Dieter Rams. Whether you are familiar with his name or not, it is likely he has impacted the way you live your life. Noted as one of the most influential designers of the past century, Dieter Rams made his name through the iconic work undertaken by him and his team at Braun and Vitsoe. Highly influential to the design of Apple products, Dieter Rams is famous for household products such as the Braun calculator, radio and alarm clock.
Directed by Gary Hustwit, ‘Rams’ is a feature-length documentary that provides a look into the world of Dieter Rams. Granted unprecedented access into Dieter’s life, Gary captures beautifully the soul of both Dieter’s work and personality. When sitting down to watch the film, you expect to gain an insight into one of the most influential creative minds of recent times, but somehow you leave with so much more. ‘Rams’ not only investigates Dieter’s life’s work, but also takes the viewer below the surface, and touches upon issues such as sustainability, consumerism and design futures. All of which Dieter feels so strongly about.
As in Gary Hustwit’s previous films, such as ‘Helvetica’ and ‘Objectified’, the content at the core of the documentary always remains pure; never clouded by the production. Hence allowing a fresh and truly insightful perspective for the audience. Likewise, ‘Rams’ is embodied by Dieter Rams infamous 10 principles of good design. Editing throughout is minimalist, with a string of well considered interviews that further enforce Dieter’s ideologies and character. Typefaces from Dinamo (Monument Grotesk and Favorit) and a thought invoking ambient soundtrack by Brian Eno, further compliment both the visual feel and context of the film.
Dieter’s infectious and playful energy is perhaps what is most grasping throughout the 73 minute documentary. His love for design, and the way in which it is carried out, is clear. A constant emphasis is placed on teaching the next generation of designers the right way to do things, so that we can begin to address the world’s mounting issues. Dieter and his work have always held an environmental consciousness, and served to be long-lasting and sustainable. However, his dismay at where we currently stand is obvious, as is his recognition that things must change immediately.
In fact, looking back on his career, Rams is quoted saying “If I had to do it over again, I would not want to be a designer”. And somewhat blames his own work for the thoughtless, consumerist world we now live in. This honesty and wisdom creates a motivation to approach design with a renewed consciousness. One that seeks to make the world a better place.
Dieter Rams’ philosophy is a way of life that ‘Rams’ so beautifully captures. It’s about carefully considering how and what we make; and consume, will impact the world. Removing the clutter and keeping only what is necessary. “Less, but better.”