Dieter Rams’ 10 commandments for good design

Just recently re-discovered this through a facebook posting by a former frogdesign colleague…it is quite eloquent, profoundly succinct, a true personification of Dieter Rams‘ severely austere ethos as a designer–pure functionalism and anti-style, anti-waste, the sacredness of the object and its utility, nothing more or less. Indeed he once articulated his design approach as “Less, but better”. A valuable set of ideals to aspire towards in our work both digital or physical, no question.

1. Good design is innovative
2. Good design makes a product useful
3. Good design is aesthetic
4. Good design helps a product to be understood
5. Good design is unobtrusive
6. Good design is honest
7. Good design is durable
8. Good design is thorough to the last detail
9. Good design is concerned with the environment
10. Good design is as little design as possible

Full breakdown with commentary and examples from Rams’ own work here.


Someone commented on that posting with a list of George Nelson’s five tenets of design:

1. What you make is important
2. Design is an integral part of the business
3. The product must be honest
4. You decide what you will make
5. There is a market for good design

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