In functionalist design the purpose intended for the object (for instance a razors purpose is to cut hair) is the guiding force behind its design. Every decision about the object (shape, texture, cost etc) is made to maximize the objects capacity to fulfill its intended purpose.
In the 1970s, he formulated his now famous ten principles of good design upon which his “less, but better” philosophy relies. In Rams, a new documentary about the designer from Gary Hustwit, Rams walks the viewer through these principles which have shaped our sense of consumer product design.
As we continue to innovate and experiment with new ways to deliver scholarly information and research results, it is easy to introduce noise and clutter, as well as functionality that is added because it is possible to add it, rather than because it is actually useful.
Times change, but if you hope to get things right, Rams’ principles remain as important as ever.