Robert L. Peters

16 September 2008

1960s Braun foretells Apple’s future?



Winnipeg, Canada

I had a pleasant outdoor lunch at the Forks with old friend Gary Ludwig yesterday (Creative Director at Interbrand in Toronto, back in the ‘Peg for the weekend bar mitzvah of a friend’s son) and the inimitable(?) Dieter Rams came up in conversation. A discussion ensued regarding the intrinsic qualites imbued in Rams’ remarkable products designed for Braun in the 1960s and ’70s (I still use my ergonomically-perfect 30+ year-old Braun ET66 calculator daily—not even a change of batteries in three decades!), and Gary mentioned an article he had seen on Gizmodo recently that reveals the uncanny design similarity between Apple’s products today and Braun products from when we were kids.

When Gary returned to Toronto last night he sent me the link—here are Dieter Rams’ ‘10 principles for good design’ as often cited by Jonathan Ive (the “genius” designer behind Apple’s successful products):

• 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.

(Thanks, Gary).

Images: Some direct design comparisons between the Braun products by Rams and the Apple products by Ives. The interface of the new iPhone looks remarkably like my old Braun calculator (which I wouldn’t part with even if you offered me an iPhone in exchange). “Homage? Evolution? Rip-off? Decide for yourself…”

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