Good Design is Long Lived

Dieter Rams, in Objectified:

Good design is innovative. Good design makes a product useful. Good design is aestetic design. Good design will make a product understandable. Good design is honest. Good design is unobtrusive. It is long-lived. Good design is consistant in every detail.

Great words from Rams. I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainability in the projects and systems I create. For me, anything that’s important must be set up in a way that’s sustainable. It doesn’t mean sustainable forever but something I can maintain and commit a high level of attention and respect for a reasonable period. If I don’t think a new thing can be—or I want to—sustain it for the foreseeable future it’s not simple enough for me to adapt.

Why? Sustainability tests the utmost value of something. Commitment is tough to presuppose. Commitment comes from understanding the value of something and choosing to partake in it long term. Without that understanding, it’s hard to commit. But sustainability is easier to determine up front. It’s the difference between asking yourself, “are the logistics for this worth my time long term?” and “is this something I understand, respect, and am passionate about enough to be a part of?” You can only get a true sense of what it takes to commit after something has been sustained long enough to get a good measure of your passion for it.

If you want to love the things you have and do, consider up front if they have a good, long-lived design.