INDUSTRIAL DESIGN IN THE 1960s

A new exhibition in London called “Systems” invited top designers to pay tribute with a series of 34 posters to industrial designer Dieter Rams’s work with Braun – an epitome of the ever austere German Functionalism.

At Braun in the 1960s, Rams put into practice a comprehensive approach to ID and brand strategy where products weren’t designed in isolation, but rather as a part of a family of iconic products. Many critics today say Rams’s influence can be seen today in the Apple-dominated world of highly stylized product lines.

“In the 1960s, the entire Braun program was a single system that informed the design of everything from the products, the packaging, the guarantee slips, and they brochures,” says James Charles-Edwards of Walter Knoll, a prestigious European furniture company which is hosting the exhibition at its London showroom. “What remains impressive today is the way that this great range of objects interlocked to produce a single coherent program.”

“Systems” celebrates the cohesiveness of Rams’s design program by displaying examples of the company’s classic 1960s products coupled with the exhibition of commissioned posters, which are displayed in an interlocked mosaic on a giant wall of the Walter Knoll showroom.

The exhibition showcases many different approaches: Artica Design emphasized the Braun LE 1 speakers with their clean functionalism and grid-like grill, while Swedish design studio Lundgren+Lindqvist opted to abstract Braun’s design language through pixelation.

Bernd Grenther’s design explores the evolution of Braun’s color palette from 1955 to 1995. Designer Tom Higston, on the other hand, showcases how the design of one of Braun’s iconic products–the egg-beater– is still a beautiful object even when splattered with batter.

Although, today Braun’s products have moved away from their utilitarian intentions and become more like decorative objects, Braun’s systemic approach to rational industrial design, under Rams’ legacy, provides a great blueprint for achieving branding cohesiveness which contributes to brand success and can be seen practiced even today by companies such as Apple.

For those traveling to London anytime soon, Systems will be on exhibit until January 31, 2014.

Original article: FastCoDesign