Braun: An industry pioneer

January 27, 2010

Braun HF 1, Germany 1958

For my money, aside from Apple, there isn’t another company in the world that takes design as seriously as Braun. Their current designs are pretty cool, but their design in the 50’s, largely done by Dieter Rams, are still some of the most succinct and communicative designs in appliances and electronics that I’ve ever seen.

Take this radio for example. I showed some 7 year olds this picture, and asked them what it is. They immediately said ‘It’s a radio!” I asked them why they think it’s a radio. They said that the music comes out of the circle, and the other circle is to change the station (roughly translated). This is exactly why the design is so great. It communicates its exact usage in a very simple way. Look at that thing! It was designed in the early 1960’s. I would love to have one of these things today, just because of how cool the form is. A simple brick, with simple controls.

“Order rather than confusion, quiet rather than loud, unobtrusive rather than exciting, sparse rather than profuse, and well-balanced rather than exalted.”
Dieter Rams

A great sentence fragment from a great designer.

After doing some research, I found something quite interesting…


Interesting, no? That’s the Braun T3 Pocket Radio next to Apple’s first-generation iPod. If you don’t see the similarities between these two, I advise you get your glasses checked.

Gizmodo did a great article a while back on Apple’s Braun-inspired designs in basically all of their main products, including the iMac, iPod, and the Mac Pro.

To close, I’ll leave you with Dieter Rams’ 10 design principles:

  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design makes a product useful
  • Good design is aesthetic
  • Good design helps us to understand a product
  • Good design is unobtrusive
  • Good design is honest
  • Good design is long-lasting
  • Good design is consequent to the last detail
  • Good design is concerned with the environment
  • Good design is as little design as possible

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