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Words Of Wisdom From 10 Design Masters

May they inspire you to greatness in 2016.

  • <p>"We need to deal with our resources differently, in terms of how we waste things. We have to move away from the throwaway habit. Things can, and must, last longer. They must be designed so that they can be reused. We need to take more care of our environment. That means not only our personal environment but also our cities and our resources. That is the future of design, to take more care of these basic elements. Otherwise I’m not sure what the future of our planet will be."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3043815/dieter-rams-if-i-could-do-it-again-i-would-not-want-to-be-a-designer" target="_self">Rams on reassessing his role as a designer</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"The life of a designer is a life of fight, to fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, visual disease is what we have all around, and what we try to do is to cure it somehow with design."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044133/a-rare-interview-with-graphic-design-legend-massimo-vignelli" target="_self">Vignelli on the role of a graphic designer</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"We are not really quite capable of conceptualizing cities in a particularly exciting way. I think that currently, particularly since we have entrusted in the market economy so much power to decide how cities come out."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3044008/rem-koolhaas-theres-been-very-little-rethinking-of-what-cities-can-be" target="_self">Koolhaas on the stagnation of visionary urban design</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"[How we live today] has to do with the blurring relationship between formal and informal life. We blur a lot more now. Sometimes we want things to be formal but we want them to be aesthetically casual, which is a complete contradiction. It's blurring our public and private lives. We want workspaces that are also like play spaces or leisure spaces. We don't want them just to be formal, functional workspaces. These things are all contributing to a very different paradigm about how we want the things around us to perform. The beauty of design is it's always evolving and shifting."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3047557/how-architect-david-adjaye-designs-at-the-human-scale" target="_self">Adjaye on designing at the human scale</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"By far the most fruitful strategy to stay productive I know of is to go on sabbatical every seven years, to spend a year working on things that there never seems to be enough time for during the regular client oriented years."<strong><a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3048065/32-productivity-tips-from-the-worlds-top-designers" target="_self">—Sagmeister on productivity secrets</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"Sustainability doesn’t have to be some kind of a compromise—it can even be the element that drives the aesthetics."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3041276/slicker-city/bjarke-ingels-on-the-future-of-architecture" target="_self">Ingels on the future of architecture</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"We are coming to the end of an era where pragmatics were governing the organization and hierarchies of public space."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3048184/slicker-city/artist-olafur-eliasson-on-how-urban-design-impacts-our-psyche" target="_self">Eliasson on how urban design affects our psyche</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"When I’m sitting in a taxicab in traffic, or on my way to the airport, or waiting to get on a plane, or trapped in some other boring situation, that’s when I get the best ideas, because I’ve got nothing else interfering with it. I didn’t realize until I listened to [an NPR] broadcast how important boredom is to me"<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3043997/graphic-designer-paula-scher-i-figured-out-every-identity-ive-ever-done-in-a-taxicab" target="_self">Scher on her secret to staying creative</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"When we design, we're always on the side of the customer. We want to have very enjoyable, pleasing products that don't frustrate you but also give you some aspiration and some freedom."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3049563/design-deconstructed-sam-hecht-on-the-unassuming-beauty-and-smartness-of-a-soccer-goal" target="_self">Hecht on what constitutes a good product</a></strong></p>
  • <p>"We're sort of in an age now where design was previously a mysterious profession. Industrial design, interface design, information design, and branding is codified, and becomes a curriculum that can be understood and accessed by the public. But what we still have very little knowledge about is the intuitive part of design—the artistic factor that makes it an excellent design."<strong>—<a href="http://www.fastcodesign.com/3050509/design-deconstructed-pentagrams-natasha-jen-on-the-ephemeral-brilliance-of-perfume" target="_self">Jen on the intangible elements of design</a></strong></p>
  • 01 /10 | Dieter Rams

    "We need to deal with our resources differently, in terms of how we waste things. We have to move away from the throwaway habit. Things can, and must, last longer. They must be designed so that they can be reused. We need to take more care of our environment. That means not only our personal environment but also our cities and our resources. That is the future of design, to take more care of these basic elements. Otherwise I’m not sure what the future of our planet will be."Rams on reassessing his role as a designer

  • 02 /10 | Massimo Vignelli

    "The life of a designer is a life of fight, to fight against the ugliness. Just like a doctor fights against disease. For us, visual disease is what we have all around, and what we try to do is to cure it somehow with design."Vignelli on the role of a graphic designer

  • 03 /10 | Rem Koolhaas

    "We are not really quite capable of conceptualizing cities in a particularly exciting way. I think that currently, particularly since we have entrusted in the market economy so much power to decide how cities come out."Koolhaas on the stagnation of visionary urban design

  • 04 /10 | David Adjaye

    "[How we live today] has to do with the blurring relationship between formal and informal life. We blur a lot more now. Sometimes we want things to be formal but we want them to be aesthetically casual, which is a complete contradiction. It's blurring our public and private lives. We want workspaces that are also like play spaces or leisure spaces. We don't want them just to be formal, functional workspaces. These things are all contributing to a very different paradigm about how we want the things around us to perform. The beauty of design is it's always evolving and shifting."Adjaye on designing at the human scale

  • 05 /10 | Stefan Sagmeister

    "By far the most fruitful strategy to stay productive I know of is to go on sabbatical every seven years, to spend a year working on things that there never seems to be enough time for during the regular client oriented years."—Sagmeister on productivity secrets

  • 06 /10 | Bjarke Ingels

    "Sustainability doesn’t have to be some kind of a compromise—it can even be the element that drives the aesthetics."Ingels on the future of architecture

  • 07 /10 | Olafur Eliasson

    "We are coming to the end of an era where pragmatics were governing the organization and hierarchies of public space."Eliasson on how urban design affects our psyche

  • 08 /10 | Paula Scher

    "When I’m sitting in a taxicab in traffic, or on my way to the airport, or waiting to get on a plane, or trapped in some other boring situation, that’s when I get the best ideas, because I’ve got nothing else interfering with it. I didn’t realize until I listened to [an NPR] broadcast how important boredom is to me"Scher on her secret to staying creative

  • 09 /10 | Sam Hecht

    "When we design, we're always on the side of the customer. We want to have very enjoyable, pleasing products that don't frustrate you but also give you some aspiration and some freedom."Hecht on what constitutes a good product

  • 10 /10 | Natasha Jen

    "We're sort of in an age now where design was previously a mysterious profession. Industrial design, interface design, information design, and branding is codified, and becomes a curriculum that can be understood and accessed by the public. But what we still have very little knowledge about is the intuitive part of design—the artistic factor that makes it an excellent design."Jen on the intangible elements of design

New year, new vision? As you mull over your plans for 2016, let these pearls of wisdom from 10 design masters serve as inspiration. Culled from interviews we published in 2015, they include architect David Adjaye on the changing paradigms of public and private life and how that's impacting design; Pentagram partner Paula Scher on boredom being the great secret to creativity; and, in a republished interview with filmmaker Gary Hustwit, late graphic design god Massimo Vignelli passionately relaying why designers should be on the front line in a war against ugliness. Click through our slide show above for more.

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Slideshow Credits: 01 / Abisag Tüllmann; 03 / Courtesy of Gary Hustwit; 04 / courtesy Knoll; 05 / JOHN MADERE; 06 / Bjarke Ingels Group; 07 / Søren Svendsen; 08 / Paula Scher/Pentagram; 09 / hareluya via Shutterstock; 10 / ra2studio via Shutterstock;

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