DIETER RAMS: Less But Better

e remember all the Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who adopted the motto “Less is more”. He was the father of minimalism. Well the special person we present you here change this motto into: “Less But Better” ( Weniger Aber Besser). If you haven’t heard this name probably the best way to understand what he’s done is if i tell you that Braun, the company he led for 40 years (from ‘55 to ‘95). Professor Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden, Hesse) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design. Rams studied architecture at the Werkkunstschule Wiesbaden as well as learning carpentry from 1943 to 1957. After working for the architect Otto Apel between 1953 and 1955 he joined the electronic devices manufacturer Braun where he became chief of design in 1961, a position he kept until 1995. Rams and his staff designed many memorable products for Braun including the famous SK-4 record player and the high-quality ‘D’-series (D45, D46) of 35 mm film slide projectors. He is also known for designing the 606 Universal Shelving System by Vitsœ in 1960.

Many of his designs  ( De Padova furniture, coffee makers, calculators, radios, audio/visual equipment, consumer appliances and office products ) have found a permanent home at many museums over the world, including MoMA in New York. For nearly 30 years Dieter Rams served as head of design for Braun A.G. until his retirement in 1998. He continues to be highly regarded in design circles and currently has a major retrospective of his work on tour around the world. To give Mr. Rams a little honor and credit, here are the famous “Dieter Rams 10 Commandments” regarding the topic of “design”:
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.

“Things which are different in order simply to be different are seldom better, but that which is made to be better is almost always different…My goal is to omit everything superfluous so that the essential is shown to best possible advantage…The first thing was that it had to be very easy for people to use; it could not be overloaded with functions that only technicians could understand. Products have to be designed in a way that they are comprehensible. We know most people don’t like to read instruction manuals…Having small touches of colour makes it more colourful than having the whole thing in colour. Having a cigarette lighter in colour means it can be like a flower on a table…It had always been my opinion not to use bright colours for Braun products… they must stay in the background, must harmonise with any environment. Strong colours could upset and confuse…At Braun they were always willing to take a risk – nobody could tell you if a product would become successful. We as designers cannot work in a vacuum. The entrepreneur has to want it; the people at the top of the company have to want it.” ( Dieter Rams design quotes)


In means of design direction Mr Rams is something like a grandfather of Apple as philosophy. To better  understand that, here below we give you  some examples of his work and  compare them with some of today’s Apple products. Jonathan Paul Ive ( Apple Design Director ) for sure take inspiration from the past works of professor Rams. And he didn’t fail! Learn from the experience of the beautiful minds is never bad. But when ”copy” their design and never mention it…this is not honest.