This is the final edition of our 5-part series about the Principles of Good Design by Deiter Rams. In this installment, we examine the final 2 principles: good design is long-lasting and environmentally-friendly.

Good Design is Long-Lasting.

In a world where trends come and go at a rapid pace, it’s essential to embrace the concept of long-lasting design. Dieter Rams, a renowned industrial designer, emphasizes that good design avoids being fashionable, ensuring it remains relevant and timeless. This principle holds true not only for physical products but also for digital design. Let’s dive into the benefits of long-lasting digital design and how it can help brands overcome some common challenges while reducing environmental impact.

1.Avoiding Frequent Replacement:

One of the key advantages of long-lasting digital design is the avoidance of frequent replacements. In today’s throwaway society, physical signage and displays often need to be replaced frequently to keep up with changing trends. By focusing on enduring design principles, brands can create digital experiences that remain relevant and visually appealing over an extended period. This not only saves costs but also reduces waste associated with the constant churn of physical materials.

2.Sparing Time and Labor:

Constantly reworking ad campaigns can be a drain on both time and labor. With long-lasting digital design, brands can develop a cohesive visual language that transcends temporary trends. By creating a consistent and recognizable brand identity, designers can save valuable resources that would otherwise be spent on frequent campaign revisions. This allows businesses to allocate their time and effort more efficiently towards other critical tasks.

3.Creating a Common Language:

Long-lasting digital design fosters the development of a common language for a brand. By adhering to consistent design principles, visual elements, and brand guidelines, businesses can establish a recognizable and memorable identity. This common language creates a sense of familiarity for consumers, building trust and confidence in the product or service being offered. Over time, this recognition contributes to a strong brand presence in the market.

4.Fostering Consumer Confidence:

When consumers encounter a consistent design language across various digital touch-points, it instills confidence in the brand. Familiarity breeds trust, and by presenting a cohesive and lasting design, businesses can create a positive user experience that resonates with their target audience. This, in turn, can lead to increased customer loyalty and advocacy, further strengthening the brand’s position in the market.

5.Reducing Environmental Impact:

Adopting long-lasting digital design practices inherently reduces the environmental impact associated with constant design updates and replacements. By creating designs that stand the test of time, businesses can minimize the need for excessive production, material waste, and energy consumption. This commitment to sustainability aligns with broader environmental goals and reinforces a brand’s dedication to responsible practices.


Good Design is Environmentally Friendly

In today’s increasingly digital world, we often overlook the environmental impact of our online activities. However, digital design plays a crucial role in minimizing resource consumption, reducing physical and visual pollution, and promoting sustainability throughout a product’s lifecycle. In this article, we will explore the environmental benefits of digital design and discuss how designers can contribute to preserving the environment.

The Energy Cost of Online Activity:

Before delving into the specifics of digital design, it’s important to recognize the energy consumption associated with our online activities. According to recent studies, global internet use consumes approximately 3.8% of the world’s electricity, and this number is expected to rise. Streaming videos, cloud storage, and constant data transfer contribute to this energy consumption, highlighting the need for energy-efficient design practices.

Energy Use by Artificial Intelligence:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, which have become increasingly prevalent, also have an environmental impact. The training and operation of AI models require significant computational power and energy. For example, training a large language model can consume as much electricity as a small town. Considering the growing adoption of AI, it becomes crucial to optimize the design of AI systems to minimize their environmental footprint.

Designing for Environmental Friendliness:

To promote environmental sustainability in digital design, several key considerations should be addressed:

  1. Optimizing Design for Performance:
    Efficient design practices can greatly reduce the energy consumption of websites and applications. By minimizing file sizes, optimizing code, and leveraging caching techniques, designers can create digital experiences that load quickly and consume fewer resources. A well-designed and performant website not only improves user experience but also reduces the energy required to access and interact with it.
  2. Ensuring Easy Information Retrieval:
    One of the fundamental principles of sustainable digital design is ensuring that users can easily find the information they seek. By designing intuitive navigation systems, clear labeling, and effective search functionalities, designers can enable users to locate content without the need to load additional screens or perform excessive interactions. This approach reduces energy waste and enhances the overall user experience.
  3. Longevity and Minimal Need for Replacement:
    Designing digital products with a lasting impact is essential for reducing electronic waste. Rather than following fleeting trends, designers should focus on creating timeless designs that can withstand the test of time. By considering scalability, flexibility, and future-proofing during the design process, digital products can remain relevant for longer periods, minimizing the need for frequent updates or replacements.

Embracing the principles of long-lasting design not only enhances brand performance and user experience but also minimizes resource consumption, reduces energy waste, and preserves the environment, and ultimately will result in positive impacts on both the digital world and the planet as a whole.