Dieter Rams: the original Steve Jobs

Dieter Rams: the most influential industrial designer of the 20th century.
Braun ET 66 calculator (1987) versus Apple iPhone 4S (2011)



Braun LE1 Electrostatic Speaker (1959) versus Apple's iMac (2011)


Things which are different in order simply to be different are seldom better, but that which is made to be better is almost always different. 

A classic minimalist Braun watch still in production today!
Dieter Rams, 1993

Back in the early 1980s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?

As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. (Sometimes they are referred as the ‘Ten commandments’.)

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.

2. 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 emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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 consumer.

8. 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 life cycle of the product.

9. 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.

10. 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.


Travel Alarm Clock Model BNC002 by Braun from NOVA68


Travel Alarm Clock Model BNC002 by Braun from NOVA68