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ten principles of good design and two books

posted on 08 May 2010 I'm watching the first episode of The Genius of Design, a BBC documentary series exploring the history of design. It's not about software design, but one could argue that the process and the craft of design are interesting not matter what is being designed. Anyway. They briefly interview Dieter Rams, a very prolific designer who made the history of industrial design and came up with ten commandments. Read them slowly. The 10th is pure genius.
  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

(We are grateful to Mr Rams for such pearls of wisdom, and so is apple...)

All this talk about design reminds me of  the design of everyday things. It's a brilliant book, inspiring and foundational. I keep suggesting it, especially to programmers and makers alike. the design of everyday things - coverAnother title worth mentioning is the design of design, from the same folk who wrote "the mythical man-month". The new book is not as ground-breaking as the old one, but it's a good read of its own right.

On the subject of exploring and finding a design, watch this video on ted: build a tower, build a team (6 minutes).
Is there something like imdb or wikipedia for books? I keep linking amazon but I'd prefer to link to a website with a more informational angle.
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