Before there was Steve Jobs, there was Dieter Rams

28 Feb

Before Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive at Apple, there was Dieter Rams at Braun. Beginning in 1955, he was the lead designer at this fabulous German company that has sadly lost the plot in recent years. Prior to becoming an exclusive shaver company, Braun made an array of consumer goods including clocks, cameras, radios and calculators. All bore the hallmark of Rams’ approach to “good design.” For more on that see here. For a quick look at Rams in person, visit GestaltTV. I don’t know much about this site which is dedicated to the exploration of visual culture, but from the looks of all the showcased videos, I’m going to be spending a lot of time there.

On a personal note, I was elated to find this video as I am a devotee of the old Braun designs. For me, they speak the language of the 1970s, the period which most influences my own approach to design. I still have my Braun travel alarm clock next to my bed. A high school graduation gift from neighbors, it’s a bit dusty and bruised but still works fine. With its easy on and off buttons and alarm-set dial, it remains the only clock I feel confident that will wake me without having a back-up in place. And there’s nothing like the fold down cover featuring different cities and time zones to stoke the flames of wanderlust…

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