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ICONS ARE BETTER #78: DIETER RAMS

Dieter Rams is the doyen of design and the arbiter of good taste. His influence can be seen in thousands of things we use without thinking everyday: from shavers, to sofas to iPhones.

An architect by training, Rams began his career as an industrial designer at Braun in 1955. Back then designers of “high tech gizmos” considered themselves a class above the blue-collar peasants and housewives who used their products. So user-friendliness was basically non-existent.

Rams turned this trend on its head, by designing products that were intuitive to new users and had a distinctively minimalist visual signature that contrasted with the usual 1950s gaudiness. His inspiration came from his carpenter grandfather, who taught him that the key to good design was ‘less but better’.

Rather appropriately for the greatest designer ever, he also designed the ultimate system for actually teaching good design (sorry for using the word design three times in that sentence, Dieter wouldn’t approve). His ten principles for good design philosophy has been the foundation of great innovative companies like Apple and Dyson. Ultimately Dieter Rams proves that you don’t have to slavishly follow current trends or fashion, because good design is timeless.

Tom Cook – Planning Intern