The term “Braun Design” refers to a particular approach to creating products. A typical feature is the combination of technical innovation, a new aesthetic, and a degree of user-friendliness that has been thought through down to the smallest detail.
Both Fritz Eichler and later Dieter Rams described the main features of Braun Design by referring to Richard Moss*, according to whose analysis three laws govern Braun Design: simplicity, order, and harmony. The rst of these terms refers to the creation of a harmonious form using a minimum of materials.
Braun products therefore consciously eschew short-term design effects and everything that is trendy, spectacular, loud, or obtrusive. The result is products that possess an iconic clarity and visual longevity – “Less, but better,” so that the focus is on the essential aspects. A common design foundation connects all Braun products into one distinctive product line, no matter how different the functions of the appliances may be.
The esthetics and poetry of simplification
However, Braun Design cannot be described simply by listing all the design rules. The special esthetic, the essence of Braun Design, is neatly summed up by a quote from Wabi Sabi, a Japanese view of the perception of beauty: “Pare down to the essence, but do not remove the poetry.”
*Richard Moss, “Max Braun,” Industrial Design, New York, November 11, 1962
SK 4 | 1956
Design: Hans Gugelot, Dieter Rams
T 3 | 1958
Portable transistor radio
Design: HfG Ulm, Dieter Rams
sixtant SM 31 | 1962
Design: Gerd Alfred Müller, Hans
T 1000 | 1963
Design: Dieter Rams
T 2 / TFG 2 cylindric | 1968
Design: Dieter Rams
MPZ 22 | 1972
Citrus press, citromatic
Design: Dieter Rams, Jügen Greubel
ET 33 | 1977
Design: Dieter Rams, Dietrich Lubs,
DW 30 | 1978
Design: Dieter Rams, Dietrich Lubs
PGC 1000 | 1978
Hair dryer, super compact
Design: Heinz Ullrich Haase
micron plus de luxe | 1980
Design: Roland Ullmann
A 2, C 2, T 2 | 1982
P4 | 1984
Design: Peter Hartwein
KF 40 | 1984
Coffee machine, Aromaster
Design: Hartwig Kahlcke
D 5 | 1991
Electric toothbrush, Plak Control
Design: Peter Hartwein
In the 1980s, Dieter Rams formulated “Ten principles for good design”: these expressed what he believed constituted good, i.e. functional and unique, product design. These principles were the theoretical expression of a design approach that has been developed at Braun since 1955, and that was substantially shaped over the following decades by Dieter Rams.
On the subject of his principles, Dieter Rams had this to say: “In my ten principles, I formulated the basic considerations that inform my work as a designer and that represent the main elements of my design philosophy. However, they could and should never be seen as prescriptive, since ideas about what constitutes good design are constantly evolving – in just the same way as technology and culture develop.”
1. Good design is innovative
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 psycho logical 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 wellbeing. But only wellexecuted 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 selfexplanatory.
5. Good design is unobtrusive
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 selfexpression.
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 last detail
Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
9. Good design is environmentally-friendly
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 nonessentials.