Dieter Rams: An inside look at the man who inspired Apple design

Apple’s gadgets are iconic, and that’s often thanks to the company’s resident Brit designer Jony Ive – but who inspired Apple’s chief of design?

From the iPhone to the iMac, the iPod to the MacBook, Apple design has dominated popular culture and gadgetdom for decades. Just this month, Apple hit headlines for its starkly futuristic iPhone X, and a new Apple Watch 3 that puts smartphone technology on your wrist.

Jony Ive, the Chief of Design at Apple, often credits German designer Dieter Rams as a major inspiration for his own work, and it’s easy to see why.

Rams worked extensively on Braun products throughout history, and there are clear parallels to be made between many of its products and Apple’s. For instance, the Braun T3 pocket radio looks markedly like an iPod, while Braun’s infrared emitter is similar to the old, standalone iSight camera from Apple.

The German designer is a famed follower of the minimalist “less but better” school of design that Apple holds dear, and taking a deeper look at Rams’ work over decades gone by gives us some real insight into Apple’s design today.

Our sister site Wallpaper has helpfully laid out Dieter Rams’ Ten Commandments of Design, as contributed by Rams personally back in 2007 while guest-editing the publication. You can read the article in full here:

In the piece, Rams writes that “good design is as little design as possible”, and says product makers should go “back to purity, back to simplicity”.

Here’s a shortened version of Rams’ 10 commandments:

  1. Good design is innovative
  2. Good design makers a product useful
  3. Good design is aesthetic
  4. Good design helps a product be understood
  5. Good design is unobtrusive
  6. Good design is honest
  7. Good design is durable
  8. Good design is consistent to the last detail
  9. Good design is concerned with the environment
  10. Good design is as little design as possible

You can read Rams’ full explanation for each maxim below:

Alternatively, you can look back through Wallpaper’s curated collection of 21 guest editors, from Zaha Hadid  to David Lynch:

Which Apple product from the company’s history do you think had the best design? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter.