Less and More, the Design Ethos of Dieter Rams


November 15, 2011 reblogged from David Gauquelin in beautiful bits – by the prezi design team.



A few days ago I’ve been to the SFMOMA to see an exhibition about Dieter Rams. It was amazing to finally see all these products for real, after having seen them so many times in pictures. As many designers, I admire Dieter Rams products and even though I’m not designing hardware products, his work has always been very inspiring to me. First of all because the design thinking behind all his works is very relevant to design software products too. His ten principles for good design for instance still make a lot of sense today, whatever kind of things you’re designing.

There’s something about the layout of the controls, the extreme attention to details and overall readability of the functions which is specifically inspiring for anyone designing UIs. Hierarchy is thoroughly used, see how main functions have bigger buttons for instance or how the composition of the control panel group sub-functionalities together or link related elements together by using precise alignments. All these things are in my head when I design an interface, because it’s about cognition, affordance – how do you perceive and understand a product at a glance, what to do, which button to use, etc. no matter if it’s on-screen or physical buttons.

My aim is to omit everything superfluous so that the essential is shown to the best possible advantage.

– Dieter Rams

And surprisingly, seeing all these objects together you can feel their true aesthetic quality, and this design approach, while being deeply functionalist, reveals an authentic, intrinsically beautiful industrial language. I had the following Paul Rand quote coming to my mind.


One quickly realizes that simplicity and geometry are the language of timelessness and universality.

– Paul Rand, “From Lascaux to Brooklyn”

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