History of Design and Craftsmanship

Dieter Rams 10 Principles of Good Design

Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Design stand as a testament to his influential legacy in the field of industrial design. As the chief designer for Braun and a key figure at the renowned German design firm, Vitsœ, Rams’ principles have left an indelible mark on the way we perceive and approach design. Rooted in simplicity, functionality, and sustainability, these principles have transcended time and continue to shape the ethos of modern design, inspiring generations of designers to create products that seamlessly blend aesthetic elegance with practical utility. From the reduction of excess to championing innovative and honest materials, Rams’ principles provide a comprehensive framework that underscores the profound impact of thoughtful design on both form and function.

  1. Good Design is Innovative
    • encapsulates Dieter Rams’ belief in pushing the boundaries of creativity, functionality, and aesthetics.
  2. Good Design Makes a Product Useful
    • The principle of “Good design makes a product useful” goes beyond mere aesthetics, delving into a product’s core functionality and purpose. It encapsulates the idea that design should enhance the usability and functionality of a product, creating a seamless and efficient user experience.
  3. Good Design is Aesthetic
    • The principle that Good Design is Aesthetic highlights Rams’ commitment to creating visually pleasing products and delves into the nuanced subjectivity of aesthetics.
  4. Good Design Makes a Product Understandable
    • The principle of Good design makes a product understandable, encapsulates the essence of design’s role in enhancing the user experience, and creating products that seamlessly integrate into our lives.
  5. Good Design is unobtrusive
    • The principle of “good design is unobtrusive” offers profound insights into how the interplay between form and function can be orchestrated to create visually captivating and highly functional designs.
  6. Good Design is Honest
    • The principle of honesty emphasizes that a design should never deceive or manipulate users. Instead, it should remain true to its purpose, functionality, and aesthetics.
  7. Good Design is Long-lasting
    • “Good Design is Long Lasting.” resonates deeply with bespoke furniture makers.  In this world of craftsmanship, a profound commitment exists to create pieces that stand the test of time.
  8. Good Design is through down to the last detail.
    • The principle of “Good Design is Thorough Down to the Last Detail” underscores the importance of meticulous planning, careful consideration, and a focus on perfection within the realm of design.
  9. Good Design is Environmentally friendly.
    • Dieter Rams’ Principle that “Good Design is Environmentally Friendly.” has become an important aspect in a world that is becoming increasingly conscious of its ecological footprint.
  10. Good Design is as little design as possible.
    • Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and products are not burdened with non-essentials.

Dieter Rams’ Principles of Good Design have a remarkable simplicity and comprehensibility quality, making them accessible to designers and enthusiasts across various disciplines. However, their strength lies in their inherent breadth, which allows them to transcend rigid definitions and adapt to diverse design contexts. While each principle, from “Good Design is Innovative” to “Good Design is Long-lasting,” provides a clear direction, they do not prescribe specific solutions, granting designers the flexibility to apply them in ways that suit their unique projects. This balance between simplicity and flexibility underscores Rams’ genius, as his principles offer a guiding compass rather than a rigid map, encouraging creativity and innovation while adhering to the core values of functional and aesthetic excellence.

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.