Few individuals have had such an impact on regular, everyday objects as Dieter Rams. An industry legend, he led the design department at Braun from 1961 to 1995, penning some of the brand’s most famous products, which went on to inspire many of today’s most notable designers.
Born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1932, Rams is known best as a pioneer of consumer design. His four decade stint at Braun saw him design everyday products that placed the consumer first, with many of them paving the way for some of the best-selling products of all time.
It was Rams’ design philosophy that has had the greatest effect on those that came after him. A master of minimal, simple designs that put function first, he believed in “less, but better”. For him, a product should be useful, unobtrusive and free from affection and superfluous detailing. He applied this vision to everything from watches to record players and radios, and the results were designs which have arguably never been bettered.
Simplicity and function were two pillars of a Rams design. His work had a consistent feel, with everything meant to be easy to use, which in turn contributed to its beauty.
A number of Rams’ designs from the 1950s and ‘60s look eerily similar to 21st century products. Take his Braun T3 pocket radio for example - designed in 1958, its simple form and circular wheel clearly inspired the iPod. In fact, Apple’s ex-design chief Jony Ive has previously alluded to Rams being his role model and inspiration.
Celebrating the life and work of Rams, Gary Hustwit produced the documentary Rams on him in 2019, charting his success and his wide-reaching influence. For just 24 hours, Rams will be streamed for free on Vimeo. To watch it, click here.
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