10 Great Design Principles According to Dieter Rams

What makes a product great? We all know good design when we see it, but is there a formula for design success?

German industrial designer Dieter Rams certainly thinks so. His elegant and simplistic designs inspired many of today’s designers, most notably Apple’s Jony Ive. After a long and acclaimed industrial design career, Rams decided to summarise his own successful methodology, producing a list of 10 good design principles. So, let’s take a look at those principles and what we can learn from each of them.

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The Little Known Design Tips That Could Save Your Start-up

Starting a company is like walking a tightrope. It’s exciting but often fraught with anxiety. On one hand, you’ve got a great idea, perhaps even a game-changer. But on the other hand, you’re well aware that lots of start-ups fail – approximately 50% according the latest UK figures. And it’s a terrible shame. CB Insights and Forbes magazine recently published a study highlighting the top 20 reasons start-ups fail. So, today, we’re going to look at some of the main reasons, and how they can be avoided.

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Design Simplicity: What we can Learn From Steve Jobs and the Humble Paperclip

When you think about iconic Industrial Design, what products come to mind? Perhaps the Mini Cooper, the Sony Walkman or the Dyson cyclonic vacuum. It’s probably fair to say, that the paperclip wouldn’t feature on most people’s lists, but I think it’s actually one of modern history’s greatest and most iconic product designs. Why? Because of its design simplicity. It’s everything it needs to be and nothing it doesn’t.

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5 Biggest Mistakes When Designing Products for Manufacture

Over the years, I’ve worked closely with many manufacturers. In fact, it’s something I really enjoy. One of the most satisfying parts of the product design process, is seeing a design turn into an actual finished product. Most Industrial Designers consider the end-user when designing a product, but good designers consider all stakeholders and all aspects of the products lifecycle, including manufacture.

In my experience, I’ve found there are five crucial mistakes that Industrial Designers make.

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I'm Not a Robot: How to Design for Humans

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve probably heard of and possibly experienced RSI. As the name suggests, it’s generally caused by performing repetitive tasks or maintaining an unnatural posture for a prolonged period, resulting in anything from mild discomfort to severe pain, throbbing and cramps. One form of RSI that is particularly damaging is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome; caused when nerves in the wrist become compressed due to frequent bending.

RSI can be quite serious and can even result in chronic injury if left untreated. But the good news is that it can be prevented through good design.

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But Why? Clearing the Way for Innovation

When we were kids, we used to question everything! “Why is the sky blue?”, “Where does the sun go when it’s dark?”, “Why can’t I see my eyes?”.

But, as we get older, we’re taught not to question. Don’t question your parents, don’t question your bosses and don’t question authority. Sometimes, there’s a very good reason and it’s only healthy to respect the status quo, but it can be a real barrier to innovation.

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Rapid Prototyping: A New Way of Thinking

We live in exciting times! Technology is moving so fast these days that it’s sometimes hard to keep up, and the last 20 years or so have seen a massive shift in the way we live and work. And technology is also changing the way we manufacture.

There inevitably comes a point in the product development cycle, when you need to produce prototypes. CAD software is great, and you can perform all kinds of virtual simulation and analysis these days, but sometimes you need a physical sample. It’s hard to get a feel for ergonomics and usability without having something in front of you.

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Demystifying the Design Process

Let’s be honest; new product development can be a daunting prospect! You’ve got a good idea, but how do go about making it a reality? And where do you even begin? Lots of inventors and companies find themselves in that position, and many good ideas never really go any further.

But product development doesn’t need to be scary, in fact it should be an exciting time. There is immense satisfaction in seeing a good idea come to fruition and huge benefit for your business when you get it right. In a competitive market, having the right product is critical to your company’s success, so effective product design is important. And effective design hinges on an effective design process.

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What is Industrial Design?

We all use hundreds of products every day; some we love and some we loathe. But have you ever stopped to consider where they come from or how they came into being? If the answer is no, then you’re not alone.

Whenever I meet someone new and they ask what I do, they’re usually surprised to learn that I am an Industrial Designer, and even more surprised when I explain what an Industrial Designer actually does. It’s a job title that most people haven’t even heard before, yet Industrial Designers are responsible for creating many of the products that we use each day.

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