Dieter Rams: Ten Principles of Good Design

Dieter Rams | Vitsoe at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0]

1. Good Design is Innovative

The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted.
Technical 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 psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while 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. Only well-executed products 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 self-explanatory.     

5. Good Design is honest

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

6. 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 in order to leave room for the user’s self-expression.    

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 throw-away 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 toward the consumer.       

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Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer and retired academic 

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