Dieter Rams: Less But Better

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Few product designs have the staying power of creations by Dieter Rams. Almost everything produced by the most influential designer of the twentieth century is today considered a classic.

This new and revised edition of Less but Better shows once again why Dieter Rams’s approach to design will be relevant for the foreseeable future. Ideas of what can and must be achieved by good design are in a constant state of flux as a result of cultural and technological developments. Dieter Rams, however, came up with ten principles that advocate for a purist, almost imperceptible design. These principles are still considered timeless fundaments of design theory and practice today: Good design is innovative. Good design makes a product useful. Good design is aesthetic. Good design is helps a product to be understood. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is honest. Good design is durable. Good design is consistent to the last detail. Good design is environmentally friendly. Good design is as little design as possible.

Less but Better does not set out to be a complete documentation of Dieter Rams’s body of work, nor does it claim to tell the full story of the company Braun. Rather the book explores the ideas, criteria, and methods behind Rams’s creations and reveals how a shifting culture of product manufacturing gave rise to universal design benchmarks. From his reflections on design ethics and values we can distill a clear paradigm for future design—because one principle has remained firm over the years: less is simply better.

Dieter Rams, born in Wiesbaden in 1932, initially studied architecture. He is widely considered one of the most significant industrial designers of the twentieth century. In the more than 40 years that he spent working at the electrical appliance manufacturer Braun, Rams turned out a wealth of pioneering creations that continue to influence designers around the world today. He has also generated a new awareness of the social function of design in Germany.

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