October 14, 2010

Principles of Good Design

In this fascinating video we get a glimpse of the 10 principles of good design as set out by legendary designer Dieter Rams. You can easily apply these principles to any design discipline – not just product or industrial design. Let’s take a look how they can help guide design in the digital space:

Good design is innovative.

Definitely something that defines our digital age where everyone is striving to offer new ways for people to interact with brands or content. The app phenomenon is a perfect example where the constraints of the screen size is causing people to think differently about the user experience. Flipboard for iPad is a great showcase of innovation where all your social media content is repackaged beautifully.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design makes a product useful.

Utility through digital means is still a hot topic for marketers and for agencies like AKQA and R/GA who’s Nike ID work exemplifies the philosphy of making things useful.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is aesthetic.

Apple has certainly taken a lot of inspiration from Dieter Rams and this extends to their websites. As we can see in this blog post their aesthetics have inspire many other websites.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design helps us to understand a product.

Usability has been important in digital since the very beginning and is still influencing how people design for the computer screen and for mobile devices. Good digital design should be intuitive and quick to comprehend. People won’t waste their time if a website is confusing.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is unobtrusive.

Dieter Rams believed that Less is More and while a lot of websites can go to the opposite extreme there are many that believe in keeping things pure. On the Obox Design blog we can see some great example of design being unobtrusive.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is honest.

Online you can easily be pulled up for using design elements that are untrue or badly Photoshopped. Make sure you keep an honest eye or it could backfire like this example from Microsoft.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is durable.

Unfortunately the digital world falls flat on its face here when we look at sites from the recent past that certainly don’t stand up today. But some sites will look as good in 5 years as they do today.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is consequent to the last detail.

“Pixel perfect” would be a term that Dieter Rams would no doubt love. But do we spend enough time thinking about every detail of a website? Take a look at some D&AD winners to see what keeping an eye on the detail looks like.


………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is concerned with the environment.

This principle is a little hard to apply to the digital realm. But you can still design responsibly and cater for people with certain needs though accessible design principles.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Good design is as little design as possible.

Very hard to achieve but beautiful when realised as this collection of sites prove – on the Minimal Sites blog.

June 18, 2009

Design goldmine

pt

This article on the Smashing Magazine website brings together some of the many websites that gather the best elements of good web design. Whether it is simple navigation, audio controls, tabs, layouts etc… you’ll find inspiration on sites such as Pattern Tap, Design Snips and many more.

Check out the site now. Thanks to my colleague Michiel for sharing this with me.