Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design

I learned about Dieter Rams via my frequent reading about Apple design methodology. I love his “ten principles for good design”. I first started studying Dieter when I learned about a book called “Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams” and ordered it. While I was waiting for it to arrive I did some web reading on Dieter and realized that I had actually seen him before as one of the first interview subjects in Gary Hustwit‘s “Objectified” (a 2009 documentary on industrial design).

Here are Dieter’s ten principles.

  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design makes a product useful
  • Good design is aesthetic
  • Good design makes a product understandable
  • Good design is unobtrusive
  • Good design is long-lasting
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  • Good design is environmentally friendly
  • Good design is as little as possible

I enjoyed these principles so much that I even made it into desktop wallpaper for my computers:

Sometimes when I am feeling creatively stifled I reveal my computer desktop and look at the ten principles for inspiration.

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2 Responses to Dieter Rams’ ten principles for good design

  1. Josh Staiger says:

    You might like a book I recently picked up called Universal Principles of Design:

  2. Bill Higgins says:

    Thanks Josh, you’re right I do like that book 🙂 Grady Booch recommended it a few years back and it’s one of the ten or so books that sits within arms reach in my office. It’s beautiful and also good for a bit of inspiration.

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