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Less is More: Dieter Rams

January 11, 2010

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.

I must to confess to not generally being a big fan of manifestos. Of course there’s nothing wrong with having principles, or aspiration, but
I have this impression that manifestos tend to be limit creativity rather than promote it, and usually lead the way to contradiction and hypocrisy. Still, Dieter Rams’ 10 principles for good design (above) proved to be a very sound basis for a career spanning over 40 years at German home appliance manufacturer Braun. The current exhibition of Rams’ work at the Design Museum features many of the products produced by Braun under Rams’ tenure, which helped to make his name synonymous with the idea of functional, timeless, and beautiful design. Although well worth a visit for Rams’ work alone, check out the impressive and thoughful exhibition graphics by London design studio Bibliotheque, which reproduces elements from the products, at large scale in giant wall panels. These images are from the Monograph supplement featured in the current issue of Creative Review.

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