My name is Dylan. I design things.

On the 11th Principle of Good Design  

I believe we need more design writers, and that we need more designers speaking their minds and advancing the field. With that in mind my ears perk up when I see articles with interesting titles ie:“The 11th Principle of Good Design”. My interest soon turns to the feelings of dissapointment and the general mood of a stodgey curmudgeon when I start bumping into ideas I do not agree with. Alas, that’s the way the world works, and in the spirit of education, challenging my own paradigms, and generally bettering the trade as a whole I feel compelled to speak up.

Where I tend to agree with Rams’ principles in all cases while judging a design (which I think was his point when devising them), I do not agree with Wells’ assertions that Rams’ principles are flawed because they are old and do not consider software, and that iteration is a key indicator of good design.

Firstly, design is the engineering of solutions to a problem, it is timeless, it’s not medium/industry centric so the software/age thing is irrelevant.

Secondly, and maybe I’m just getting lost in the semantics but the author is also saying that it is impossible for a designer to devise and deliver a solution correctly on the first effort. Example: If I want a logo which consists of a black circle with a QR code in the center, that must fit in the lower right hand corner of a stop sign, and I need it in the next hour. According to the author’s perspective, if there weren’t 30 drafts and the designer being open to improvement at every turn it violates his 11th principle and thus, is not good design.

I will take deliberate/considerate/responsible effort any day over furious iteration for iteration’s sake. But I will also concede the point that while you may knock efforts out of the park from time to time, any designer worth their salt will be humble and open to improvement and reflection, and that a bad designer never listens to feedback.

In short, this article touches on several correct premises, but is flirting with what maybe should become the real 11th principle.

A good design is effective. (Sometimes it just takes time to find the right solution.)