Dieter Rams – 10 Principles of Good Design

For our Brand and Integrated Services Director, Simon Hall, design is a process and system that helps create positive change.

computer in a home office

As a brand strategist and designer at heart, I like to utilise design thinking to help enhance the organisations and people I work with. Like many designers, it’s great to take inspiration from a variety of places and people.

After recently watching the BBC4 documentary on Dieter Rams the German industrial designer who is closely associated with Braun and the furniture company Vitsœ I’ve been inspired by his 10 Principles of Good Design and how I can bring them into my day to day work and the projects and brands I’m working with.

His thinking and product design have influenced the design of many products we see today and his 10 principles are an inspiration to not only product design but to service design, UX design, brand design and more.


Here are his 10 principles:

1. Good design is innovation.

The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

2. Good design makes a product useful.

A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasises the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

3. Good design is aesthetic

The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

4. Good design makes a product understandable.

It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product talk. At best, it is self-explanatory.

5. Good design is unobstrusive.

Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

6. Good design is honest.

It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

7. Good design is long-lasting.

It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

8. Good design is thorough down to the latest detail.

Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the user.

9. Good design is environmentally-friendly.

The design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

10. Good design is as little design as possible.

Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

If you’d like to find out more on how good design can influence your brand then get in touch with our branding experts at or call 0121 454 8181.

These principles can be shared accurately and fairly under the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.

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