What is Good Design?

What separates well-designed products from ordinary ones? Eye-catching aesthetics? Good quality? Clever concepts? While these are all contributing factors, the real difference lies in how they make us feel. Every experience has an emotional element, and using products is no different. Products that are well designed connect with us on a deeper emotional level and give us a memorable and enjoyable experience when we use them or place them in our homes. 

But how do we quantify good design? The industrial designer, Dieter Rams, who was responsible for the design of German consumer products company Braun’s products for many years, developed a list of 10 commandments to measure whether a design is good or not. Created half a century ago, these principals are still used by many industrial designers all over the world today. A design, according to Rams, is Good when it:

  1. Is innovative  (providing a new and fresh solution)
  2. Makes a product useful (not only functional but enjoyable to use)
  3. Is aesthetic (well-executed & beautiful) 
  4. Makes a product understandable (clarifies the product’s structure & use)  
  5. Is unobtrusive (both neutral and restrained, leaving room for the user’s self-expression)
  6. Is honest (what you see is what you get)
  7. Is long-lasting (avoids being fashionable. good quality)
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail (displays care and accuracy)
  9. Is environmentally friendly (minimises physical and visual pollution throughout its lifecycle)
  10. Involves as little design as possible (less, but better – focussing on the essential aspects. pure and simple)

These principles are universal and can be applied to all design fields. At TOO designs it is a great guideline for us when we create new products, including our TOO D Magnetic Art which was recently awarded a Good Design Award.

The Good Design Awards is Australia’s top international design endorsement program. Recognised by the World Design Organization (WDO), it is one of the oldest and most prestigious international design awards in the world, promoting excellence in design and innovation since 1958. The program covers a diverse spectrum of design with 11 specific Design Disciplines, spanning 28 Categories.

A product displaying the Good Design Award Tick of approval gives customers the assurance that it has been professionally designed to the highest standards and put through a comprehensive evaluation process by an independent panel of design experts. It is a visible indicator of good design and a brand’s commitment to excellence in design and innovation.

A definitive theme we’ve seen amongst this year’s Good Design Award Winners is customisability; products that be personalised to users preferences and colour choices. This is a feature we strive to create in our products and it is exciting to see so many great brands doing the same thing.

Here are our top home decor picks from this year's awards.

Good design award winners Australia - What is Good design? Blog by TOO designs

Image from top left corner: Stack by Zachary Hanna for Nau; Ridge Table by Lucy Grant & Adam Brislin for Beeline Design; Code lighting system by Ben Wahrlich for Nightworks; Bauhaus by Helen Kontouris for National Gallery of Victoria; TOO d magnetic art by Thomas & Sureen Gouws for TOO designs; Tait Scape collection by Adam Goodrum for Tait; Monolith Coffee Table by Pavel Vetrov & Hegi Design House for Hegi Design House; ISM Edo wall light collection by Simon Christopher, Celina Clarke & Thomas Shelley for ISM Objects; Linea by Jim Hannon-Tan& Made by Pen (for Made by Pen).

Written by Thomas Gouws

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