10 Tenets 4 Good Design

Are principles of furniture design applicable to shoe design?  
The exhibit, LESS AND MORE The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, presents a compelling argument that good design, regardless of product, should meet “certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic.” 1 Mr. Rams’ Ten Principles for Good Design are the quintessential guidelines for a variety of reputable products that have successfully met the challenge of aligning product specifications with human nature.  SUCCINCT and philosophical, the Ten Principles continue to influence innovative designers. 

Showing consideration for the consumer’s self-expression and well-being inspires  designers to develop products with INTEGRITY.  Thoughtful features like the handle of a Clarisonic skin care brush, the insoles of Dansko shoes, or the “interchangeability” of the Vitsoe shelving system, show respect for the consumer.
The Less and More exhibit showcases several examples of Mr. Rams’ expertise in designing household appliances for Braun and furniture for Vitsoe. 2  As you examine the appliances you notice that SUPERIOR product performance is INHERENT in the design.  When utility and simplicity are in alignment, a timeless aesthetic is created that consumers desire in all areas of their lives.  For example, the design principles applied to a coffee maker were also applicable to shelves.    

The 606 Universal Shelving System was designed by Dieter Rams in 1960 for Vitsoe. 3
By insisting on quality materials and un-compromising production standards, the 606 System is the epitome of the Ten Principles.  Interchangeable components give the consumer the freedom to design applications for display shelves in a fashion boutique or versatile closet storage for shoes, handbags, and accessories.  Color choices are limited to black, silver, and off-white to complement the decor of your home and/or business. 
In addition to good design, Vitsoe attributes its success to employing “like-minded people” concerned about the consumer’s experience with their product.  Vitsoe isn’t dependent on robots programmed for production goals because they trust humans with quality control.

After all these years, Mr. Rams' 606 shelving system still looks very modern and is suitable for commercial and residential storage.

Dansko “Professional” clogs are a popular choice for healthcare workers.  Design features like a “contoured footbed,” shock absorption, and wiggle room for your toes makes these shoes durable and comfortable to serve employees in their professions. 5 Since these shoes transition from work gear to casual wear effortlessly, many style choices are available.
In order to increase their “earth friendly” business practices, Dansko implemented a “Declaration Of Eco-Independence” at their West Grove, Pennsylvania headquarters. 6  The corporate decision to increase awareness of their ecological impact prompted Dansko to create a “Living Wall” of plants to act as a “bio-filter” in their lobby. 7 The foot-friendly design of their Professional clogs also encourages people to walk to more places instead of driving.

Once you’re familiar with Mr. Rams’ Ten Principles you’ll begin to scrutinize products for his standards of longevity, completeness, simplicity, and beauty.  When designers consider the entire lifecycle of the product, it’s possible to avoid complicated systems, waste, and planned obsolescence.  When designers consider the consumer’s lifestyle, good designbecomes a sustainable strategy:  What’s good for people and the environment is good for business.


All photos taken with permission from SFMOMA.

5      www.dansko.com/Our%20Home/