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Good design

Back in the early 1980s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him – “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors 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.

Good design is innovative

TP 1 radio/phono combination, 1959, by Dieter Rams for BraunThe 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.

Good design makes a product useful

MPZ 21 multipress citrus juicerA 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.

Good design is aesthetic

RT 20 tischsuper radioThe 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.

Good design makes a product understandable

T 1000 world receiverIt clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.

Good design is unobtrusive

Cylindric T 2 lighterProducts 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.

Good design is honest

L 450 flat loudspeakerIt 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.

Good design is long-lasting

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

Good design is thorough down to the last detail

ET 66 calculatorNothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.

Good design is environmentally-friendly

606 Universal Shelving SystemDesign makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Good design is as little design as possible

L 2 speakerLess, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.

Please share these principles accurately and fairly.

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