I thought this was fascinating and comprehensive overview of Braun and Dieter Rams contribution to the success of the company though I think it has a quite a serious editorial flaw.
The publishers have been quite clever in accommodating the huge amount of text and graphic material in a book of just over eight hundred pages. The text, German on left-hand pages and English on the right, has been printed on very thin paper (known as bible stock in the trade) which has a certain amount of show-through. The excellent product shots (314 pages) have been printed on a good matt art with another paper used for the remaining photo essays. Incidentally the colour work in the book is printed with an impressive 300 screen, most art books run to 175 to 250.
Eleven of the nineteen chapters are text (on the thin paper) and explore in as much detail as you could want about German and middle European design in the first decades of the last century and how it influenced Rams, particularly the Bauhaus and Ulm design laboratories. A fascinating sixty-five page chapter: 'Dieter Rams, Braun, Vitsoe and the shrinking world' explores the reasons for the companies success and Rams contribution with brilliant product design. Another chapter: 'Graphic design: Braun and Vitsoe' delves, in part, into the typeface used on the products, always in lower-case and originally Akzidenz-Grotesk but after the sixties switching to Helvetica.
Between the essays and possibly the main strength of the book are the photo product pages, basically electrical products for the home. Each item gets a spread of lovely close-up photos butted together and then a spread with a head on shot on the left and each right-hand page having relevant profile photos. Here, unfortunately, I think the book falls down (and why I've given it four stars) because these photos are just too small and made noticeable because the rest of each page is blank. Matt black was a design element for many of the audio products and to see them basically as small silhouettes with the detail of the fascia, side and backs near invisible seems a nonsense. To have all these product shots this small is just a book designer's whimsy and doesn't do the reader any favours. There are other photos essays of Braun products (including fourteen pages of ones that didn't make it) brochures, packaging, Dieter Rams home.
'Less and more' is an impressive book (apart from the small product photos) and could well become the standard work on the company for design students and those who appreciate good product design and want to know about a man and company that created such high standards.
>>>LOOK AT SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
on 21 September 2014
Gorgeously designed book about the life and work of legendary German Industrial Designer Dieter Rams for Braun + Vitsoe, covering everything from the history of Braun to sketches by Rams as well as the graphic design of Braun's packaging and brochures. There's even some photos inside and out of Rams' home & studio.
Complete with beautiful, large high definition photographs and a fantastic grid system based layout that stays faithful to Dieter Rams' design ethos, this book is a must have for design enthusiasts.