Jens Oliver Meiert

The 10 Design Theses of Dieter Rams

Post from March 25, 2008 (↻ September 7, 2016), reflecting Jens the .

Moving up industrial design on my agenda and studying the work of German top designer Dieter Rams (who was responsible for the great design of Braun products for about 30 years), I deemed it useful to emphasize his design theses:

I really like these “commandments,” as they’re sometimes referred to. They might remind of Edward Tufte’s work concerning information design and “data honesty,” they might also—hi, grandiosity—remind of my own definition of design, that good design needs to be durable, and that our industry suffers from bad design since we’re often dealing with decoration instead.

Design history and research of good design confirm that great designers rarely just ornament but focus on usefulness and usability. And making a product useful and usable never meant that it shouldn’t be appealing. This still is, and will always be, one of the key lessons up-and-coming designers need to learn. Which includes our industry with their web and application designers.

About the Author

Jens Oliver Meiert, photo of July 27, 2015.

Jens Oliver Meiert is a German philosopher and developer (Google, W3C, O’Reilly). He experiments with arts and adventure. Here on he shares and generalizes and exaggerates some of his thoughts and experiences.

There’s more Jens in the archives and at Amazon. If you have any questions or concerns (or recommendations) about what he writes, leave a comment or a message.

Comments (Closed)

  1. On March 25, 2008, 21:27 CET, Lynne said:

    “elegant, legible, yet rigorous visual language” - This is such a powerful statement at the heart of Dieter Rams that more often than not completely missed by most. His philosophy for good design is undeniably the core at which every one in our field does (or should) try to drill down to regardless of the amount of time it take (which can take a while). It is amazing when you look at our field in this manner how broad we truly start before we start to even touch on these design values that if achieved will bring undeniable success. I knew of these “commandments” before they were posted here but I never took the time to understand where they came from really. In any case these 10 “good design” standards should be ingrained in every designer in any application on platform.

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Last update: September 7, 2016.

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