — they may not be mistakes at all.

“Only dead fish go with the flow.” (Anonymous). Many of these inspiring quotes speak to departing from the normal and the expected. Think of yourself as that one live fish who is swimming against the stream. Yes, it is a difficult journey to swim upstream, but often it is those who do who end up accomplishing great things. Try throwing out the grids and the color palettes; experiment with abstractions without patterns and colors that your peers would never put together.

“There are no shortcuts.” (Beverly Sills). If you are looking for the easy way out, then design is not for you. Any artist’s life is comprised of long, long hours with attention to detail, so that the final product is harmonious and unified. Don’t skip that detail — it is the difference between okay and exceptional.
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” (Pablo Picasso) What a great statement. Yes, you go to design school; yes, you learn about line shape form and texture. But, what you don’t learn in design school is that all of those rules are man-made, by humans, with biases and a loyalties to the status quo. Break a few of them and make your designs “sing.”

“I don’t start with a design objective. I start with a communication objective. I feel my project is successful when it communicates what it is supposed to communicate.” (Mike Davidson). Every artist can give to viewers a full explanation of what s/he is trying to communicate. Likewise, you have to be able to do that to. If you create a design and it does not “speak” to you, then you have not created one with a communication objective. Think about what you want to say first — who is your audience? How can you “wow” them with something totally unique? He design will fall into place.

“Creativity is magical not magic.” Anonymous. There is no magic formula for designing the perfect site, logo, or anything else for that matter. But what you do design can be “magical” if is portrays your interpretation. You are the artist; your message is not portrayed with words.

So here’s a last thought. Do any of these quotes speak to you? If so, print them out (in larger font) and place them where you can see them every day. Noting truly great happens when people stand still — and design is no different. Be that inspiration to yourself and others.



Pamela Robinson

Pamela is a writer and blogger who finds inspiration in ordinary things — nature, communication and old town.