The story of Dieter Rams, a “good” design and his influence on Alxedo (1/2)
February 23, 2021
Our Smart Water Purifier has essentially one purpose — purifying water to the best possible quality to ensure the provision of pure drinking water for our clients.
Nonetheless, we at Alxedo are also strong believers in the concept of design, its appeal and its affordance. Most of the objects we use have a core purpose, but don’t we all feel better using it when it looks beautiful, feels beautiful and affords its purpose in the best possible way? Let’s be honest, we do! However, the question of how we create a purposeful device that is also perceived as “well” designed and affords a joy of use and possession remains. What does a “good” design look like and are there any instructions on how to create it?
Dieter Rams was not only an important inspiration in the design process of our Smart Water Purifier, he is a legendary industrial designer who also heavily influenced one of the most famous creative companies in the world: Apple.
He was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1932 and started his career as a product designer at the German electrical products company Braun in 1955. In the following 40 years at Braun, Dieter Rams climbed up quickly the hierarchy to his promotion to chief of design overseeing more than 500 innovative products during his time at Braun. In the late 1970s, Dieter Rams was becoming increasingly interested in the world of things that surrounded him — “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colours and noises.”
The question he constantly asked himself at this time was: “Is my design good design?”
Good design is obviously subjective and can’t necessarily be measured. You might perceive something different as “well” designed as we do and that is totally fine.
Nonetheless, Dieter Rams attempted to express what he believed to be the most important principles for design. In the following, we would like to introduce his 10 design principles by applying the examples of our own design considerations in the process of the development of our Smart Water Purifier. Today we would like to talk about the first 5 principles:
1. Good design is innovative:
The possibilities of progression are not, by any means, exhausted. We developed a purifier that utilises the technology of the internet of things to indicate to its users in real-time all necessary information about their water to build trust in their purified water.
2. Good design makes a product useful:
A product is bought to be used. By removing unnecessary buttons and connecting our purifier directly to the pipe, we created a solution where the focus is set on the affordance and convenience of the engagement with it. The user opens our dedicated tap and freshly purified water flows, the user closes the tap and the purifier shuts down, no more than that.
3. Good design is aesthetic:
A product is used every single day and therefore, it has undoubtedly an impact on the well-being of its user. The minimalistic appearance of our purifier perfectly blends into your kitchen. By having a clean and modern look it creates a calm atmosphere but reminds you at the same time about the importance of your water consumption.
4. Good design makes a product understandable:
It clarifies and clearly expresses the product’s function. Probably the hardest challenge in the design process of a water purifier since the purification process happens under the hood of the purifier. Therefore, we developed our application to shed as much light as possible on the process and water quality to incorporate a design aspect making our product understandable.
5. Good design is unobtrusive:
Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. A water purifier should never be obtrusive or distractive. Its perception should emphasize its purpose of the provision of purity. To conceptualise a purifier as unobtrusive as possible we leave it up to you if you rather would like to store it under your kitchen sink or on top of your counter. Additionally, we reduced its noise while running to a minimum and decreased its overall size to the perfect equilibrium of a sufficient water flow rate and an unobtrusive overall size.
Those were the first 5 design principles and a first glance at how they helped us to design our Smart Water Purifier.
Did you find this article interesting? Next week, we will continue elaborating the remaining 5 design principles. In addition to that a bit more about Dieter Rams and how he inspired Apple to create such amazing products.
Since we learned today that design is not measurable, we would like to invite you to give us your opinion on ours by leaving a comment on what makes a design a “good” design for you.
Stay safe and see you next week!
Your Alxedo Team