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29 DECEMBER 2009

Dieter Rams' 10 principles for good industrial design

"As head of design at Braun, the German consumer electronics manufacturer, DIETER RAMS (1932-) emerged as one of the most influential industrial designers of the late 20th century by defining an elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language for its products.

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.

Copyright Dieter Rams, amended March 2003 and October 2009

These ten principles defined Dieter Rams' approach to 'good design'. Each of the hundreds of products he developed during forty years with Braun, was unerringly elegant and supremely versatile. Units were made in modular sizes to be stacked vertically or horizontally. Buttons, switches and dials were reduced to a minimum and arranged in an orderly manner. Rams even devised a system of colour coding for Braun's products, which were made in white and grey. The only splash of colour was the switches and dials.

Rams' objective was to design useful products which would be easy to operate. Yet he achieved much more by dint of the formal elegance and technical virtuosity of his work. Rams' designs always looked effortless with an exquisite simplicity borne from rigorous tests and experiments with new materials and an obsessive attention to detail to ensure that each piece appeared flawlessly coherent. Dieter Rams remains an enduring inspiration for younger designers, notably Jonathan Ive and Jasper Morrison, who have acknowledged his influence in their work at Apple and Rowenta respectively."

(Design Museum, UK)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 OCTOBER 2009

The Dark Genius of Kyle Cooper

Kyle Cooper "specializes in crafting title sequences - the short introductions and closings to films, videogames, and television shows that list the names of the cast and crew involved in the production. In this boutique industry, Cooper is king. He has designed the lead-ins to 150 features - including Donnie Brasco, the 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man, Sphere, Spawn, Twister, and Flubber. The movies themselves may not be cinematic classics, but Cooper's credits - which operate as minifilms in their own right - consistently stun and entertain audiences. For this spring's Dawn of the Dead, he even used real human blood. Critic Elvis Mitchell, in his New York Times review of the movie, summed up the Cooper effect: 'The opening and closing credits are so good, they're almost worth sitting through the film for.' Indeed, the word in Hollywood is that some filmmakers have refused to work with Cooper, says Dawn of the Dead director Zach Snyder, because he's 'the guy who makes title sequences better than the movie.' Not since Saul Bass' legendary preludes to The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) and Vertigo (1958) have credits attracted such attention. Cooper counts Bass' work, along with Stephen Frankfurt's lead-in for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), as his greatest influences."

(Jon M. Gibson, Wired Issue 12.06 - June 2004)

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TAGS

animationcinemacredit sequencedesigndesign innovatordesignerDonnie Brascofilm • Flubber • influential designerKyle Cooper • Mission: Impossible • motionmotion designmovementSaul BassSe7ensequence design • Spawn • Sphere (film) • Spider-Man • The Island of Dr. MoreauThe Man With the Golden Armtitle sequenceTo Kill a Mockingbird • Twister • Vertigo (1958)visual communicationvisual designWired (magazine)

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
07 DECEMBER 2008

Paul Rand: the importance of understanding the relationship between form and content

"For his posthumous induction into The One Club''s Hall of Fame for 2007, Imaginary Forces created a short film, combining original animation with a videotaped interview of Rand himself, that encapsulated his unique and timeless contribution to the design community."
(Imaginary Forces)

[Design formalist Paul Rand describes how he understands the art of graphic design.]

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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