10 Principles for Good Design

by Mark

In a world awash with product choice, it is not always easy to determine what is good design. Overt sophistication can obscure elegant simplicity and longevity is often the victim of in-built obsolescence.

The problem is hardly new and back in the late 1970s, product designer, Dieter Rams, was becoming increasingly concerned by “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.” Born in 1932, Rams trained as an architect and in 1955 went to work for Braun, the consumer-electronics company run by brothers, Erwin and Artur Braun. Rams was the head of design from 1961 to 1995 and crafted iconic elements of contemporary life at the time including clocks, stereo systems, radios and slide projectors.

Aware that he was a significant contributor to a confused world, he asked himself an important question: is my design good design? As good design is difficult to prescribe in a finite way, Rams set about expressing the most important principles for what he considered the ‘ten commandments’ of good design. Here they are.

While product design has challenges, the world we work in, architecture, landscape and urban design, has its own complexities in achieving ‘good design’. Vitruvius, 1st century BC Roman author, famously assigned firmness, commodity and delight as the key virtues of great architecture. Although mainly known for his writings, Vitruvius, like Rams, was an architect.

Vitruvius may well be considered the father of Human Centred Design. He described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion. His well know illustration of the outstretched human body, inscribed in a circle and square, inspired Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. Human Centred Design is a focus for Edmiston Jones in 2019 as we build on a strong foundation of working closely with clients to ensure that what we deliver improves the lives of the end-users as well as others in the community touched by our work.

Leave a comment