Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer famous for his 10 Principles of Good Design. As Head of Design for Braun, he devised many of the company’s most distinguished products. His work served as inspiration for today’s leading innovative designs, particularly Apple Inc. Behind his elegant and timeless creations, here are the following facts:
1. He has a background in architecture.
- Inspired by his grandfather’s work, Rams started his career as an award-winning carpenter. He then attended the Wiesbaden School of Art to study architecture.
- His process as an architect carried to his industrial design work. He conserved resources with thorough planning and detailed modeling before moving to production.
2. He joined Braun on a bet.
- When the company sought an architect, Rams was not aware of its existence nor was he interested. A colleague persuaded Rams to apply with him as part of a friendly bet on who would receive a response.
- Dieter Rams had forgotten about the application when Braun invited him for an interview. He stayed with the company for 34 years.
3. Wastefulness makes him angry.
- The focus of his design philosophy is sustainability. As per his 10 Principles, good design must be long-lasting and environmentally friendly.
- Rams began his career during the rebuilding of Germany after the war. As someone who experienced scarcity, he laments today’s throwaway culture and visual pollution.
4. He would design a computer similarly to Apple.
- Many have compared his products to those designed by Jonathan Ive. Rams accepts these remarks as compliments.
- He believes the company has succeeded his designs in terms of public appeal. He compared the queues for Apple products to those for food rations after the war.
5. Rams does not like to be called a designer.
- His preferred title is “Gestalt-Ingenieur” (creative engineer) or architect (of things). The frivolity and excess of current trends lead him to believe the word “designer” has lost its value.
- Rams considers Apple and furniture company Vitsœ as two of few brands that treat design as a serious discipline.
6. If given another chance, he would not become a designer.
- Dieter Rams is a student of the Ulm School of Design, the institution that succeeded the Bauhaus. He believes the school’s ethos needs to be rediscovered: To improve the relationships between people and their environment through design.
- After a long career, he stated his true wish is to improve how people live and treat their surroundings. He believes in a future where material objects, and thus design, will be less important.
Dieter Rams forever changed the course of product design. His design philosophy, created almost half a century ago, will remain relevant for many years to come.
To learn more about other inspiring product designers, check out their interesting facts here.