Less but better

Braun Design: A special approach.

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 rest 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 per ception of beauty: “Pare down to the essence, but do not remove the poetry.”

*Richard Moss, “Braun,” in: Industrial Design, New York, November 11, 1962

Historic Braun Design milestones.

SK 4 | 1956

Radio-phonograph combination

Design: Hans Gugelot, Dieter Rams

T 3 | 1958

Portable transistor radio

Design: HfG Ulm, Dieter Rams

sixtant SM 31 | 1962

Electric shaver

Design: Gerd Alfred Müller, Hans Gugelot

T 1000 | 1963

Short-waver receiver

Design: Dieter Rams

T 2 / TFG 2 cylindric | 1968

Table lighter

Design: Dieter Rams

MPZ 22 | 1972

Citrus press, citromatic

Design: Dieter Rams, Jügen Greubel

ET 33 | 1977

Pocket calculator

Design: Dieter Rams, Dietrich Lubs, Ludwig Littmann

DW 30 | 1978

Wristwatch

Design: Dieter Rams, Dietrich Lubs

PGC 1000 | 1978

Hair dryer, super compact

Design: Heinz Ullrich Haase

micron plus de luxe | 1980

Electric shaver

Design: Roland Ullmann

atelier

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

Ten principles for good design.

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.”

image1Good 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.

image2Good 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.