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Dieter Rams – 10 Design Principles

Natalie Ediger, October 25, 2016· Digital Learning

Dieter Rams

Born on 20 May 1932 in Wiesbaden, he soon made a name for himself in the field of industrial design.
In the course of half a century he has developed more than 500 products – from shavers to hifi devices to furniture – everything you can imagine is included. Rams had such an impact that his designs still shape the appearance of many products today.

Throughout his career, he has established these 10 principles for good design.

“Good design is innovative.”

Technological development in design ensures that new opportunities for innovation are created all the time. However, innovation should never be used as an arbitrary novelty. It serves the function of the product, which can thus make significant progress.

“Good design makes a product useful”

The usability must be optimized. Finally, a product is purchased to be used.

“Good design is aesthetic”

The aesthetics and thus also the attraction form a central aspect of the product.
It is difficult to deal with a confusing product day after day. This literally robs you of your patience … and ultimately annoys you.

“Good design makes a product understandable, it increases its self-explanatory quality”

Good design eliminates the need to read a manual. In the best case, the design speaks to the user and is self-explanatory.

“Good design is unobtrusive”

Products that serve a purpose are neither works of art nor decoration. They are tools. Therefore, they should be designed neutrally and not dominate their environment – but rather be dominated.

“Good design is honest”

Good design doesn’t try to talk things nice. It stands for what it really is and what it can do.

“Good design is durable”

Good design is timeless and has nothing to do with “fashion”. This distinguishes well-designed products from disposable products for a limited period of time. Such short-lived objects have lost nothing in today’s world anyway.

“Good design is consistent down to the last detail”

Out of respect for the product and its functions, but also for its user, every detail should be thoroughly thought through.

“Good design is environmentally friendly”

Design must and can make its contribution to preserving the environment and conserving resources. Not only the physical aspect is meant, but also the “visual pollution” of the environment.

“Good design is as little design as possible”

Or: “Back to the original, to the simple!”

At Cleverclip we value good design. And that’s why we have integrated many of Dieter Rams’ design principles into our processes.

Our explanatory videos are designed to bring content closer to people. That’s why they have to be designed to be useful on their own. We are constantly trying to improve the communication of content, with user testing and iterative feedback rounds.

The aesthetics of a clip always comes at the end. It is important and should be pleasant and interesting, but must never distract from the actual topic. It should rather support this. Good design is never an end in itself.

We pay attention to details during the conception as well as during the realization of videos. For each area we have specialists who question their part. The copywriter takes care of the structure of the content, the visual artist of the composition of the picture, the graphic designer of the colour palette and the project manager of the costs and time.

Through all these iterations and the examination of the design, we manage to produce a product that works A:, i.e. explains the content, which B: is aesthetic and therefore motivated to look at and at the same time pleasant to look at. And which C: is timeless due to the appearance and use of the right content.

When dealing with customers, it is important to us to always communicate clearly. We are honest about it. We prefer to refrain from accepting an order if we know that we cannot implement it correctly and to the customer’s complete satisfaction. If we can’t do the job perfectly, then we won’t do it at all.

Of course Cleverclip is in a constant state of change. It’s quite a challenge to apply Dieter Rams’ design principles to the various aspects of our daily work. That’s why we question our processes day after day – always with the goal of optimizing our company’s design in mind.

Thank you very much, Mr. Rams, for your valuable insights!