Dieter Rams

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Dieter Rams (2010)

Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden ) is a German modern industrial designer . The aim of his designs is the clarity of the form, material justice and ease of use. In terms of design, he is close to the Ulm School of Design .

Live and act

After the Second World War , Rams studied architecture and interior design at the Werkkunstschule Wiesbaden until 1953 , interrupted by training as a carpenter . From 1953 to 1955 Rams worked, among other things, in Otto Apel's architectural office . Since 1955, Rams worked for the electrical appliance manufacturer Braun , first as an architect and interior designer, from 1961 to 1995 as head of design.

One of the first designs for Braun was in 1956, together with Hans Gugelot , the radio-record player combination SK 4 (“Snow White's Coffin”). The radically reduced design made of white painted sheet metal body with a cover made of acrylic glass and side panels made of light wood became a classic and model. Rams and his design team, including Gerd Alfred Müller , Reinhold Weiss , Dietrich Lubs , Roland Ullmann and Florian Seiffert, shaped the typical, clear appearance of the Braun Group's products in the years that followed, well into the 1980s. Many of the resulting products are now considered design classics such as the world receiver T 1000 , the electrostatic loudspeaker LE1 , the hi-fi components directing and studio , the pocket and table lighters Linear and cylindric or the pocket calculator ET 66 , which he worked with Dietrich Lubs designed. Together with Jürgen Greubel, he designed the MPZ 21 citrus press in 1972.

As of 1957, Dieter Rams worked as a furniture designer for Otto Zapf , which shortly afterwards, in Vitsoe + Zapf 1969 in Vitsoe has been renamed. The 606 shelving system (1960) and the 620 armchair program (1962) are among the best-known among the furniture that has received multiple awards. The latter are now on the market again as re-editions, as is the side table 621. The desk 570 (or 606) shows the utmost consistency in terms of simplicity and usability. The range of seating furniture, including armchair 601 with metal runners, is also widespread. The selected product name always indicates the year of origin of the first version with the first two digits. More recent designs are the cloakroom range 030 (2003) and the nesting table range 010 (2001).

In 1986, Rams designed the rgs series for the manufacturer FSB, a selection of door handles, window handles, etc., with a contemporary look with a special focus on gripping.

From 1981 until his retirement in 1997, Dieter Rams taught as professor for industrial design at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts . From 1987 to 1997 he was President of the German Design Council . Rams has been a consultant for the design magazine Form since 2003 . Today, for example, quotes from its design forms can be found in Apple's products .


In 1964 his works were shown at documenta III in Kassel in the Industrial Design department . At the end of the 1960s, Rams was involved in the preliminary planning for the modern cottage settlement on the Rote Hang in Kronberg / Taunus . The project was finally implemented around 1970 by the Königstein architect Rudolf Kramer and the Frankfurt property developer Polensky and Zöller .

Dieter Rams had numerous exhibitions around the world and was honored worldwide. In 1991 the Royal College of Art in London awarded him an honorary doctorate . Several devices and furniture designed by him belong to the inventory of the Museum of Modern Art in New York . Dieter Rams is a TUM Distinguished Affiliated Professor at the Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University of Munich.

For his eightieth birthday, Dieter Rams wanted essential design objects from the manufacturer's Braun Collection on permanent loan to the Frankfurt Museum of Applied Art . 243 exhibits, including “all the models from the Rams era”, are to form the basis for the museum's planned new permanent exhibition.

Regarding Apple, Rams says: “You can count on ten fingers the companies that take design really seriously. Apple is one of them. ”There is evidence that Steve Jobs particularly valued Dieter Rams' designs. Jonathan Ive , Apple's chief design officer, was heavily influenced by Rams' work and principles in his designs for Apple.

Ten theses for good design

As early as the mid-1970s, Rams began to condense his ideas on design into rules, which he further developed over the years and formulated into theses. Rams sees the theses of his biographer Lovell as "useful for orientation and understanding". At the same time, Rams says, "Good design is in constant development - just like technology and culture."

  • Good design is innovative.
  • Good design makes a product useful.
  • Good design is aesthetic.
  • Good design makes a product understandable.
  • Good design is unobtrusive.
  • Good design is honest.
  • Good design is long-lasting.
  • Good design is consistent down to the last detail.
  • Good design is environmentally friendly.
  • Good design is as little design as possible.



With the initial issue date July 12, 2018 which gave German Post AG in the series Design from Germany a postage stamp in the denomination of € 3.45 out showing the world receiver T 1000th The design comes from the graphic designers Sibylle Haase and Fritz Haase from Bremen.


  • 2016: Modular World. Vitra Design Museum
  • 2010: Less and More. Dieter Rams' design ethos. Museum of Applied Arts Frankfurt (further stops in Osaka, London, Tokyo)
  • 2006: Art of Reason. Moss Gallery, New York
  • 2005: Dieter Rams / Less but Better. Kenninji Temple, Kyoto
  • 2003: Dieter Rams Design - The fascination of the simple. Design Center Bremen
  • 2001: Dieter Rams house. Centro Cultural de Belém, Experimetadesign 2001, Lisbon
  • 1990: More or less: Braun design in comparison. Museum of Arts and Crafts Hamburg
  • 1980: Dieter Rams &. International Design Center, Berlin


  • Dieter Rams (Ed.): Less, but better. Less but better. 1994, ISBN 978-3-9803485-1-5 .
  • Dieter Rams: The quiet order of things. Concept and editing: Uta Brandes. 1994, ISBN 978-3-88243-167-4 .
  • Dieter Rams: HiFi: The last edition. Kronberg 1990.
  • Dieter Rams & Roland Ullmann : Good form is never perfect . In: Form - Zeitschrift für Gestaltung 108–109 / 1984–1985.
  • Views from and to Dieter Rams. Heine / Lenz / Zizka and Modus, 2002.
  • François Burkhardt & Inez Franksen, (Eds.): Design: Dieter Rams &. 1981, ISBN 3-920372-34-4 .
  • Ina Grätz & Sabine Schulze: Apple Design . Ed .: Museum for Art and Commerce Hamburg. Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern 2011, ISBN 978-3-7757-3011-2 .
  • Jo Klatt & Günter Staeffler (eds.): Braun + Design Collection. 40 years of Braun Design - 1955 to 1995. ISBN 3-9803485-3-9 .
  • Harald Klinke: Apple design: the art of product design between user-centeredness and aesthetics. In: No. 1, 2010 ( PDF; 2.9 MB )
  • Sophie Lovell: Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible. 2011, ISBN 978-0-7148-4918-8 .
  • Bernd Polster: Braun: 50 years of product innovations. Dumont, Cologne 2005, ISBN 978-3-8321-7364-7 .
  • Regine Scourtelis, Achim Deimling-Ostrinsky (photos): Some like it pure. In: ZEITmagazin . No. 42, 1990, pp. 80-88 ( PDF; 885 kB )
  • Keiko Ueki-Polet & Klaus Klemp (eds.): Less and More. The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams. Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-89955-277-5 .
  • Miki Shimokawa: Catalog for the exhibition “Dieter Rams / Less but better - Less but better - The fascination of the simple” .
  • Hans Wichmann: Courage to start, Erwin Braun 1921–1992. 1998, ISBN 3-7913-2023-8 . (including a comprehensive description of the origins of the Braun design and its protagonists)

Web links

Commons : Dieter Rams  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Film about Dieter Rams

  • "Who is Mr. Braun?" - The designer Dieter Rams. Script and direction: Susanne Mayer-Hagmann. Production: WDR 1996, 45 min
  • "Rams" - Directed by Gary Hustwit. Production: Jessica Edwards, 2018, 74 min

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Polster, Bernd: Braun: 50 years of product innovations . DuMont Literature and Art Verlag, Cologne 2005, ISBN 3-8321-7364-1 .
  2. Mirko Borsche, Unter Strom, in: Zeit-Magazin, November 5, 2015, p. 77.
  3. Dieter Rams and Hans Gugelot, 1956
  4. Land of the Inventors - Rams and Apple
  5. Mirjam Hecking: Dieter Rams: The Apple Inspirator . In: Manager Magazin . October 22, 2007 (interview)
  6. See Karin Berkemann (arr.): “And again I was lucky…”. At home with Braun designer Dieter Rams, in: moderneREGIONAL 1, 2014 [1] .
  7. TUM Distinguished Affiliated Professor ( Memento from August 7, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Design objects by Dieter Rams soon in the Museum of Applied Art  ( page no longer available , search in web archives ). @1@ 2Template: Dead Link / In: Frankfurter Neue Presse . 3rd July 2012
  9. Thiemo Heeg: Designer Dieter Rams in conversation: "Braun suggested Apple - a compliment". In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung . May 27, 2010, accessed May 26, 2013 .
  10. Walter Isaacson: Steve Jobs: The Authorized Biography of the Apple Founder . Translated from English by Antoinette Gittinger, Oliver Grasmück, Dagmar Mallet, Elfi Martin, Andrea Stumpf and Gabriele Werbeck. 1st edition. C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-570-10124-7 , here p. 155.
  11. Walter Isaacson: Steve Jobs: The Authorized Biography of the Apple Founder . Translated from English by Antoinette Gittinger, Oliver Grasmück, Dagmar Mallet, Elfi Martin, Andrea Stumpf and Gabriele Werbeck. 1st edition. C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-570-10124-7 , here p. 402.
  12. ^ German Designer Club: Honorary Members ( Memento from August 11, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on February 10, 2014
  13. Rams. Retrieved September 19, 2019 (American English).