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10 Principles of Good Design for Creating Products That Sell

Product design is a crucial aspect of any business - it is the process of creating a product that not only meets the needs of the customers but also stands out from the competition. However, designing a product that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing is not an easy task. Amongst other things, it requires a deep understanding of the market and the target audience. In this blog, we will discuss Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of Good Design and whether following those principles makes your product a sure buy for the consumer.
energy ball of electricity

Earlier this week I was looking at buying a new wall clock and in the product description were the words “Good design is as little design as possible. Not burdened with non-essentials.” This, I thought to myself, is one of the ten “Good design” principles introduced by Dieter Rams.

Dieter Rams is a designer most associated with the consumer electrics company, Braun and furniture company, Vitsœ. His designs influenced Apple designer Jony Ive, whose dedication to “honesty” and “simplicity” in design pays great homages to Rams’ 10 principles of “Good Design”.

Back in the late 1970s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly concerned by the state of the world – he asked himself an important question: “is my design good design?” His answer is expressed in his ten principles for good design.

(**Wording taken from vitsoe.com)

Rams’ 10 Principles For Good Design

  1. Good design is innovative. 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.

  2. Good design makes a product useful. 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.

  3. Good design is aesthetic. 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.

  4. Good design makes a product understandable. 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.

  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 self-expression.

  6. Good design is honest. 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.

  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 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. The 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.

  10. Good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better. Simple as possible but not simpler. Good design elevates the essential functions of a product.
BrAun watch

Good design is subjective and can’t necessarily be measured. Blindly following design rules can leave products indistinguishable from the next. During the mid-2000s, feature phones like the Motorola Razr, the LG Chocolate and the Sony Ericsson T610 each had their own uniqueness, and potential buyers could see their phones as a reflection of themselves. 

Now the design of phones is hidden away in a case. Apple offers 17 different coloured cases. This has even evolved from phones to cars with monolithic centre consoles making the inside of a Tesla Y indistinguishable from the inside of a Ford Mustang Mach E; this begs the question that maybe it is time to once again think differently.

But it isn’t all bad, the Hyundai’s IONIQ 5 and the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck celebrate the uniqueness that is often overlooked in the continuing trend of bland SUVs. Even here at Hark, good design is drilled into our software and into our mentality when it comes to our products. Our meticulously crafted design system was created by skilled UX/UI designers and engineers; with accessibility, user-friendliness, and simplicity in mind.

Our software’s unique quality comes from our highly functional features, which are easy to understand and navigate, while also being aesthetically pleasing. The Instagram of the energy management and industrial IoT world, if you will. So, when we ask ourselves, ‘Is our design good design?’ – we can confidently say the answer is yes! Hopefully, Dieter Rams will feel the same way.

By now, I’m sure you are all wondering “Did I buy the clock?” and the answer is yes, but in the end, it was not because of the design, but because of nostalgia – my grandma had the same clock on her kitchen wall.

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