The Braun Idea
For the general public, Braun is an enterprise with a distinct, outstanding character.
This unique idiosyncrasy of the company and its product range created the specific Braun image: Braun is regarded as a highly progressive enterprise with a sense for quality.
Braun products are rated as intelligent solutions with often innovative usage benefits and exemplary design.
Braun does not only have this image throughout Germany, but throughout the world wherever Braun products are offered. The special position Braun holds in the market today, is never understood as a result of a coincidental development. But as the expression of an in dividual concept – an idea. Defining the "Braun idea" in a short formula is not easy, although it is visible in all Braun activities.
Most of all in the design – in the products and the communications of Braun. Braun design has become a fixed term. Over almost two decades, Braun received numerous prizes and awards for good design.
The Braun Design
The prerequisite for good design is a clear corporate concept defining design as a duty for the entire company. Design may not be considered a "cheap investment" or a rather unproblematic ingredient. It may not clad the product ex post so as to improve and quicken its sales.
Design is only able to contribute to a company's success if it is based on a long-term and comprehensive concept. The entire company has to accept the function and the significance of the design and the prerequisites for its realization need to be provided.
A designer needs to be involved in the product development from the beginning to achieve really convincing solutions. Technology, material, and the formal design quality need to correspond to each other. After all, ambitious design is also a question of consistency. If design is limited to occasional experiments or to individual products, it diminishes its own credibility. Braun has the aim to manufacture
products that fulfill the high demands of critical, "experienced" users. They should offer a maximum of real usage benefits. This includes progressive technology as well as reliability, durability, simplicity, and beautiful, functional design.
It was only in the scope of this aim that the characteristic Braun design was able to develop and consistently and successfully come to fruition.
Braun designers are not guided by rigid rules — but by the goals and conditions that a task presents them with.
At first glance, Braun's product range and appearance are of extraordinary unity. Every device, every means of communication immediately shows that it comes from Braun. It is only when you look closely that you discover that there are in fact formal differences. Because Braun designers by no means work according to schematic rules.
The unity of Braun products and Braun communication is not uniformity. The designer tries to find the ideal form for each shaver, each household appliance, each lighter, each brochure and each instruction manual. The designers come up with related solutions because they start from the same basic considerations and apply the same qualitative standards. They identify with the "Braun idea".
These Braun design standards incorporate various elements. The following pages will explain the most decisive aspects.
First and foremost, Braun's special design method is based on constant and close cooperation between product designers and engineers, between communication and marketing, and above all between product design and communication. This is one of the essential prerequisites for effective work and continuous further development of the Braun design.
The purpose is the starting point and the objective of each design for us.
Braun manufactures consumer goods that are to fulfill a function — they reproduce music, shave, dry hair ... They would certainly not be interesting for consumers if they only offered beautiful design without progressive and intelligent solutions. Therefore, the most important task for our designers is to contribute to make a device optimally usable.
Good design to us is functional design. Design development therefore starts with the technical concept of a device. However, we do not understand function only in the narrow, purely technological sense. Devices that are used on a daily basis and that belong to a person's closest personal environment also have to fulfill psychological functions.
Each design is only suitable for us if it follows an intelligent order.
All things that are really used have a clear order — the signs of a freeway intersection, the cockpit of an airplane, the instruments of a surgeon ... The striking order, the simplicity of the Braun design fulfills the same purpose:
Primarily it is to clarify the function of a device or a means of communication, to make it comprehensible and to facilitate its handling.
The arrangement of all elements, their form, size and color is therefore based on a well thought-out system. It is so to speak the Braun design "grammar". Since any arbitrary, random element can be confusing and disturbing, even details unimportant for use, such as fixing screws or page numbers, are included in this system.
Design is done for the people and has to consider the power, the size, the senses of human beings.
Consumer devices must have an ergonomic design — i.e. Exactly tailored to the use and handling by humans. This requirement already goes as a matter of course for product design today, but it is by no means easy to meet.
Developing an ergonomic design for a device requires a high level of experience. Over the years, we analyzed the complex processes for using various devices again and again and came to understand them better and better. We have gained experience in how to operate a lighter, a shaver, a HiFi device most easily. How to design a handle so that it fits a hand perfectly. How to structure a receiver dial in a clear and comprehensible way. In one word: What human engineering means as a whole and in detail.
Good design to us means: as little design as possible.
Braun design is simple. We try to solve every design task with as few elements as possible. Because "more design than necessary" today is almost always fashionable styling. It is used to brush up and garnish devices or advertising material. With the rapid change of fashions, it becomes obsolete just as quickly. The austerity of the Braun design means a rejection of this kind of design. Braun design seeks to omit everything superfluous, so that the essential all the more comes into its own. The forms become calm, pleasant, tangible — and long-lasting.
Our design brings all individual elements into their correct proportion.
One feature of the Braun design has often been highlighted: Its balance, its harmony and unobtrusiveness. Well-balanced design fulfills an important psychological function — things fit in more easily and harmoniously into the individual environment of a human being. Devices or means of communication with intentional, extravagant design try to obtrude. They make themselves more important than they really are. They do not give the user the chance to develop a proper relationship with them. If we try to bring things into balanced proportions, then we want to bring them into a balanced proportion to the human being.
There is no negligibility for a Braun designer.
Everything that comes from Braun is designed with the same consistency down to the last detail.
For a design concept that aims at intensive and long-term use, this is a matter of course. There can't be impressive fronts while the design of the backs is neglected. No negligibility that would not require careful design. Even the most inconspicuous details serve a purpose in a consumer good. They are a part of the whole, they are necessary and noticed.
Good design is the expression of high quality, advanced technology, and innovative usage properties.
Today, design is often used exclusively as a fashionable means: it should express how good or progressive or new a device is — but not contribute itself to making the device really good and progressive.
Such an understanding of design does not correspond to our concept. Braun design is functional design. It does not make the products appear different or better than they are. It should also not hide their characteristics, but make it clear and understandable that they are intelligent solutions of high quality.
Our design breaks new ground because it considers technical development and changes in the behavior of human beings.
When developing a design, we do not take seemingly confirmed habits of use for granted. Rather, we keep on asking what is more practical and useful, what kind of possibilities do new technologies open up to realize something new. Our experience shows that the people of today are more than ever prepared to change their habits and accept new solutions. And that in particular the critical user of Braun expects intelligent innovations.
Braun design puts everything in the context of a meaningful program.
The relationship of all Braun products is unmistakable.
It is the expression of the unified concept that forms the basis of our design. The reason why Braun devices that complement each other match in terms of their form. The reason why Braun devices with different functions harmoniously blend into the user's environment because they were designed as parts of a whole from the outset. The reason why the different means of communication deliver a Braun appearance in its convincing unity.
Fritz Eichler and Braun AG (ed.): Annual report 1972/73 of Braun AG, Kronberg 1973, o. S .. Preserved in the archive of Artur Braun, Königstein