The Most Influential Designers of All Time

These are the most influential designers you need to know.

most influential designer david adjaye

Image via Getty/Alexander Tamargo

most influential designer david adjaye

From the logos that litter our social media feeds to the buildings we pass by every day on our way to work, design infiltrates our lives, even when we don’t realize it. And when we do start to pay attention, it’s impossible not to wonder who’s behind the shapes, colors, textures and structures of the brands, media, and objects that surround us in our daily lives.

Sometimes we don’t even realize the ubiquity of design until something changes, like when Google releases a new Google Doodle—suddenly we’re aware that the logo we see every time we open our Chrome browsers is different. Other times, design smacks us in the face, like when a new monumental building fills up the skyline. If you’ve ever looked at architectural renderings of the future, you can imagine how dizzying these design changes can be. Take a handful of proposals for upcoming projects — the world might look a whole lot different in the future.

While architecture may be the most noticeable form of design, graphic designers have a big impact on our lives as well. Many of the most prominent ones today you can even find on Twitter. And of the ones that are no longer alive, their influence still lives on in everything from the New York subway map to the Coca-Cola label.

Besides graphic and architecture, which may be on two different ends of the design spectrum, our list also covers people who are behind some of the most useful objects ever invented, from the cars we drive to the chairs we sit on. And don’t think we left out Apple’s head designer, Jonathan Ive, either. The fact that there’s an impeccably constructed object in almost everyone’s purse or pocket speaks to how impactful design can be. Check out our list of the most influential designers of all time.


Antoni Gaudi

30 influential designers antoni gaudi

Saul Bass

30 influential designers saul bass

James Dyson

30 influential designers james dyson

Marcel Breuer

30 influential designers marcel breuer

Stefan Sagmeister

30 influential designers stefan sagmeister

Massimo Vignelli

30 influential designers massimo vignelli

Kenichiro Ashida

30 influential designers kenchiro ashida

Rem Koolhaas

30 influential designers rem koolhaas

Zaha Hadid

30 influential designers zaha hadid

Charles and Ray Eames

30 influential designers charles ray eames

Paul Rand

30 influential designers paul rand

Richard Buckminster Fuller

30 influential designers buckminster fuller

Frank Gehry

30 influential designers frank gehry

Philippe Starck

30 influential designers phillippe starck

Frank Lloyd Wright

30 influential designers frank lloyd wright

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

30 influential designers ludwig mies der rohe

Aleksandr Rodchenko

30 influential designers aleksandr rodchenko

Dieter Rams

30 influential designers dieter rams

Milton Glaser

30 influential designers milton glaser

Le Corbusier

30 influential designers le corbusier

Walter Gropius

30 influential designers walter gropius

Sir Jonathan Ive

30 influential designers sir john ive

Louis Kahn

most influential designer louis kahn

David Adjaye

most influential designer david adjaye

Thomas Heatherwick

most influential designer thomas heatherwick

Daniel Libeskind

most influential designer daniel libeskind

Bjarke Ingels

most influential designer bjarke ingels

Elizabeth Scofidio

most influential designer elizabeth scofidio

Tadao Ando

most influential designer tadao ando

Craig Edward Dykers and Kjetil Trædal Thorsen

most influential designer dykers thorsen

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