Dieter Rams is one of the most influential designers of the past century. Chances are you’ve used a product Rams designed. Maybe an electric shaver, a calculator, or a record player. If not, you can thank him indirectly. Apple’s longtime head of design, Jony Ive, cites him as a seminal influence.
Rams was Braun’s chief of design from 1961-1997, and his maxim was “Weniger, aber besser” (“Less, but Better”).
Here are his 10 principles for good design:
- is innovative.
- makes a product useful.
- is aesthetic.
- makes a product understandable.
- is unobtrusive.
- is honest.
- is long-lasting.
- is thorough down to the last detail.
- is environmentally friendly.
- is as little design as possible.
Here is how those principles play out in practice:
But if you think about it very long, the principles are really principles for living well. With just slight modifications, they read:
The good life is:
- thorough down to the last detail.
- environmentally friendly.
It makes sense when you start to look around. There’s a movement underway. People are living more fully more simply. Weniger is indeed besser.