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Breakdown of Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design

3 Mins read

Dieter Rams was a German industrial designer who is considered one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. He is best known for his work at Braun, where he designed a wide range of products, including radios, televisions, and appliances. Rams’ designs are characterized by their simplicity, functionality, and timelessness.

In 1955, Rams wrote down his 10 Principles of Good Design. These principles have been widely adopted by designers and are still considered to be relevant today. The principles are:

  1. Good design is innovative.
  2. Good design makes a product useful
  3. Good design is aesthetic
  4. Good design makes a product understandable.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive.
  6. Good design is honest
  7. Good design is long-lasting
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly
  10. Good design is as little as possible

Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design are a valuable guide for designers who want to create products that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. They are also a reminder that good design is more than just about making things look good. It is also about making things that are useful, sustainable, and accessible to everyone.

Now, let’s break down the principles.

Good design is innovative

Whether you are making a change or doing something in a new way, developing new ideas or making improvements to existing designs and working alongside new technology, all of these offer a multitude of opportunities for you to be innovative within a design.

Good design makes a product useful

It doesn’t matter how stunning a product looks if it is practically unusable as it becomes completely worthless. Products are not pieces of art to be admired. They are there to serve a purpose and solve a problem.

Good design is aesthetic

Beautiful items tend to make us feel comfortable. If a product is beautiful, you may be more inclined to use and want it. Some may argue against this point as you may have your own subjective idea of what is beautiful, and some well-designed items do prioritize utility over beauty. Regardless of your taste, you may like the things around you to be beautiful irrespective of how you define beauty.

Good design makes a product understandable

For example, handles on doors that don’t indicate if they should be pushed or pulled or taps that don’t indicate if they are hot or cold just leave the user confused. The opposite of this is an instantly understandable product that is completely self-explanatory and communicates what it’s about, what it’s for and how to use it. This saves a user from breaking the product or spending time reading through instruction manuals.

Good design is unobtrusive

An obtrusive product is an over-designed product. Products that tend to fail are those created with the designer in mind or with presumptions of who the user might be and or how they might use it. The very best products allow the user to do exactly what they want to do. These products should also help the user to complete their intended tasks effectively and happily. The design should not hinder the individual’s intuitive process.

Good design is honest

Good design doesn’t have tricks! It doesn’t pretend to be something that it isn’t, and it doesn’t try to manipulate you into buying it by making promises that can’t be kept. It should always have the user’s best interests in mind, so it shouldn’t have to try to lie to you or try to be something that it isn’t.

Good design is long-lasting

Design should always be thorough to the last detail and avoids being fashionable which means that it never appears old or antiquated.

Read also : Italian cyber research team hacks US Air Force satellite during 2023 Hack-a-Sat contest

Good design is thorough down to the last detail

A Good design should be detail-oriented and leave nothing to chance. Every single aspect of the design should be considered, and all the elements should qualify to be a part of that design. Products should be designed with care, thoroughness, and concern for the intended user.

Good design is environmentally friendly

Pollution can arise from wasted resources throughout a product’s lifespan. Design shouldn’t be wasteful and should save resources where it can, both physically and digitally.

Good design is as little as possible

Design should always be intentional. Anything that doesn’t serve a purpose for the user should be excluded. With less clutter, a design will achieve more clarity for the user.

Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Good Design are a timeless set of guidelines that can be applied to any product. These principles are not just about making things look good. When designers follow these principles, they create products that are both beautiful and useful, and that will last for generations to come.

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When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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