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Ten principles for good design

 

Back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams
was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him:
“An impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.”

 

Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important

question: is my design good design?

His answer
is expressed in his ten principles for good design.

Dieter Rams’ ten principles

are proof of a minimalist and functional approach to design but, more than that, they are proof of
a professional stand.

 

This is why, 50 years later, we can easily make these principles our values, our philosophy of how design
-hence, UX design- should be for any product or service to handle or get inside.

 

Dieter RAMS, born in 1932 in Wiesbaden

Chief Executive Designer

BRAUN AG

1961 - 1995

1

Good design is innovative

The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

2

Good design makes a product useful

A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

3

Good design is aesthetic

The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

4

Good design makes a product understandable

It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is selfexplanatory.

5

Good design is unobtrusive

Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s selfexpression.

6

Good design is honest

It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

7

Good design is long-lasting

It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

8

Good design is thorough down to the last detail

Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.

9

Good design is environmentally-friendly

Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

10

Good design is as little design as possible

Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are notburdened with non-essentials.

Back to purity, back to simplicity.

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