August 29, 2021

Good Design Is About Restraints

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Posted by Sharmarke Hujale

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2 min read

I remember when I first started out in design, my early designs had no restraint. That was because of my relatively little experience at the time with clients who loved design with loads of information, leaving almost no space for the design to breathe.

For the most part, I have been dealing with making logos—which I enjoy doing wholeheartedly. The renowned graphic designer Paul Rand once said: “A logo cannot survive unless it is designed with the utmost simplicity and restraint.”

The German industrial designer Dieter Rams introduced the idea of the "Less, but better" approach by asking himself the question "Is my design, a good design".

It formed the basis for his ten principles of "good design" according to him:

  1. Good design is innovative. The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted.
  2. Good design makes a product useful. A product is bought to be used.
  3. Good design is aesthetic. The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products we use every day affect our person and our well-being. 
  4. Good design makes a product understandable. It clarifies the product’s structure.
  5. Good design is unobtrusive. Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools.
  6. Good design is honest. It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is.
  7. Good design is long-lasting. It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated.
  8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail. Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance.
  9. Good design is environmentally-friendly. Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment
  10. Good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials.

It's easier to keep adding stuff, but the challenge lies in keeping what's enough—in other words, subtract the design down to the essentials. We live in a fast-paced world, a noisy world. There's an overload of information. So, it's our job as designers not to overwhelm people. It is our job to make design easy accessible, simple to scan and has the information that's needed.

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