Less but Better
Looking for a really good design-related documentary? The team recently sat down to watch a feature on Dieter Rams and it’s a great unpacking of one of the most influential designers alive today. It’s a fifteen dollars well spent.
Here’s Mar, one of our designers, thoughts on the film:
As a designer, everything on my canvas has to have a reason to be, and its placement and characteristics always need to be defined by rules like grids, weights or proportions. Nothing is left to chance.
I know it’s not a very romantic way to talk about design but I do think that mathematics can create beauty. Dieter Rams is one of the biggest exponents when it comes to this kind of meticulous approach to design, to the point that his output, principles and methodologies have inspired the work of some of today’s most celebrated product designers like Jony Ive.
I think it’s very interesting to see the trajectory of someone who believed in a certain way of doing things, who applied it to different disciplines like architecture or product design, and stuck to it. We all have had the “please make my logo bigger’ fight and as a designer it’s important to make the client understand that it’s more important to show who you are than to shout who you are.
Rams’ work at Braun and later at Vitsœ was a key exponent of the concept of simplicity and ‘less is more’. Thirty years later Rams’ signature statement is what me, and probably most designers, keep in mind when designing: ‘less, but better’.
I do think that there are two types of designers, the artists and the problem solvers. Rams is a celebration of this second group (where I can include myself) who think that with rigour, principles and the right process and mentality, you can create a better end product.
Here are Dieter Rams’ 10 commandments of design:
1. Good design is innovative.
2. Good design makes a product useful.
3. Good design is aesthetic.
4. Good design helps us to understand a product.
5. Good design is unobtrusive.
6. Good design is honest.
7. Good design is durable.
8. Good design is consequent down to the last detail.
9. Good design is concerned with the environment.
10. Good design is as little design as possible.