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Dieter Rams principles of good design

Who is Dieter Rams?


Dieter Rams is a famous German industrial designer. He is usually linked with the company Braun, as well as the Functionalist school of industrial design. Throughout his prolific career he has been a source of inspiration and motivation for many designers, beginners and veterans alike.

What is good design?


Dieter Rams produced and oversaw over 500 innovative products during his tenure as chief of design at Braun. He managed to maintain consistent quality by always asking: “Is my design good design?” This led to the famous Dieter Rams 10 Principles of Good Design. His principles can be applied to a broad range of formats, including web design.

10 Principles of good design

Dieter Rams

Dieter Rams’ list is straightforward and useful. It highlights key points of timeless information that remain useful to designers around the world.

  1. Good design is innovative: Progress is always possible. As technology advances and changes, so should design.
  2. Good design makes a product useful: A product must above all things be functional. Although it has other criteria, usefulness is the most important.
  3. Good design is aesthetic: A product should be pleasing to look at. People have to want to use and view it every day.
  4. Good design makes a product understandable: A product should be self explanatory. The design should be intuitive and easy to use.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive: Products exist to fulfill a purpose, and the design should not detract from that. The design should leave room for the user’s self expression.
  6. Good design is honest: Products should not claim to be something they are not. The design should accurately reflect exactly how powerful or valuable is truly is.
  7. Good design is long-lasting: Products shouldn’t adhere to fleeting trends. The design should aim for quality that endures the years without seeming dated.
  8. Good design is thorough: Good design doesn’t leave anything to chance. Everything is meticulously planned and handled with care.
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly: Good design aims to not harm the environment. It makes sure the product causes minimal pollution and other negative impacts.
  10. Good design is as little design as possible: Less is more with good design. It focuses on the essentials, keeping the end result as simple as possible.


Although not foolproof, these principles come in useful. Keep them nearby, whether you are designing a chair or a new webpage. It’s easy to see why Dieter Rams remains a very relevant influence on modern design.


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