Braun: Designed to Keep is a book to keep


Braun: Designed to Keep is a book to keep -Gudstory

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Every object made by humans has a story. It tells the story of the people who created it, the materials chosen and the creative inspiration. Only when you understand the story do you understand the meaning of something. So says Dieter Rams, who led product design at Braun from 1961 to 1995.

Braun: designed to last Braun’s story. It has been described as “the most comprehensive history” of the company to date. Explaining that it required over 400 pages and 500 images, including never-before-published archival material and brand new full-page photography of Braun’s most iconic products, each with Ramses’ “lesser, but better “Includes perspectives that will directly impact designers. Like Naoto Fukasawa and Jony Ive of Apple.

What was most surprising when I looked at an upgraded copy was how desirable many of those early Braun products remain today, some of which were introduced nearly 70 years ago. No surprise, I suppose, given the disposable detritus you’ll find on Amazon and AliExpress, places where product design comes before the gods of mass consumption and tools contrasted with flourishes of useless decoration. are usually reserved for the Walmart cereal aisle.

I mean, just look at the TP1 (1959) in the image below, the portable predecessor to the Walkman that functioned as a radio and also played records from underneath like a Minit turntable, and the T3 transistor radio (1958) which It certainly provided some inspiration for the iPod’s click wheel interface:

The TP1 (left), designed by Dieter Rams with the help of HFG Ulm in 1959, was a modular unit that included both a small transistor radio (T4) and phonograph (P1) for music on the go. The T3 (right) pocket radio, designed by Dieter Rams in 1958, was a breakthrough interface for the time.

Someone – possibly an advertising executive – is taking his TP1 portable music player for a walk.

Have you ever been stopped on your way by a table fan? Just look at HL1, which first appeared in 1961:

HL1 table fan, designed by Reinhold Weiss in 1961.

President John F. Kennedy being cooled by a fan in 1963.

Braun really excelled in hi-fi, and this wall unit designed in the mid-1960s was all about living in the space-age:

This wall-mounted hi-fi system was highly innovative in the mid-1960s, consisting of the TS45, TG60 and L450 units and designed by Dieter Rams in 1964 and 1965.

For Braun’s 100th anniversary, Virgil Abloh presented a version of the 60-year-old Hi-Fi, decked out in chrome and featuring a modern turntable.

Braun: designed to last Published by Phaidon and written by German design historian and curator Professor Klaus Klemp, who has carefully documented the work of Dieter Rams through major exhibitions and books over the past two decades. Dieter Rams: The Complete Works, If a group of experts gathered somewhere around the world to discuss the legacy of Braun or Rams, you can bet Klemp was invited.

Another thing I really enjoyed while flipping it over was noticing the shape and placement of the Braun logo – first introduced in 1935 with a raised “A”. ramsIn the excellent 2018 documentary directed by Gary Hustwit (which also stars Klemp), the acclaimed designer, on the occasion of his 86th birthday (now 91), says he always wanted the Braun logo to be small and unobtrusive — a battle he fought throughout his career. According to the company, there were at least 10 CEOs, all of whom wanted the wordmark printed loudly on every Braun product.

“When you’re new somewhere and you have to introduce yourself, or walk into a room and say ‘I’m so-and-so,’ you don’t yell. You should do this quietly,” Rhames said rams, “If every product screamed ‘I am Braun!’ It will become irritable.” This makes sense when you consider Rhames’ dedication to building a common design language during his four decades at the company.

The Braun product family – featured from 1960 to 1974 – was developed with a common design language.

In addition to the endless gadget porn, the book also aims to correct a few things about the Braun design for the historical record – namely, that Rams had helped. This is not a controversial situation. Although Rams’s identity is so intertwined with the company that he is sometimes mistakenly (or jokingly) called Mister Braun, he is the first to remind people that executing the company’s design strategy is always a It was a team effort. designed to hold An attempt is made to set the record straight by giving credit where credit is due.

Much of the book deals with the Braun we celebrate, not tolerate, so there’s plenty of history to reference whenever you want to better understand how the company’s thinking evolved.

Braun: designed to hold It begins after World War I, when Max Braun founded the company in Frankfurt, Germany in 1921, when Bauhaus design – and its emphasis on function – was taking root and Braun was making radios and phonographs. Braun’s sons joined the company in 1945, after World War II. Artur Braun was a talented engineer and provided input on the S50 electric dry shaver. It launched in 1950 and soon became the company’s most profitable product, establishing Braun as a symbol of post-war reconstruction and expansion efforts.

But it was his brother, Erwin Braun, who began gathering a group of collaborators in the 1950s to create instruments “in the style of our time,” says Klemp. Lacking skills himself, Erwin entered into a very successful business partnership with the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HFG) Ulm between 1956 and 1963. Ott Eicher, founder of the Ulm School, and Hans Gugelot, who taught product design there, were key participants, who ”no doubt had a great influence on Braun’s design mentality in the mid-1950s,” says Klemp. Reims 15 July 1955 Ko joined Braun as an interior designer, before leading Braun’s first interior design team in 1961, with Reinhold Weiss as his deputy. But according to Artur, his brother Erwin was “the true father of Braun design”.

Abundant archival material is used throughout the book. On the left, the product labeling on the watch face is evaluated – Braun has relied on the Akzidenz-Grotesk typeface since 1955. On the right, the team discusses models of future hi-fi systems.

Credits can also be seen on each product’s photo, including a caption naming the original designer and the date it was first produced. Spoiler: Not every famous Braun design is a Dieter Rams design. The book concludes with 60 biographies in a section titled “Design is made by people.”

The HF1 TV, designed by Herbert Hirsch in 1958, had just one button and display on the front, like many earlier touchscreen smartphones.

The book is presented chronologically, but full-page photography (and the author) encourages the reader to wander casually between the products and profiles of each designer and then their influences throughout the company’s 102-year history. Navigation is aided by a comprehensive index that also identifies which pages contain pictures, as well as a glossary that helps readers understand Braun’s esoteric product names.

Appropriately, Ramses’s “Ten Principles of Good Design” – first expressed in 1985 and steeped in Bauhaus traditions, later refined by the Ulm School’s understanding of technology and industrial production – occupy about half the book. Come on the way. Whether this was the author’s intention, it neatly divides Braun’s history with a clear demarcation of before and after Dieter Rams. Perhaps his most influential and famous principle is number 10:

Good design is as little design as possible. Less, but better – because it focuses on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

According to Klemp, in 1995, Dieter Rams was forced out of the design leadership role by a manager from Gillette – which had purchased Braun in 1967 – who sought more “emotionality” from the product portfolio. Rams was just two years away from retirement and had been given a broad but meaningless (he had no direct reports) new title of executive director of corporate identity. He left Braun in 1997, just as Braun’s “less, but better” ethos changed to “more, and worse”.

While the house of Braun gave rise to Reims’s 10 design principles, it was Apple, and especially Steve Jobs and Jony Ive, who fully implemented them in the mid-1990s, starting with the iMac (1998), iPod (2001), Adopted from. , and yes, the iPhone (2007), which was a marvel of simplicity and usability at the time of its launch. In 2009, Rhames said, “You only find a few companies today that take design seriously, as I see it, and, at the moment, that’s an American company. It’s Apple.” Specifically, he didn’t say Braun.

Bold typefaces – Braun Linear, in this case – urge the reader to stop browsing for a moment.

Beautiful symbolism is used throughout the book.

Originally designed by Will Munch in 1933, the Braun logo was updated (pictured) by Wolfgang Schmidtel in 1952. It has changed only slightly since then.

only 41 pages Braun: designed to last Obviously, these are dedicated to today’s Braun. After all, it wasn’t until 2010 that Procter & Gamble – which had purchased Gillette in 2005 and witnessed Apple’s extraordinary global success – embraced Braun’s own design legacy as “Past Forward.” Klemp says that the 2012 Braun Series 5 shavers were one of the first products to embody this reinterpretation. Which, well, is fine.

This 2020 shaver appears to be very similar to early Braun designs:

The 2020 pocket electric shaver, credited to the Braun design team, takes the Braun design ethos into the P&G era.

designed to hold Covering mistakes and failures and, more recently, reinventions, it makes a brave attempt to write today’s Braun into history, while suggesting that it could yet again impact an industry with its innovations. Maybe so, but the appeal of the book undeniably lies in looking back, and there are benefits in doing so for Braun and the consumer electronics industry as a whole.

Klemp argues, “New design always stands on the shoulders of its predecessors and, in the best cases, learns not only from the insights gained during the creative process, but also from wrong turns.” “Only gods can ‘create ex nihilo,’ or produce something from nothing.”

designed to hold Gives meaning to Braun’s story by showing how generations of people have drawn inspiration from both past and present events to create products that have continued appeal. This kind of longevity is unheard of today, with fashionable design trends such as software and electronics rapidly leading to product obsolescence, whether planned or not.

Topic , designed to hold – This can also be read as instructions. This is a book you’ll want to keep as a reference the next time a new product launches and you wonder, “Now where have I seen this before?”

Braun: designed to last Available to purchase now for $79.95 /€69.95.


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