Dieter Rams

02: BRAUN by Damien Vizcarra

I met Dieter Rams on Friday, April 19th, 2013.  I was invited by Art Center College of Design to attend a panel discussion with Dieter before he was to deliver his commencement speech the following day.  This was the perfect excuse to buy this beautiful grey Braun watch that was designed by Dietrich Lubs while Dieter was Chief Design Officer.  I could easily write a 5 page essay on all the ways this watch is perfect, but the best description comes from Rams himself:

Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design makes a product understandable
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is long-lasting
Good design is thorough down to the last detail
Good design is environmentally-friendly
Good design is as little design as possible

Dieter Rams wrote the Ten Principles for Good Design in the late 1970’s and they have been the guiding philosophy behind his designs and the work done by Braun.  During the panel discussion, a designer in the audience highlighted the fact that the Ten Principles were written 30+ years ago and asked Dieter if he considered changing or adding to it.  Dieter, with his distinct German accent, cleverly responds, “I thought a lot about that recently and…(long pause)...NO”.  The crowd delights in his answer.  He didn’t say this to defy change, nor did he say this to live up to his persona.  He qualified his response by describing that these Ten Principles embody the change happening modern in design.  There's no arguing that qualities like honest, unobtrusive, innovative design transcends product categories and will always be relevant. Some, like environmentally-friendly, are actually more important now than they ever have been at any other point in history.  Others, like “as little design as possible” and “thorough down to the last detail” illustrates why Jonathan Ive was influenced by Dieter and himself created Apple products to be experienced in a way that reflects these universal principles. They are the perfect blueprint. This watch is just one example of it.

Dieter Rams signing my copy of Less and More (left).  My friend Thorben Neu is just hangin' with Dieter.  I love this pic (right).

Dieter Rams signing my copy of Less and More (left).  My friend Thorben Neu is just hangin' with Dieter.  I love this pic (right).