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Dieter Rams
Product designer
Born in 1932,
Outside Frankfurt
Studied architecture (1 yr)
Left to study Woodwork
My grandfather was a carpenter, I went to visit him often and I watched how he
produced his forms which were always very linked to his technique (by hand),
they were simple, but very beautiful, that is what I wanted to do, I didnt know about
being a designer, but I knew I wanted to make things.
There was a movement at this time to make things in another way, yes? To forget
the war and all these terrible things so, especially in Germany, we had to build
cities in another way, so it was a movement to make things better.
Joined 1955 - Aged 23
But then I met the brothers Braun and as I saw that what they had in mind was
to change their whole production along the lines of the famous school
in Ulm, the Bauhaus successor. So I changed my mind and became more
concentrated on design. Without these famous entrepreneurs, the brothers
Braun, I never would have become a designer
25 he started a side project to design furniture projects for 'otto zapf'
29 Promoted to head of the product design division at braun.
36 he became the design and production manager at braun
46 he won the siad medal by the society of industrial artists and designers,
49 he taught at the 'hochschule fuer bildene kuenste' in hamburg.
52 he developed his 'universal shelving system 606' for vitsue
56 he became executive director of braun, until 1997.
64 he won the 'world design medal' by the industrial designer society of america.
I didnt do anything by myself, the entrepreneurs personality, and all of
others involved in the development, the connections with university were
certainly important. I was lucky that I began at the right moment and that
I stopped also at the right moment.
When the design and product research division was created at braun it
was 1956,
I was able to build a team with other young designers, there were at least 16 of
Weniger, aber besser
Less, but better
10 Principles of
good design
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.
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.
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.
Good design helps us to
understand a product
It clarifies the products structure. Better still, it can
make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.
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 users self-
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.
Good design is long lasting
It avoids being fashionable and therefore never
appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it
lasts many years even in todays throwaway
Good design is consequent
to the last detail
Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care
and accuracy in the design process show respect
towards the consumer.
Good design is concerned
with the environment
Design 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
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.