// BarryBlog //

A creative dumping ground for issues that interest me personally and professionally, with the thought they may interest you too. Issues such as the business of design, the design of business, the design of objects, design strategy, creative direction, innovation, creativity, thought leadership, observations, as well as recommendations, mid-century modern decorative arts and architecture, and the state of my thinking (and currently the state of my heart).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Seperated At Birth? Dieter Rams and Apple’s Ive

Nearly every designer knows the name Jonathan Ives of Apple, Inc. But how many know the name Dieter Rams? Thanks to Onur at the great blog tuning slide, I’ve been newly introduced to this great talent.

I’d always heard that Jonathan Ives and his design tendency at Apple to "eliminate the unnecessary" was in some ways influenced by the design created in the mid-1960's at the German manufacturer BRAUN, but never new the face behind it all–Dieter Rams. It's really remarkable to see the similarities between Dieter’s work back then and the iconic Apple approach now. See here and here for two great examples.


I’ve been influenced by a great many people in my career as well. While I’ve never worked for a well known design company, I have worked with some incredible talents and have followed the work of many designers through the years. So I guess it should come as no big surprise that Jonathan Ives has been influenced by others as well.
In discovering the similarity in design approach between Dieter and Ives, I find it quite exciting to look back nearly fifty years to shed some light on what was being considered back then in terms of design. In my research I found a quote from Dieter describing what was different back then. It really hit home for me. He stated...

At Braun they were always willing to take a risk - nobody could tell you if a product would become successful. We as designers cannot work in a vacuum. The entrepreneur has to want it; the people at the top of the company have to want it…What’s missing today is that these kind of entrepreneurs are no longer there. Today there is only Apple and to a lesser extent Sony, but not to the same degree as was the case with Olivetti and BRAUN, or Peter Behrens at AEG, or Herman Miller and Charles Eames, Florence Knoll with Saarinen and so on. These kinds of connections are missing today
Apparently I’m a bit late in the game here, and a lot of blogs have already discussed this very comparison between BRAUN and Apple design before. If you find this as interesting as I do, here are a couple more resources.

designboom’s take on the subject
37signals take
DesignMuseum article
The complete tuning slide post
Erik Spiekermann on the BRAUN Apple
37signals post on Ives

One more thing... Here's another forward thinking quote from the 1960’s by Dieter Rams...

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 durable. Good design is consequent to the last detail. Good design is concerned with the environment. Good design is as little design as possible. Back to purity, back to simplicity.
Who was forward thinking enough over 40 years ago to suggest a concern for the environment? Wow.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Liz Ness said...

WOW! Thanks for the constant inspiration (on so many levels)! I'll be back to take in all of these links...love the quotes!

11:52 AM  
Blogger studiosmith said...

This is an inspiring designer. And to think I owned that fan in the 90's and tossed it with out knowing who designed it.

12:02 AM  

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