10 Good design principles defined by legendary industrial designer Dieter Rams

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10 Good design principles defined by legendary industrial designer Dieter Rams

“Is my design good design?”

When the famous German industrial designer Dieter Rams, the influential Braun consumer products and Vitsœ pioneer, posed this question in the 70s, he cemented a mindset that industrial designers today still follow. A mindset with its foundation in sustainability and not settling for anything in design that doesn’t add value.

Based on his famous question, Rams penned his equally well-known 10 good design principles. These guidelines are the perfect rule book for any designer who wants to measure their designs against excellence. If you haven’t yet discovered these bold statements, have a look below at the descriptions as defined on Vitseo.com – and what it means to us today as industrial designers.

  1. Good design is innovative

The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

The bottom-line

Never get stuck on a good idea you had five years ago or more. Ask yourself, how can I improve? How can I innovate? And how can I change the game?

  1. Good design makes a product useful

A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

The bottom-line

Industrial design needs purpose. No design can succeed if it doesn’t add value or fulfil what it is meant to do.

  1. Good design is aesthetic

The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

The bottom-line

A design must look as good as it works. Having a functional product without any visual appeal means you designed an empty shell that truly cannot be enjoyed to the full. So keep that visual appeal in mind.

  1. Good design makes a product understandable

It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.

The bottom-line

A great design will be easy to comprehend – it doesn’t need to be “figured out” or have a long list of instructions.

  1. Good design is unobtrusive

Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

The bottom-line

Good designs aren’t garish. They meld in seamlessly with their surroundings, complementing and harmonizing at the same time.

  1. Good design is honest

It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

The bottom-line

No consumer likes smoke and mirrors. They want the real deal, not empty promises or a product that will under-deliver. And if you stick to honest design, you are sure to win more business based on your ethics.

  1. Good design is long-lasting

It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

The bottom-line

A timeless classic can stand the test of time – just think of the Coca Cola bottle as an example that innovated, but still retained its core personality and design that has last decades.

  1. Good design is thorough down to the last detail

Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.

The bottom-line

In good industrial design, no valuable steps are skipped or rushed through to get to an end result. It gives consumers what they want: excellent designs that are designed with precision.

  1. Good design is environmentally-friendly

Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

The bottom-line

Being eco-friendly is, now more than ever, top of mind for designers. We can no longer allow waste or harmful materials to slip through the cracks.

  1. Good design is as little design as possible

Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.

Back to purity, back to simplicity.

The bottom-line

Good design doesn’t need bells and whistles to be good. When one great design will do, it doesn’t need extra add-ons to make it more attractive. In the end, good design speaks for itself.

At Moss&Schmidt, we are dedicated to these good design principles. Contact us today if you would like to find out more about our design processes.

Source: https://www.vitsoe.com/us/about/good-design

Photo by René Spitz