I never paid much mind to the the thought that went into my first Braun electric shaver. It was simple, handsome, ever portable and gave a great shave. Reflecting on it now, I think it was perfect. The design of that shaver was the handiwork of design master Dieter Rams. Rams was the chief of design at Braun from 1961 to 1995, and his work remains a gold standard for smart, thoughtful and perfect product design. For Braun, there were the radios, the turntables, the stereos, other audio/visual equipment, coffee makers, calculators, consumer appliances and office products that still look fresh today. For Vitsoe in 1960, he designed the timeless 606 Universal Shelving System.

Among the many things for which he is famous, ten of my favorites are his ten principles to good design. As someone who makes Websites for people, I try to adhere to these principles. According to Rams, good design…

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

For other great references to, check out Gary Hustwit’s 2009 documentary Objectified and Sophie Lovell’s 2011 book As Little Design As Possible (Phaidon).

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