Dieter Rams

I believe designers should eliminate the unnecessary. That means eliminating everything that is modish because this kind of thing is only short-lived.

Back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world around him — “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Aware that he was a significant contributor to that world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design?

As good design cannot be measured in a finite way he set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered was good design. Sometimes they are referred as the ‘Ten commandments’.

Quiet is better than loud.

Is innovative Good design

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

Makes a product useful Good design

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

Is aesthetic Good design

The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Makes a product understandable Good design

It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

Is unobtrusive Good design

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.

Is honest Good design

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

Is long-lasting Good design

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

Good design Is thorough down to the last detail

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

Is environmentally friendly Good design

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

Is as little design as possible Good design

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.


The appearance of the calculator application included in iOS 3 mimics the appearance of the 1987 Braun ET 66 calculator designed by Rams and Dietrich Lubs, and the appearance of the now playing screen in Apple’s own Podcast app mimics the appearance of the Braun TG 60 reel-to-reel tape recorder. In Gary Hustwit’s 2009 documentary film Objectified, Rams states that Apple Inc. is one of the few companies designing products according to his principles.

Dieter Rams Design Gallery

Braun Lautsprecherbox Kufengestell L 2
Audio 300 Radio phono combination
Braun phonosuper (SK 4), 1956
Braun coffee machine (KF 20 Aromaster), 1972
Braun L1_02
Braun Citromatic
Braun LE1
rams reise wecker
Dieter Rams FS80 Television
T-1000 Portable radio
Rams office
braun recorder rams
dieter rams Braun Receiver REGIE-510
dieter rams: less, but better

Braun SK 4

Der Tonarm hat kein Gegengewicht und keine Antiskatingfunktion.


Das Röhrenradio im „Phonosuper SK 4“ (Typ SK4) ist für UKW- und Mittelwellen-Empfang ausgelegt und hat 15 Empfangskreise, sechs Kreise die Amplitudenmodulation (AM) und neun Kreise für die Frequenzmodulation (FM). Die schmale Frequenzskala für UKW und MW wurde auf Papier gedruckt und auf das dafür vorgesehene Blech des Radiochassis geklebt.

Dieter Rams


Control TS45, Reel to Reel Tape Recorder TG60, Slim Speakers L450

With the combi DL5, Braun's electric razor designs were slowly becoming more confident. The logo was made smaller and placed off to the side, letting the form do most of the talking. The grip striations of the previous model were refined into thin, more subtle grooves, which spoke of finer machining tolerances. The colored top of the 300 was ditched in favor of the original chrome finish, and a technological innovation was added: A fixed-position trimmer appeared on one side of the head, thus earning the "Combi" title.

Rams Accolades

Dieter Rams has been involved in design for seven decades. This is a list of notable awards and accomplishments.

2007 Awarded Design Prize for his life’s work
2007 Receives Designer Award from the Raymond Loewy Foundation
2013 Awarded Lifetime Achievement Medal at London Design Festival

1996 Receives ‘World Design Medal’ from the Industrial Designers Society
2002 Awarded Verdienstkreuz des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
2003 Receives ‘Design Award ONDI’, Havana, Cuba for his special contribution to design culture

I sit, I think, I make some drawings. As a designer, you cannot retire totally. -Dieter Rams

KF 20 Aromaster

Up until the 1970s people had been brewing, steeping, percolating, even siphoning coffee using whatever assortment of gadgets their parents had.

Transistor Radio T3

Rams' T3 radio from 1958, is about as simple as a possible, with just a dial and speaker apertures interrupting its otherwise featureless off-white box. Yet 55 years later, Rams' design has inspired a music app, the Apple iPod, and now perhaps another radio.

Dieter Rams classic camera design


Dieter Rams on


If I Could Do It Again, "I Would Not Want To Be A Designer"