Before Apple made simplicity mainstream, architect and industrial designer Dieter Rams was an advocate for “less, but better” design at appliance company Braun. In his article “Omit the Unimportant” republished in The Industrial Design Reader, Rams provides these guidelines for good design:
Provide a clear function: “Every manufactured item sends out signals to the mind or emotions… But the most important factor is whether the item can communicate its use.”
Remove all distractions: “One of the most significant design principles is to omit the unimportant in order to emphasize the important.”
Rams advises artists to be more accountable for their work. It’s easy to lose sight of your user’s needs due to current trends, self-expression, novelty, or competition over style. He reminds us that the purpose of design is to make products useful, not more complicated. After all, “good design means as little design as possible.”
Read more about Ram’s philosophy here.