Dieter Rams – Ten Principles Of Good Design

 In Design, Inspiration

Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer, closely associated with the Braun consumer products company.

Rams was a key figure in the revival of German Functionalism design (the Gute form) of the late 1950s and 1960s. When he eventually became the head of the Braun design team, Rams greatly influenced the stylistic direction of the brand, leading to a Rationalism that would soon characterize the products and identity of the company.

Dieter Rams



All good design:

  • It is innovative
    Rams clearly states that it is unlikely to exhaust the possibilities of design innovation because the technological development continuously offers new opportunities to innovate each design. Another characteristic of the innovative design is that it continuously develops on a par with new technologies, therefore it lacks inherent limitations.


  • Provides utility to each product
    The primary objective of a product is its usefulness. Its design is primarily practical and secondarily it has to satisfy certain criteria of a psychological and aesthetic nature. A good design gives priority to the utility of a product taking into account in a strictly secondary way its psychological and aesthetic aspects but avoids all those characteristics that could diminish the utility of the product.


  • It is aesthetic
    The well executed design does not lack beauty. The aesthetic quality of a product is an integral part of its usefulness since the products used on a daily basis tend to have an indirect effect on people and their well-being.


  • Makes an understandable product
    A good design simplifies the structure of the product and predisposes it to clearly express its function through the intuition of the user. Ideally, its purpose will be intuitive for every user.


  • It is discreet
    All products and their design must be simultaneously neutral and sober. Its sobriety and neutrality aim to provide a space of expression for the user. Every well-designed product fulfills a purpose similar to that of any tool and therefore a good design does not confuse the identity of its products with decorative objects or works of art. A properly executed product is an aesthetically attractive tool that lacks an illogically indefinite identity.


  • It’s honest
    An honest design never tries to falsify the authentic value and innovation of the given product. Also, a truly honest design never tries to manipulate the consumer through promises of apocritical utility, nonexistent or beyond the physical reality of the product.


  • It has an anachronically lasting value
    All fashion is inherently transient and subjective. The correct execution of the good design results in inherently objective and anachronically useful products. These qualities are reflected when users have the tendency to treasure and favor those well-designed products even in those societies whose consumption trends clearly favor disposable products.


  • Comprehensively conceive to the last detail
    Dieter Rams establishes this rule in an absolute way: A good design never leaves anything to chance given that the care and exacting precision of each detail expresses the respect of the designers towards their consumers. Each mistake is a lack of respect.


  • Respect the environment
    A good design must contribute significantly to the preservation of the environment by conserving resources and minimizing physical and visual contamination during the life cycle of the product.


  • It is design in its absolute minimum expression
    Dieter Rams underlines the distinction between the paradigm in design: “Less is more” (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe) and instead recommends his own paradigm: “Less, but with better execution”, highlighting the fact that this approach promotes fundamental aspects of each product and therefore avoids ballasting awkwardly with everything that is not essential. The ideal result is products of greater purity and simplicity.


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NARAN-HO Design + fotografía publicitaria y diseñoMartin Munkácsi - Photographer