Good Design: Always the Next Big Trend

Good-Design-is-Unobstrusive

We’ve been reading a lot about “flat design” lately, a seemingly new approach to Web design that is making the Web pundits predict that “This is the future of Web design – the next big thing!” Is flat design really as new and revolutionary as the pundits claim? Or is it just a return to good design fundamentals?

A Visit with Dieter Rams, Circa 1970

Recently, I stumbled across an old article about German industrial designer Dieter Rams that brought the current buzz about “flat design” into perspective. Now, I know what you’re thinking – “There was no Internet in the 1970s. How is this dusty old article relevant to Web design today?” Let’s take a look.

Back in the ’70s, Rams was concerned with the visual state of the world around him which he called “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors, and noises.” Aware that he was a contributor to that world, he asked himself, “Is my design good design?”

As good design cannot be measured in a finite way, Rams set about expressing the ten most important principles for what he considered good 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

As a healthcare marketer today, I reflect on Dieter Rams’ observations of 40 years ago. Our world – more than ever – is “an impenetrable confusion of forms, colors and noises.” Our beloved Internet is a cesspool of noise – bedazzled with spinning whirlygigs, bric-a-brac, and meaningless swooshes.

Mobile Computing Forces Simplicity

The rise of mobile computing – and with it, smaller displays and lower bandwidth – has forced graphic designers to revisit the same question that Dieter Rams asked himself, “Is my design good design?”

Despite the contemporary buzz about “flat design” and whether or not it’s here to stay, my observation is this: “flat design” is, in most ways, a return to good design. As Mr. Rams says, “Is the design innovative? Is the design aesthetically pleasing? Is the design ‘as little design as possible?’ Is the design unobtrusive?”

Good design is always the next big trend.

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This entry was posted in Admin Feed, Design, Industry Trends, Marketing by Bill Basler. Bookmark the permalink.
Bill Basler

About Bill Basler

Named Ad Person of the Year. Adjunct professor of graphic design. President of an advertising agency. Yeah, Bill has a pretty impressive background. But what’s even more impressive is his ability to consistently deliver outstanding creative. His team wins awards for design and usability, but more importantly they know how to “wow” our clients with both eye-catching design and jaw-dropping results. Bill has spent the last 25 years on the agency side, first as a senior art director and then an associate creative director for two regional firms, and most recently as president of his own design agency. He is also an active member of the Advertising Federation of Cedar Rapids and an adjunct professor of graphic design at Mount Mercy University. Bill holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Iowa State University and while he cut his teeth on designing award-winning print campaigns, he is equally comfortable designing across platforms including Web, social media and video. This father of six is married to a radio D.J., likes antiques boats and is the only one at Geonetric that insists on using a Mac.

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