10 Commandments of Good Design

The 10 Commandments of Design according to Dieter Rams were formed in the 1970s and are widely considered to be the basic principles of good design.

Dieter Rams is a German industrial designer who has collected enough awards since the 60’s to fill a trophy room, most recently the Lifetime Achievement Medal at the London Design Festival in 2013. He worked at Braun, as the chief of design, for 40 years and oversaw over 500 innovative product designs.

Dieter Rams

Fun fact

Rams publicly stated that Apple was the only modern company to adopt his principles and most notably the calculator in iOS3 was based on the 1987 Braun Calculator designed by Rams. 



Braun Apple Calculator Mold Agency

Down to the 10 Commandments

Good Design:

is innovative

makes a product useful

is aesthetic

makes a product understandable

is unobtrusive

is honest

is long-lasting

is thorough

is environmentally friendly

is as little design as possible



Imaginative design collaborates with improving technology and the possibility of progression is endless.

Useful products

Every product has a use and good design accentuates its positive features while disregarding anything negative.


Good design lends itself to functionality; a product is not beautiful if it is complicated to use! Apple are known for their early understanding of how user experience and design are connected.


Again Apple is a great example of this; good design shows off the main function of a product clearly and quickly, making it understandable and intuitive.


Many artists and designers debate this principle, suggesting that good design is obtrusive, stand-out and decorative. Rams however, coming from an industrial design background felt that design should be neutral to leave room for the end user’s self-expression.


No design should promise something it’s not, good design doesn’t mislead.


Following on from our previous blog posts on Website Design Trends and Design Trends 2017, much of what you see in design these days passes with the changing fashions. Rams had a good point; design should be timeless. No piece of art or kitchen gadget should look outdated in 6 months time.


Throwaway details should be avoided; being careful and accurate during the design process is being respectful to your design.

Friendly to the environment

We live in a wasteful world and Rams was careful to point out that good design doesn’t harm it’s environment either physically or aesthetically. These days, with a good proportion of design being online we consider this rule in terms of aesthetics; does the design do harm to the rest of it’s environment.

Less is more

Concentrating on the essential aspects and not cluttered, pure and simple, minimalist.

Dieter Rams Design Mold Agency

See more examples of Dieter Rams work here.
Want to explore these principles and apply them to your own product? Talk to us.