At the weekend I braved the snow and went along to the Design Museum, mainly to see the Ergonomics – Real Design exhibition, but I also got a chance to have a wander around the Dieter Rams exhibition, Less and More.
I’ve always had a real interest in ergonomics, and have been actively working on ergonomic driven design since a work placement three years ago with a Design & Ergonomics consultancy.
The exhibition was still incredibly interesting and reinforced a lot of my thinking, but it also gave even more food for thought for things I hadn’t before considered. One thing in particular was the use of Braille, and the demonstration of a recent Harry Potter book. Yes it makes sense for many publications to be available via Braille, but consider the actual practicalities: One single copy of a Harry Potter book in Braille is a set of 11 A4 size volumes. Not particularly accessible is it?
On another very interesting note was the work exhibited by CCD which looked at control room environments, room layouts and workflows within a set space. This was quite similar to a couple of recent projects I have been working on where we created new control room concept mock-ups at 1:1 scale out of foamboard and timber, a lightweight and easy to work with alternative to the real thing, prior to committing to final design and manufacture.
The exhibition gives examples of design that you may not have even considered have a huge ergonomic input (such as the layout of an operation room or train driver viewpoint) to the more obvious remote controls and tape measures, and overall demonstrates what is truly considered real design.
To top it all off there is some really nice graphics about the place too. (Low quality photos from my Blackberry, so I encourage you to head over and see the originals for yourself)
Also, the Dieter Rams exhibition, it is a fantastic representation of everything any designer should strive for within design:
1. Good design is innovative.
2. Good design makes a product useful.
3. Good design is aesthetic.
4. Good design makes a product understandable.
5. Good design is unobtrusive.
6. Good design is honest.
7. Good design is long-lasting.
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
9. Good design is environmentally friendly.
10. Good design is as little design as possible.
(Copyright Dieter Rams, amended March 2003 and October 2009)
And with a great selection of both Rams’ and Braun’s work on display it’s easy to see why both are so successful.
Leaving the exhibition you are left with the passing quote of “Dieter Rams is not Braun, and Braun is not Dieter Rams, yet for years they were synonymous…”, which despite everything you’ve just seen, makes perfect sense.