I had the amazing opportunity to go see the Dieter Rams exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and I can't even begin to describe how amazing the experience was. If you're looking for inspiration of any kind, I highly recommend this exhibit. Prior to going, I would recommend viewing the documentary 'Objectified' - I just discovered it recently and it includes a section on Dieter Rams himself. A lot of today's most popular designers, including Apple's Jonathan Ives, attribute their insights to Dieter Rams in it, and it will give you some pretty good background to the exhibit.
The first thing I saw when I got into the exhibit: a display of some of the furniture he's worked on, and the first thought was "so that's where IKEA got their ideas from". The pieces on display were more than just beautiful, but they were somehow timeless - for pieces that were designed between 1960 and 1970, these were pieces that could fit into today's design.
But the part that resounded with me the most was a room with a display on one side and writing printed all across the wall on the other. The writing on the wall was the Ten Principles of Good Design:
- Good design is innovative
- Good design makes a product useful
- Good design is aesthetic
- Good design makes a product understandable
- Good design is honest
- Good design is unobtrusive
- Good design is long-lasting
- Good design is thorough down to the last detail
- Good design is environmentally friendly
- Good design is as little design as possible
The beauty of these principles is that they apply to the design of most things irregardless of the product you're working on . You can find these themes in every piece of his work - from furniture to software to lighters and vacuums, and I can't tell you how inspiring it was to see. You'll have to come see it for yourself.