Mies Van Der Roe said the bit about trying to be good, Paul Rand (in the video below) had this to say regarding that quote: "That sounds naiive but it's true...what it really means is, being good is damned difficult. So it's very difficult to be original, so you have to have an idea, and you don't have an idea when you have nothing to work with. When you have an idea, it's self generating..."
If you aren't familiar, Paul Rand is famous for things like the IBM logo, UPS logo, all sorts of things you see every day even still. Check out a flickr Paul Rand modern design fan page started by grain edit for more.