Dieter Rams
Photo credit: Gary Hustwit

I attended the Boston premier of Gary Hustwit’s new film Rams at the Museum of Fine Arts today. I’m a super fan of two of his previous documentaries, Helvetica and Objectified , so I really had little choice.

The movie is great. Dieter Rams is a fascinating character with an incredible résumé. He has a message for us: design is about more than form or function. We need to stop getting excited about the shiny and the beautiful. We need fewer things, and the things we have need to be more permanent and more consequential.

It’s a great message from a legend of the field. And it comes across well on the big screen. The photography is beautiful. The editing is relaxed and the story emerges on its own. The original Brian Eno soundtrack isn’t too shabby either.

The live Q&A with the director left a few ideas percolating in my head. Rams is, of course, famous for his ten principles of good design. In response to an audience question, Hustwit suggested that perhaps we should all have a set of principles that govern how we judge design. Why not try to write them down?