Dieter Rams’ 10 Powerful Principles of Good Design

From interviews of accomplished entrepreneurs, inventors and designers everywhere one name appears to pop up ever so frequently as to force his existence into the eyes of our audience.

Dieter Rams is an inspiration to many a designer. His principles, creations and philosophies are powerful pieces of wisdom strongly motivating many of the greats. Arguably one of the founding fathers of modern minimalism, Rams is a German born revolutionary slowly but steadily changing the world.

Unfortunately I as many other aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs never studied the sexy arts of design, beauty and creation in college or any formal setting. I am woefully inept at aesthetic excellence.

As the Monday morning quarterback I am all too able to see flaws but fully unable to achieve perfect pocket passes.

This is a challenge for aspiring creatives, especially in a design oriented culture like Kickstarter.

Let’s look at some of Dieter Rams’ powerful principles of design. Overnight our excellence in aesthetics may not flourish but over time respecting these rules of design shall slowly but surely makes us all a tad bit better….maybe?

Dieter Rams’ 10 Powerful Principles of Good Design

Good Design is Innovative.

I once had a wise old professor proclaim that “creation for the sake of creation is just mental masturbation.”

Such is the story here. Purpose is the sole factor focus of innovation.

“If it is not worth doing, it is not worth doing well.” -Proverb

Can a more powerful or frightening philosophy exist? This cuts to the heart of what it means to be an inventor. Either you are changing the world or adding to the noise.

With overpopulated cities, rapidly rising dumps and dreadful amounts of pollution perhaps you ought consider the culmination of your creation.

3D Printer

Are you part of the problem or a simple new solution?

Good Design Makes a Product Useful.

There is a profound difference between aesthetic beauty and functional freedom.

Form and function must go hand in hand.

“I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful.” -Oscar Wilde

If you can’t use it, you might as well lose it. Art of course is the exception but when successfully designed a product’s creation can be both immensely beautiful and beautiful useful.

Camera System

Is your invention a strong gymnast or flimsy fashion model?

Good Design is Aesthetic.

Humans are highly visual creatures. Aesthetics, beauty and perfection push ever more the race of innovation in our journey towards elevated elegance.

Minimalist Loft

This visual pleasure pushes products and creations up in the eyes of consumers and makes items alluringly excellent. Beauties such as these permeate everyday life and add happiness and health to all around them.

“Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”-Paul Rand

Art amazes. Does your product awe others?

Good Design Makes a Product Understandable.

Confusion and chaos revolt against design and destroy the meaning of masterpiece.

Crafting creations must be done to simplify.

Imagine Apple, the innovators of amazing.

Simple. Easy to use. Elegant.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Such is the strategy of success. Intuitiveness is a powerful force in product creation only attained through extreme work and excessive testing.

This determines the ease of use and adoption rate of products among others interested in exploring?

Can others comprehend?

Good Design is Unobtrusive.

Routines rule us.

We are creatures of habit, highly dependent on our schedules, muscle memory and fixed focuses for how we function.

Creations should not violate these inner laws of humanity but instead empower us to act as we wish.

“Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” Frederick Chopin

Products must fit the lives of their user.

Does your invention empower others or rebel against their routines?

Good Design is Honest.

The beauty of products is in the eyes of all.

Unlike people able to hide emotion, intention and lies beneath the surface items are idealized to be true reflections of themselves. Lacking a hidden agenda creates trust.

People understand what the item allows and work within those constraints.

This is powerfully important in the world of design.

Honesty allows for happier, healthier experiences.

“No legacy is so rich as honesty.” -William Shakespeare

Are your ideas meeting expectations?

Good Design is Long Lasting.

Quality is king.

People prize that which they love. These creative creations which endure hardships and hard times hold powerful places in our hearts.

This is the allure of longevity. The bond built between user and used.

Here is excellence.

Bare with me on this journey down memory lane. As a young boy in second grade I distinctly remember one experience above all else. In wishing to look cool and carry my supplies in style I bought an awesome JanSport backpack for school. Fifteen years, thousands of miles and an amazing European adventure later I still love and cherish that very same pack. My bag becomes an inseparable part of me along the many trails of life.

Trust and commitment forged over time.

This is the goal, long lasting love.

“If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.” -Will Rogers

Can you create something worth loving?

Good Design is Thorough Down to the Last Detail.

The devil is in the details.

We know and forget this frequently phrased philosophy more often than any can conceive.

But so true it is. True perfection permeates extreme planning.

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” -Aristotle

Short of superhuman efforts nothing amounts to much in the field of design. It takes enormous, painstaking attention to detail to create truly luxury and quality.

Amazing design is no different.

Anal retentive excellence is necessary.

Good Design is Environmentally Friendly.

One core tenant of minimalism which most readily appeals to me is it’s emphasize upon sustainability.

In our era of consumer crap and mass market mundane this is invigorating.

Our planet and species is on the ropes. Are you helping or hurting the cause?

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.” Henry David Thoreau

Quality, longevity and durability are dreadfully effective in strengthening sustainability. Less clutter. Less destruction.

But even creating ageable ideas is not enough.

Bamboo Bike

Consider the impact of invention. Designing with a thought to lifecycle saves much pollution perpetrated by lesser designers. These considerations enable products to push boundaries without poisonously powerful consequences.

What happens next?

Good Design is as Little Design as Possible.

What is your minimum viable product?

Stripping away the bells and whistles works wonders on creating a simple, yet elegant invention and is the ideal influence of minimalism.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Disturbing distractions and excessive excess are the direction society strives and yet these force us further from our roots of happiness and health

Rather than add unwanted features make excellent what already is there.

Minimal Desk

Is it vital?

Hosted by
Roy Morejon

Roy Morejon is the President of Enventys Partners, a leading product development, crowdfunding and ecommerce marketing agency in Charlotte, North Carolina, in charge of digital marketing strategy, client services, and agency growth.

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