One Book EVERY Designer Should Own


Good books have a way of unearthing things
inside us we didn’t know were there. And this is an exceptionally good book. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been
touched by the work of Dieter Rams. He’s created and inspired some of the most
iconic products and designed objects in recent history and his life’s work and design process
is beautifully documented here throughout the nearly 400 pages of full-color photographs
and carefully crafted text. It’s the arc of the designer’s life though
that I find even more compelling. Our environment, our mentors, the places we
visit and return to, the objects we hold, and the words we hear as children; these are
the experiences that shape who we become as designers. This lens, through which the world is filtered
and focused, is uniquely our own. Finding this voice is a life’s work, of course,
and Mr. Rams’ is thoughtfully curated here. We learn the motivations of his aesthetic,
how he spent time in his grandfather’s workshop working with his hands, shaping and molding. His innate sense for the physical properties
of materials. His empathy for the human experience of machined
commodities. His willingness to defy convention and a singular
focus on reducing design solutions to their elemental qualities led to this vast portfolio
of products, some of which are still being manufactured today. His aesthetic influence is present in contemporary
designers like Jonathan Ive, in the devices we can’t keep our hands off of, and his ethos
expressed – most poignantly – in his timeless ten principles of good design. Now, I mentioned in the last video a phrase
that I thought neatly summed up where I’m headed this year and moving forward and that
it was inspired by this book. And, in case you haven’t guessed it by now,
that phrase is: less but better. And these words aren’t my own, of course,
they’re the words of Dieter Rams, yet they feel like the advice my grandfather might
offer me if he were here today. The kind of thing he’d say without actually
saying it. His tools and memory live on here in my studio
guiding my work and philosophy toward making and craft. And, I love the idea that one day my grandchildren
may listen to my words echoing in their studio and keep my tools with the same reverence. Perhaps the real gift this book has given
me has taken me a long time to fully understand and appreciate, and that is that an ethos
doesn’t need revisiting every January, it guides you every day as you do your work,
unwavering in its conviction, unfailing in its simplicity, all that it needs to be and
nothing more. Now, if this book hasn’t made its way into
your library yet be sure to add it to your wish list, for context, depth, and to understand
the full measure of Dieter Rams’ importance in the design world. Smash that like button below and tell me in
the comments: do you have your own principles of good design that guides your work? We’ll see you again next time, cheers my friends!

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