Good design is timeless --

Bad design; trendy. How do you tell them apart? The longer good design ferments, the more apparent it becomes.

The works of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix are still being enjoyed today and I will gladly wager that Yesterday will have a few billion views thirty years from now. Nickelback? Probably not.

Good design is honest -- In honest design, form follows function. Every design element should serve a useful purpose, whether it is the door handle on a car or the spokes of a wheel.

Functional minimalism is the natural byproduct of treasuring honesty, timelessness and as little as possible in design.

Purely ornamental design elements reek of dishonesty. Fake wood grain, plastic wheel spokes and carbon bonnet decals are considered bad taste, exactly because they are about as timeless as the suspension on a 3.0L Ford Cortina from Brakpan.

As someone making a living by designing digital products, I agree with Dieter Rams when he says that good design is:

  1. Innovative
  • Useful
  • Aesthethically pleasing
  • Understandable
  • Honest
  • Unobtrusive
  • Long-lived
  • Consistent in every detail
  • Environmentally friendly
  • As little design as possible