The 10 Principles of Good Design by Dieter Rams are timeless. This video with Rams does a really great job of going over them.

Every designer should know them and understand them, but anyone who utilizes products and appreciates good design will also find these principles worthwhile.

The above video is a very succinct introduction to his principles. I have also pasted his principles below in written form for easy reference.

10 Principles of Good Design

  1. Good design is innovative
  2. Good design makes a product useful
  3. Good design is aesthetic
  4. Good design makes a product understandable
  5. Good design is unobtrusive
  6. Good design is honest
  7. Good design is long-lasting
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  9. Good design is environmentally friendly
  10. Good design involves as little design as possible

For those looking for even more info about these principles, Vitsoe has a write up about them with some additional info. Rams has designed furniture and shelving for Vitsoe for decades. The Gary Hustwit documentary Rams is also fantastic.

Some may wonder how do these compare to my Guidelines for thoughtful product design. Rams’s principles are industrial design focused, and they are kept high-level. My guidelines are more aimed at products with user interfaces and products that bridge industrial and interaction design. Some of my guidelines are also much more prescriptive.