Less and More // The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams

published in: Design, Books By Marcia Argyriades, 09 December 2009

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German industrial designer, Dieter Rams has established himself as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century.  His name has been strongly associated with the consumer products company Braun for which he had been working for over 40 years, and the Functionalist school of industrial design.  Gestalten Books compiled Less and More a book which features images of hundreds of Rams’s products, his sketches and models while it elucidates his design philosophy.  His elegantly clear visual language not only defined product design for decades, but also our fundamental understanding of what design is and what it can and should do.

Rams once explained his design approach in the phrase "Weniger, aber besser" which translates to "Less, but better.”  Furthermore, Rams created ten rules of design more than twenty years ago, which are sometimes referred to as “the ten commandments.”  Today, they are just as relevant:

Dieter Rams’ ten principles to “good design”

Good design is innovative
Good design makes a product useful
Good design is aesthetic
Good design helps us to understand a product
Good design is unobtrusive
Good design is honest
Good design is long-lasting
Good design is consequent to the last detail
Good design is concerned with the environment
Good design is as little design as possible

Less and More by Gestalten reveals the design philosophy of Dieter Rams.  The book contains images of hundreds of Rams’s products as well as his sketches and models – from Braun stereo systems and electric shavers to the chairs and shelving systems that he created for Vitsœ in 1960 and his own company sdr+.  Apart from the rich visual presentation of his designs, the book contains new texts by international design experts that explain how the work was created, describe its timeless quality, and put it into current context.  In this way, the work of Dieter Rams is given a contemporary reevaluation that is especially useful in light of the rediscovery of functionalism and rationalism in today’s design. 

Less and More shows us the possibilities that design opens for both the manufacturer and the consumer as a means of making our lives better through attractive, functional solutions that also save resources.  Many of the designs of Dieter Rams have found a permanent home at many museums all over the world, including MoMA in New York.

The book is edited by Professor Klaus Klemp and Keiko Ueki-Polet. One of the world’s leading experts in the field of product design, Klemp has been acquainted with Dieter Rams for many years and is an authority on his work.  Ueki-Polet is one of Japan’s most renowned design curators.  She is well acquainted with design developments in both Asia and the Western world and works at the Suntory Museum in Osaka.

Title: Less and More
Subtitle: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams
Editors: Klaus Klemp, Keiko Ueki-Polet
Language: bilingual German/English
Price: € 49,90 / $ 78,00 / £ 45,00
Format: 19 × 23 cm
Features: 808 pages, full color, PVC cover, in slipcase
ISBN: 978-3-89955-277-5

European Release:  December 15, 2009
International Release:  January 15, 2010



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  • friend
    Tobias | 2009-12-09 11:04:42

    I am really looking forward to get my hands on this book. It will be a good source for finding inspiriation in general! In my understanding the 10 rules of Rams are so fundamental and so simple that someone had to write them down.

  • friend
    Ecommerce Web Design | 2010-02-09 11:50:00

    Dieter Rams is indeed one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. He has been widely linked with consumer products company Braun. Being German, he was very innovative. Gestalten books compiled of his works and ideas and sketches. He believed in β€œLess but better”.

  • friend
    Xerox Phaser ink | 2010-03-27 14:24:40

    Is this book available in Indonesia language? Thanks, Mike

  • friend
    Bill R. | 2010-07-04 06:59:36

    I think he knows he could have winnowed those ten principles down to seven or eight.

  • friend
    caspar mctaggart | 2010-08-18 23:56:32

    Yeah, why is it 10 principles? Why not 9 or 11? or 4? Is it metric? Is it Letterman?

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