The Dieter Rams Game.

19 01 2010

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design makes a product understandable.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is long-lasting.
Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
Good design is environmentally friendly.
Good design is as little design as possible.
Copyright Dieter Rams, amended March 2003 and October 2009

These ten principles defined Dieter Rams’ approach to “good design”. Each of the hundreds of products he developed during forty years with Braun, was unerringly elegant and supremely versatile. Units were made in modular sizes to be stacked vertically or horizontally. Buttons, switches and dials were reduced to a minimum and arranged in an orderly manner. Rams even devised a system of colour coding for Braun’s products, which were made in white and grey. The only splash of colour was the switches and dials.

Rams’ objective was to design useful products which would be easy to operate. Yet he achieved much more by dint of the formal elegance and technical virtuosity of his work. Rams’ designs always looked effortless with an exquisite simplicity borne from rigorous tests and experiments with new materials and an obsessive attention to detail to ensure that each piece appeared flawlessly coherent. Dieter Rams remains an enduring inspiration for younger designers, notably Jonathan Ive and Jasper Morrison, who have acknowledged his influence in their work at Apple and Rowenta respectively.

Now, it occurred to me, in a daydreamy moment yesterday, that Dieter’s principles can be applied to all sorts of things.

I think it’s quite a good game. Try this for example. Replace the word ‘design’ with the word ‘government’, and then swap ‘a product’ for ‘legislation’. Like so:

Good government is innovative.
Good government makes legislation useful.
Good government is aesthetic.
Good government makes legislation understandable.
Good government is unobtrusive.
Good government is honest.
Good government is long-lasting.
Good government is thorough down to the last detail.
Good government is environmentally friendly.
Good government is as little government as possible.


Now ask yourself, according to Dieter, who clearly knows a thing or two, do we have good government and good legislation?

Thought you’d say that. I agree.

Can You Dig It?

24 12 2009

Press Release from Santa Claus.

23 12 2009

Clifton Reynes Wives in Hard-Core Porn Scandal!

27 11 2009

Who’d a thunk it? The hitherto highly respected womenfolk of Clifton Reynes have become immersed in a growing scandal involving images of their scantily clad bodies, and, hold the front page, there are scenes involving manual manipulation of worryingly cylindrical shaped objects such as umbrellas, wine bottles, fishing rods and even, whisper it, cricket bat handles.

What’s worse, one image involves horses! Have they no shame?

We have been browbeaten, in our official capacity as pornographers to Olney, into fencing these items to the general public for monetary gain. Our defence, when the matter inevitably comes to court, is that all, yes, ALL the proceeds of the sale of this filth will go straight to Breast Cancer Care.

For that I am told we must thank the Official Sponsors of this enterprise, who have generously paid the production costs of this soon to become notorious collector’s item henceforth known as Exhibit A (The Clifton Reynes Calendar Girls 2010 Calendar).

A tenner to you, all to charity, roll up, roll up, form an orderly queue, no shoving please.

Calendar Design by Pickwick Swales Ltd.
Photography by Harriet Shaw.

Baroness Ashton of Knotty Ash?

20 11 2009

Have the EU in their ‘wisdom’ appointed Baroness Ashton of Upholland when they meant to appoint Ken Dodd? It is easy to understand their mistake. There is a remarkable resemblance.

Never Mind The Bollocks, What’s The Name Of The Font?

19 11 2009

Fonts. It’s amazing how worked up people get.

Actually, maybe it’s not. A font can say a lot about a business or an individual, so why shouldn’t you get passionate about them?

Anyway, what’s the point of this blog post? Just EMAIL us, and we’ll send you a link to one of these very cool fonts, which you can then download, free!

Oh, and we’ll enrol you in our Book Club at the same time, and then you can Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price, Forever! There’s no catch!

Manhood. The Rise & Fall Of The Penis

18 11 2009

The ancient Greeks paraded enormous sculptural replicas in annual celebration of the penis; Freud theorized that women suffered penis envy. An undeniable, global symbol of power and virility since the beginning of humankind, the penis has been much discussed, gestured towards, and depicted, yet seldom understood outside folklore and popular culture’s uneasy mix of self-deprecation and aggrandizement. Despite the penis’s central role in human life or perhaps due to that role, many men seem to suffer in isolation or silence from some perceived inadequacy or affliction. That’s where experienced urologist and sexologist Mels van Driel comes in. In Manhood he offers an unprecedented history of the penis – with answers to everything you ever wanted to know, and even some questions you’d never thought to ask.

In Manhood, van Driel presents the history of the male sexual organ from medical, psychological and cultural perspectives. Investigating the penis and its functions, from the scrotum to the glans, van Driel’s work ranges from inguinal hernia to infertility, and from impotence to the speed of ejaculation. Psychological factors that have an impact on sexual experience, as well as contemporary phenomena such as cyber sex, are given enlightening treatment along the way.

With much insight and good humour, van Driel offers diverse and instructive examples. This informative guide is not just a book for men, but for women too – anyone curious to know the facts behind the many myths and stories of the penis.

Mels van Driel is a urologist and sexologist at the University Medical Center in Groningen, The Netherlands. He has written widely for scientific publications, newspapers and magazines.

Vaclav Klaus. Vaclav Klaus. Vaclav Klaus. Yay.

27 10 2009

vaclav klausI urge you to sign a crucial petition that the Taxpayers’ Alliance is running. As you may know, there is now only one man standing between the Lisbon Treaty (formerly known as the EU constitution) and ratification: President Vaclav Klaus of the Czech Republic. President Klaus has come under huge pressure from the EU and other European leaders to sign the Treaty, but so far he has held out in the face of all the threats and incentives that have been offered to him.
Every single main party promised us a referendum at the last General Election, but we have been denied it. The TPA is running a petition to send a message of support to President Klaus, and to urge him to hold out until we get that vote that we were promised. By contrast to our own leaders, who have betrayed their promise, he is sticking his neck out for our democracy as well as his own, so the least we can do is to express our thanks and express our support for him to continue his valiant action.

Thank you for your support, please do sign the petition here…
Stand Firm President Klaus

…and forward this page on to all of your friends and family – the more people who sign, the better our chance of getting that referendum.

Sign The Art Scrappage Petition!

23 09 2009

Picture 128

What is the petition?

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to create a scrappage scheme for contemporary art.

What is purpose of the petition?
To allow commercial art galleries to offer up to £2000 when consumers trade in works of art older than 10 years. This will enable artists to work rather than claiming benefits, and galleries to continue to trade, allowing them to pay taxes and business rates.

This will need to be funded by central government, but if a scrappage scheme is appropriate for our car industry, why is it inappropriate for our art industry?

Please sign it here:

Tell your friends!!!! Cut and paste the link into an email, add it to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace.

War On Milton Keynes Council Trucks Enters New Phase

2 06 2009


This is a shiny new Milton Keynes Council Truck, going about it’s business this sunny morning. Unfortunately, it’s business is not in our private car park. Not only did the truck park without permission, it actually parked right in the entrance, on top of the words, painted on the ground, in very large white letters, ‘KEEP CLEAR’.

The registration number of the vehicle is FJ09 HWZ. It’s a DAF, and it’s just become the proud recipient of an £85 fine. So, when you next see your local councillor, talk to them about your council tax and business rates being too high, and ask them why council vehicles don’t use more common sense and good manners and avoid getting fines for unauthorised parking?

If you’d like to contact the contractor in question direct, their name is SERCO. The truck driver’s boss is one Richard Flynn, and you can reach him on