Dieter Rams is best known for the products he created for Braun, which introduced the world to functionalist industrial design:

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.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


5 Thoughts on "Dieter Rams’ Ten Principles of Design"

Simple rules, simply stated. Successful execution is the challenge.

Excellent, although the focus is on product design in the video.
However these fundamental principals apply to publishing industry, in both the print and digital environment.
STM sector in general, does use design as a strategy yet.

Good website design does not use light gray type. It’s unreadable and user-unfriendly.

Comments are closed.