How to apply Dieter Rams’ 10 Design Principles

Blog | Minimalism through design

Gary Hustwit has created the new film about Dieter Rams. “Rams” is a design documentary, but it’s also a rumination on consumerism, materialism, and sustainability.

It can be purchased here.

Can we use Dieter Rams’ 10 principles of design for customer experience (CX) design? What parts of CX design should we focus on? How will these principles affect designing places, objects, or services that create user experiences in physical spaces?

I’ve been asking myself these questions recently. During confinement, I have more time to read books and watch movies that I usually don’t have time for. Designers need more time for reflection, so we can organize our ideas, learn from others, and mix them together to see what new ideas we can come up with.

Here they are:

10 Principles of Good Design by Dieter Rams

1. Good design is innovative.

The possibilities for innovation have not been exhausted at all. Technological development always offers 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 meet certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product without taking into account anything that could harm it.

3. Good design is aesthetic.

The aesthetic quality of a product is an integral part of its utility because the products we use daily affect our person and our well-being. But only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

4. Good design makes a product understandable.

It makes the structure of the product clear. Even better, it can make the product speak for itself. At best, it explains itself.

5. Good design is not intrusive.

Products that serve a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Therefore, their design should be neutral and sober, to leave space for the user’s self-expression.

6. Good design is honest.

It does not make a product more innovative, powerful, or valuable than it really is. It does not try to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be fulfilled.

7. Good design is timeless.

Avoid being fashionable and therefore never looks outdated. Unlike fashion design, it lasts for many years, even in today’s society.

8. Good design is meticulous down to the last detail.

Nothing should be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and precision in the design process show respect for the user.

9. Good design is respectful of the environment.

Design makes an important contribution to environmental preservation. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the product’s life cycle.

10. Good design is design in its minimal expression.

Less, but better – because it focuses on the essential aspects, and products are not loaded with the non-essential. Back to purity, back to simplicity. 

10 Principles for Good User & Customer Experience Design

We all know Dieter Rams as a talented designer of products for everyday use. But can we use his ideas for other design projects? Can we alter them to make. 10 rules for user & customer experience design?

This is an aproach:

1. Good design of experiences is creative.

Technology like Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Internet of Things, and Facial Recognition open up new chances for innovation in the experiences we have in person. A really creative design uses these tech opportunities to give a personal and meaningful experience. Let’s use technology to help us reach our goals, not as the goal itself.

2. Good design makes an experience helpful.

Many people think that an experience is a special event that only happens now and then to make the customer experience more interesting. But good design should help the user meet their functional, emotional and social goals, and make sure they get the best response to their needs, feel better and are recognized by others.

3. Good experience design is not only about how it looks.

We should also look at how it feels. When creating physical experiences, we should consider more than just what we want people to see. In today’s world of social media, it’s hard to resist the urge to decorate with things that look nice in pictures. A great experience is one that uses different touchpoints that are connected to each other. These touchpoints should be designed to show the values and personality of the brand, and should use colors, finishes, music, and smell to create a unique aesthetic and sensory pleasure.

4. Good design makes it easy to understand.

Dieter Rams wanted products to not need instruction manuals. The best experience is one that you don’t need help with; no need for hosts or long listings. An experience that you can understand all the way through, where you have control and can choose when and where to start and stop.

5. Good experience design should not be intrusive.

We should not treat the user as if they are captive to our brand. Instead, we should focus on the customer, understand their needs and wants, and create an experience that puts them in the spotlight.

6. Design should be honest.

Don’t overpromise to get more users and then let them down. Make sure you meet or even exceed expectations. Let happy customers spread the word.

7. Good experience design lasts.

It’s hard to resist the trend of ongoing changes. More seasons in a year, more styles that come and go. All changes should bring more value, and should be meant to make the experience better.

8. Good experience design is meticulous to the last detail.

We don’t know when our customers will need us and how they’ll feel about it. We must be careful everywhere they go, everything they do, all messages we send, all the people they talk to, and how those people treat them. The person who visits the store today may call us tomorrow and the one who talks to us on Twitter today could come to see us tomorrow.

9. Good experience design is respectful of the environment.

Every resource is important, so let’s get rid of what isn’t necessary so we can do more with less. Let’s think about whether we’re getting the most out of every euro spent, every gram made, every bit shared, every square meter used, or every hour worked. Let’s focus on getting the most out of the experience.

10. Good experience design is design in its minimum expression.

Less, but better.

We can get to know our customers better and they can get to know us better by having good experiences in each phase of the relationship. We can attract them by offering what they need and guide them by solving doubts and showing how we meet their needs. We can make them enjoy our services and products, and close the sales our business needs. Our customers will be our brand’s main supporters.

To make the relationship smoother, let’s focus on essential points of contact and only use features that add value. Let’s listen to users, understand their needs and desires and meet their expectations, always improving.