Dieter Ram’s ideology: 10 principles for good design

“I was like a child with my mind in the clouds” – Me

As I started taking this General Assembly’s HTML, CSS & Web Design course, I was expecting something really simple and elementary compared to the web development immersive course that I did a few months ago. I didn’t expect it to be teaching me as much as it has in the idea of web design. The class itself is simple enough with just covering the basic boiler plate of HTMl and h1 and p headings with a style changes like background color and font color in the first unit.

I didn’t really pay attention to the first unit because I felt like it was so simple to what I’ve already learned. I was like a child with my mind in the clouds for the first unit. It wasn’t until I got into the second unit that this class started to excite me more. The process of design in most elementary form is simple. Create possible sketches, test it, and see what works and what doesn’t then change it again until you come to the what feels like the best product design. Let’s be honest, everybody has an opinion of what could make a product design better. A couple decades ago, telling someone that you can design something like an iPhone would be considered sci-fi. A computer in a small phone? Blasphemy. But here we are now, still trying to improve that small phone. Water resistant? then: no, now: yes.

Well back to my story, I delve deeper into the class and actually looked at the further readings because design is such a big aspect for me when I’m making my front end materials. I want to product a product that is aesthetically pleasing but also convenient to the point that it does what it’s meant to do and nothing more. We don’t expect a good TV to have amazing speakers, we expect it to have amazing picture quality. If it does have an amazing speaker, great, but for the most part, that’s where soundbars and surround systems come in.

This is where I read Dieter Ram’s 10 principle for good design, and it’s something that I am totally in love with.

Vitsoe’s Designer: Dieter Rams – Photographby Abisag Tüllmann (Taken from Vitsoe’s website)
  1. Good design is innovative
  2. Good design makes a product useful
  3. Good design is aesthetic
  4. Good design makes a product understandable
  5. Good design is unobtrusive
  6. Good design is honest
  7. Good design is long-lasting
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  9. Good design is environmentally-friendly
  10. Good design is as little design as possible

His points in them resonates with how I feel about design especially the design being as little design as possible and it being long-lasting and innovative are my top three from the list. When I think of good design, I think of Apple as one of the examples that comes to my head. Even their website screams of design and simplicity and it’s all aesthetically pleasing to me. Their product are designed to be long-lasting. Think of the iPhone. It’s been almost 10 years and their basic design has stayed on their phone. The home button, the screen. Yes, the materials have been upgraded from software to hardware but the overall look has been fairly similar to its predecessors. It’s aesthetically pleasing. Think of Instagram or Tumblr. How many times have you seen an apple product as a focal point of something that is meant to be in the category of aesthetics.

Also, as a gamer, I look up to Sony for their design in the video game area. The PS4 is solid in terms of being sleek in look and have a fairly simple design. Even if many would argue about whether Xbox One or PS4 is their favorite, no one can really say that the PS4 does not have the design traits that is simple but does what it says it does which makes the product useful.

TLDR: I am starting to like General Assembly’s HTML, CSS & Web Design circuit more and more. Definitely would recommend it for anyone thinking about going into web development just to get a taste of what some of the front end materials you can be in charge of.


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