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.