Hartmut Jatzke-Wigand
Artur Braun: The Development of the Braun Design

Artur Braun

The Development of the Braun Design

The beginnings of the Braun design reach far back into the early fifties of the past century, a time when nobody was talking about design yet. It was all about the competitiveness of our company in 1952 when we started to question old habits and to look for something new, which we did not even know of what it could be. It was no spontaneous idea but a long, tough development process. An adventurous process with throwbacks and coincidences during which our company underwent such sustained change that a new, independent design language was able to evolve.

Unfortunately, with time the focus was more and more narrowed to the mere product design and individual designers, while people, development processes, and basic conditions of any kind that were essential for the typical Braun design to develop are hardly mentioned anymore and, thus, almost fell into oblivion.

Without any doubt, it was my older brother Erwin, who initiated the reorientation and fostered it persistently over many years (fig. 1). He had the decisive ideas, he gave the impetus. At his side Dr. Fritz Eichler, the "birth attendant", who reflected Erwin's ideas and made them concrete (fig. 2). Much would have remained a mere idea if Fritz had not put it in words and made it accessible to everybody involved. It was the cooperation of two entirely different people who perfectly complemented one another. Here, the stressful, the impatient, with dissatisfaction aspiring young entrepreneur and there the balanced, humorous, self-contained friend, ten years his senior, who incorporated his entirely different view from the world of arts and the theater into our company (fig. 3).



On June 14, 1976 Fritz wrote to Erwin:


"Dear Erwin – there is no way you can deny it: It was no one but you who had been thrown in at the deep end together with Artur by fate and had to take over the responsibility for a company from one day to the other, it was you who was then searching for a way not only to do the right thing from an economic point of view, but to do it in a more honest, more reasonable, and more humane manner.
You needed help on the way. Help from outside, as most in-house colleagues were not even able to fully understand you. You were looking for people and dialog partners who would help you realize your ideas, which were at that point inevitably still more or less vague.
You had the slightly absurd idea to 'catch' a certain Fritz Eichler (who came from a totally different world)." 2)

Erwin got to know Fritz in 1939 in the military in Weimar. Fritz carried books with him about modern art that was regarded as "degenerate" at that time. He was ten years his senior, had studied history of art and written his dissertation about hand puppets and playing puppets on a string. He would talk with Erwin about modern art and in particular about the Bauhaus, which was born in Weimar, and so they became friends (fig. 4). In 1954, Erwin finally persuaded him to work for us. An art historian and theater director in a medium-sized electrical industry family business! Culture met with factory. Fortunately, Erwin was courageous and visionary enough to imagine something like that.


Max Braun, our father, had suddenly died on November 6, 1951 at the age of 61 (fig. 5). By his untimely death Erwin and I saw us abruptly confronted with the task to continue his company with more than 800 employees at that time, although we were actually still too young and inexperienced (fig. 6).

Our father was company founder, inventor, and brilliant engineer in one person. The gap he left as the head of engineering was huge and I, at the age of 26 then, was often asked to cope with the task to fill it. There was hardly any time for visions. While business administration headed by Wilhelm Wiegand continued as usual, Erwin had more freedom to think about questions regarding our corporate policy in more detail.

We missed our father very much, his advice and experience – but we also saw the chance we had been given. It was the chance to find new ways and to realize our own ideas. A chance like it is rare to be found at our age. Under father's management, the company had survived the difficult years during and after the war as well as the currency reform, it had solidly grown and was not indebted. Many employees were significantly older and more experienced than we, but they understood our situation, we could rely on them.

New ways – which we desperately needed with a competition that was growing fiercer – had to be found first of all. So the time of a permanent search for new possibilities, for young, creative people who fitted the company, for help and suggestions from outside started for Erwin. It must not be neglected that the devastating Second World War had just ended a few years ago and that many things were still in disorder (fig. 7). But perhaps it was exactly this time of general change that facilitated something new and brought people closer together.


During the war and the years after the war there was little advertising. The scarce goods sold themselves. Then came the economic recovery and with a growing pressure of competition the need to advertise. Serious advertising, however, has to inform about how a company thinks, what it produces and what it has to say in general. This is where Erwin started – and there was a lot that needed change. From postings on the notice board to each and every brochure – everything at Braun was boring and homespun; advertising and graphic design were not taken too seriously (fig. 8).


As early as in November 1951, Erwin had a magazine printed for the employees. This corporate magazine was then published every two months and became the chronicle of this time. Until January 1953 the company logo on the title page still has the old shape and the entire design of the corporate magazine looks very arbitrary with different fonts and an inconsistent layout. In May 1953, the new company logo appears on the title page. Wolfgang Schmittel, won as a colleague by Erwin, had adapted the Braun logo with the higher
A that originated from Will Münch and had determined its final shape (fig. 9). This was a first step towards intentional design work.

In December 1953, the magazine "Der Spiegel" published an article about Raymond Loewy and his bestseller "Never leave well enough alone" (fig. 10). Erwin handed out some copies in the company and we discussed Loewy's approach in detail, however, without drawing concrete conclusions for the design of our comprehensive production program including electric shavers, kitchen machines as well as radio, phono, and electronic flash units.

Our former art teacher Emil Betzler, whom Erwin had contacted in search of innovative radio enclosures, recommended hearing a lecture of Wilhelm Wagenfeld that was to take place in Darmstadt on September 18, 1954 (fig. 11). Wilhelm Wagenfeld talked to art teachers about the mental and functional benefit of industrial products. He emphasized the importance of careful and high-quality design, its social value and the responsibility resulting for manufacturers. Erwin was very impressed by Wagenfeld's presentation, so that he soon after asked this extraordinary designer and former Bauhaus representative to support us with designing our device program. 3)


In the scope of our cooperation I often visited Wilhelm Wagenfeld in Stuttgart and soon felt at home in his workshop (fig. 12). While working at the radio-phono combination 'combi' and the record player 'PC 3', this wonderful man would talk about good products and good shapes and many things from his world of design, which was still little familiar to me at that time (fig. 13 and 14). Wilhelm Wagenfeld was designing lamps, dishware, and cutlery then (fig. 15). He used his hands for molding and created beautiful shapes. His intrinsic, rather artistic, design language and our technical requirements regrettably did not find a permanent relation. The tasks set by the products were too varied. And still, the friendship with Wilhelm Wagenfeld was of immeasurable value to us. He gave us moral orientation for our work and remained connected to us for the rest of his life.


I can hardly remember how Fritz Eichler joined us in September 1954. It probably was no grand appearance – that would not have suited him either. First, he was supposed to take care of advertising films, but soon he became our partner and mentor, full of suggestions, humorous, unprejudiced, and always ready for a compromise. He was probably often astonished at what it was like in the industry, but it was surely interesting for him to experience a company from an entirely different point of view.

Erwin permanently had new ideas, also ideas that could hardly be realized, and if problems occurred then, Fritz would come and help very casually. He was the perfect dialog partner, allowed Erwin's ideas to take shape, put them in words and made them concrete. Countless hours and days did these two spend together, they took walks in the Taunus and discussed everything in detail at every appropriate and sometimes also inappropriate opportunity (fig. 16). Erwin and Fritz talked about corporate concepts and tried to find a consistent, forward-looking message for our heterogeneous product program. "For a modern lifestyle" finally was the motto that was to link everything (fig. 17 and 18). The radio and television sets with their over-decorated polished wood enclosures were most disturbing in our program. They did not make us very happy, their sales were seasonal and suffered from persistently reoccurring sales crises. Neither did they make any profit.


While working with Wilhelm Wagenfeld, I also developed a small radio with Fritz in 1954, the later 'SK 1' and 'SK 2' (fig. 19 and 20). We gave it a strictly factual shape with balanced proportions and functional operating elements on a punched front plate. Its compression molded enclosure was painted in fresh, modern colors Fritz had selected. It was clearly different from the Wagenfeld radio-phono combination 'combi' and was produced earlier so that series devices of the 'SK 1' and the 'SK 2' were already exhibited at the Electronic Exhibition in Düsseldorf in the fall of 1955 and in Stuttgart in 1956 (fig. 24 to 30). Looking at it in retrospect, this was the first radio device with the Braun design – long before we would even talk about design at Braun.


In the fall of 1954, Hans Gugelot visited us for the first time in Frankfurt. Erich Untiedt, managing director of our wood enclosure supplier Thun in Jettingen, had advised Erwin to contact the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm concerning the design of modern radio enclosures (fig. 21 and 22). 4) 5) Hans Gugelot was a lecturer there (fig. 23). Erwin had commissioned the Hochschule to design a modern wood enclosure. Soon after, Hans Gugelot presented this wood enclosure to us at the Rüsselsheimer Straße site in Frankfurt. Later, Fritz wrote about this presentation:


"Dear Gütsch,
I still remember how we first met in Frankfurt. You brought along – mystically packed – the first model of a future radio set. It was a festive moment full of suspense – like uncovering a monument: There was it – a square wooden box – a black circle and a rectangle on the front – that was all. And there we stood – five men from the industry and stared at it: Wearing a sporty leather jacket, a thick woolen scarf around your neck (although it was very warm inside the room) you were sceptically – with almost a slightly arrogant expression – looking at these five men."



An angel walked across the room – you must surely have thought that it was a devil in disguise who would blow up this marvelous thing from Ulm with a bang. But it remained silent – it seems as if it really was an angel – the angel who brought us together. Later, you admitted that you had staged this presentation as kind of a test. You wanted to provoke us – you wanted to know whether we were this sort of industrialists who wanted to give so-called modernity a try. When you realized that we were serious about it, that we were even ready to turn this rough draft of a radio set originating from a matrix into reality – at that point the five men of the industry turned into human beings for you. Together with the thick woolen scarf you put down your scepticism and became a co-conspirator." 6)

If there ever was an hour of birth of the Braun design, then it would have been these moments at Rüsselsheimer Straße. Fritz's letter to Hans Gugelot continues to describe the time that followed and that was so exciting for all of us:

"It was the beginning of a crazy time. For you and for us. You jumped, just like we did, right into reality – although it was contradictory to how you used to work. It was no easy task for you – actually it was not a task – it was the violation of a task. You could not develop something new from scratch; but you were forced to do something you actually rejected: creating a shape around existing technology. You had to work with engineers who were hardly able to understand you – who actually thought that you, after myself, were the safest guarantor for ruining the company's and, thus, their own existence.


Behind everything was the pressure of time. Three quarters of a year were left until the entire radio-phono-television program was to show its new face at the Electronic Exhibition in Düsseldorf. We worked at two sites simultaneously – you in Ulm – we in Frankfurt. One day, the radio-phono combination 'PK-G' – "der lange Heinrich" (the tall Henry) – was finished. Soon after, a new Tischsuper in two versions – a record player and a television. With these devices you had succeeded in developing devices from a wrong starting point so to speak, devices that were consistent regarding their dimensions and shapes, that could be placed next or on top of each other; they were the first combinable devices available on the market – they were true Gugelots. Next to them, ours looked naive, well-behaved, and old-fashioned." (fig. 31 to 35) 7)

"And there was also Otl Aicher. It was obvious that within the vast potpourri of speculative dishonesty these devices needed the space and the setting in which to be able to breath and act. Out of the same spirit, Otl Aicher developed a completely new exhibition system (a system that still dominates the appearance of many booths). And created all the pertaining communicative means. And so the impression we left in Düsseldorf in 1955 was a consistent one. We are well familiar with the effect. It was a sensation." 8)

"I remember a discussion about the chances of success and the future prospects of these devices. The men who were so very experienced could not imagine that your provocative creations would reach an age for which it was even worth being born at all. The more conventional shapes that represented something like a "solid compromise" seemed more promising. I had a different opinion (and was even ready to bet).

I was – thank goodness – right after all. Conventional devices disappeared from the market after 2-3 years – yours gained value with years – they were characterized by a level of durability that was astonishing for radio sets. That was pleasing – but with restrictions.


Because just like you had been forced to create an outside shape around existing inside technology, we were now forced to build new technology into an existing shape – a vicious circle. There is no better proof for your point of view you took from the beginning – technology and shape need to develop together organically based on the task – the exterior is the final product.

The success that your and our endeavors showed is nothing new. It gave you as well as us a great boost.

The cooperation developed into friendship – a friendship, as some people thought, of fools. Maybe we really were out of our minds. Surely not in the usual – but rather in a literal sense: a little bit out of the "usual ways of thinking" – that little bit that is necessary to look at things from a distance – that little bit that makes it possible to ask "why" even about seemingly self-evident circumstances. And you truly were a master in asking "why".

I have learnt a lot from you. When we met, I thought that I knew quite a lot, but then I realized how fragmentary and incoherent my knowledge was. You were a generous and patient teacher and you would not let your students feel that you were the giver.

I remember the birth of the 'SK 4', the device that became probably most representative of the Braun design. It was a difficult birth. Mr. Rams and I had gotten on the wrong track. The top arrangement of record player and control elements was clear. It already looked like it still does today. But we did not come to terms with the decisive part – the construction of the enclosure. We were experimenting with a wooden enclosure in different versions. We just made no progress. I visited you in Ulm.


You put on your melancholic, thoughtful face and promised to think about it. Merely a few days later did you arrive with a complete model: a white, u-shaped sheet metal enclosure clamped between two wooden side plates – a solution so self-evidently simple that one could become jealous. No one had dared to build a radio enclosure out of sheet metal so far. The engineers moaned but they saw the necessity. Later, the plexiglass cover was added. Snow White had been born.

All the devices you designed for us were a decisive, real starting point for our development – for everything that achieved success and appreciation under the slightly questionable term of "Braun style".

But I think that, as decisive as many of your – and Otl Aicher's – suggestions were, your criticism and the working methods you taught us were almost as decisive – they constitute the basso continuo for our past, present, and future work.


The question "what does Gütsch think about it" always was a decisive measure for me – and it always will be.

Thank you for all of it. Thank you from all present and from all future "Braun" people. And a special thank you for the friendship you gave us. If you took to someone, you expressed it your own way. You would say he was as good as gold. Erwin Braun, to whom you were connected in a particularly close friendship, was as good as gold, Artur Braun was as good as gold and sometimes even myself." (fig. 36 and 37) 9)


The cooperation with Ulm meant the decisive breakthrough for us. Hans Gugelot and Otl Aicher implemented an entirely new concept for our design work that fundamentally changed the character and the face of our company (fig. 38). In particular Otl Aicher, who often remained in the background, had the skill to get to the heart of an issue (fig. 39).10)

Together with Hans Gugelot he made it clear that our technical products needed a rational design. A design that evolves from the purpose and the construction of each device. This requirement is intended to contrast trendy, often short-lived products with an emotional, decoratively artistic design. This way, Otl Aicher and Hans Gugelot provided a clear basis for our design work.

That Hans Gugelot and Otl Aicher were no ivory-tower theorizers but thought like practical designing engineers was something I really appreciated about them. We spoke the same language and understood each other without a lot of explaining. Their ideas of structured, clear shapes were a highly welcomed aid for our designing engineers for developing the required enclosures; previously, they had merely depended on their engineerlike perception. Furthermore, the new shapes were easier to realize for production and very useful for the continuous improvement of our product quality (fig. 40).


 Fritz entirely committed himself to the cooperation with Hans Gugelot and Otl Aicher. He was fascinated by the possibilities "Ulm" offered and made it his business to establish a close and friendly relationship between our developers and "Ulm", including Hans G. Conrad, Herbert Lindinger and the Gugelot student Helmut Müller-Kühn, and fostered the cooperation wherever possible (fig. 41 and 42). It was an exciting learning process for all of us; and Fritz did not only manage it exemplarily and did a lot of humorous convincing, but also paid attention to the little details in arduous, daily legwork. We needed a lot of patience and good will to put through concepts and products that were hardly possible in a medium-sized enterprise. And despite the pressure of time, enthusiasm grew in everybody involved. Fritz was able to bring people together, to convince, to diminish mistrust and to show what real cooperation is able to achieve (fig. 43). From his world of art and the theater he added color to our world: originality, taste, esprit, patience, ease, and his sense for aesthetics. Characteristics that can hardly be found throughout the austere world of the industry, but with which he had a sustained influence on our corporate culture.


The Düsseldorf exhibition in 1955 marked the beginning of a new design for our devices and soon after we started to complement our radio program with another modern line. This task was taken on by Herbert Hirche, whom Erwin had contacted at the end of 1955 with the help of our personnel consultant Dieter G. Mundas (fig. 44). 11) Starting in 1956, Herbert Hirche designed a very attractive line of mod-ern radio-phonographs and television sets and in addition to that significantly contributed to our entire design work and the Braun design (fig. 45).


However, in particular the lower price segment was still lacking a small receiver with an integrated record player in 1956. This time, the models were to be produced in-house – our joiners and workshops were experienced in modeling. Dieter Rams, employed in 1955 as an interior designer, was assigned to develop the design. The story of the development of the 'SK 4' and of the controversies regarding the creatorship is nothing new. Finally, Fritz asked Hans Gugelot for help; the result was that the 'SK 4' at the end of 1956 incorporated an original Ulm metal enclosure and the record player 'PC 3', that had been developed by Wilhelm Wagenfeld and me (fig. 37).
Fritz had been pushing to establish our own design department and soon a still very modest in-house workshop came into being with Dieter Rams and Gerd A. Müller headed by Fritz as the design representative. Engineers and designers were, thus, able to work in closer cooperation than with the Ulm Hochschule given the distance and the poor means of communication at that time. And in contrast to freelance designers who have to fear for every new order and bear the costs and the risk, our designers had perfect working conditions with a secure income and the extraordinary environment our company had to offer.


The following lines, which Fritz Eichler wrote to Wilhelm Wagenfeld, give an impression of how important he thought the cooperation of engineers and designers was:
"The path leading to these new devices is at the same time the path of an increasingly closer relation of engineering and product design. This relation is, as you know from experience, a problem that is often able to destroy the best will even under otherwise favorable preconditions. It is difficult and complicated because it is a "schizophrenic problem" by nature; it always occurs when two (or more) people creatively work on a task and are supposed to find a common solution while starting at different points. In particular with technically complicated devices both can give each other a hard time: one by stubbornly insisting on an engineering solution he found and protecting it against all new ideas and justified requests with the disarming argument: "this is not feasible from a technical point of view"; the other one by becoming obsessed with pure design ideas and then insisting on specifications that do not take into account the technical preconditions and possibilities and that are really "not feasible from a technical point of view". But even if both are willing, this adventure – and each complicated technical development is one – bears enough unforeseeable difficulties and surprises that are able to void the often rather mature results of the product designer and may end in quarrels. And then there is also the human aspect.


Especially the developing engineer is interested in the product beyond his mere technical contribution. He sees it as his child and property, which he does not like to share with others, leave alone with an outsider. He wants it to be successful and wants it, which he sees as a prerequisite for its success, to look "good". Good is that which he likes, which corresponds to his taste. That the taste of the product designer often is a fundamentally different one, all too obviously suggests itself. Personal human acceptance and respect are required if this joint venture is to deliver something good. Often, mere emotional processes such as sympathy and antipathy are more important than the objective assessment of talent and skills." 12)

Fritz was able to paint lovely pictures. As a model maker working with tools and machines he was less suitable – but that was not most important after all. Like Erwin and I he had realized of which tremendous value an unmistakable face was for Braun and together with us took on the mental leadership over our design work with the declared aim to strengthen our corporate identity and to reflect it in our products and our public appearance (fig. 46).

In the meantime, Fritz had extended the design department. Under his leadership, Dieter Rams became its manager and, dividing labor with Gerd A. Müller, focused on the radio and phono section. Gerd A. Müller, who was very skillful in modeling with plaster materials, took to the design of the electrical appliances. He contributed significantly to the development of our successful kitchen machines and shavers (fig. 47). Years ago, I wrote about the development of our shavers in a book:


In order not to neglect our shaver in all the haste, Bodo Fütterer took to the development of a new model, which he reengineered thoroughly and very skillfully. Later it should be called 'SM 3' (fig. 48). Gerd A. Müller subjected the pot-bellied combi enclosure to a slimming diet. The new device was very dear to Fritz's and my heart and as product design did not dispose of sufficient machinery at that time, Gerd A. Müller's models did not have the precision required for reasonable assessment. So we often met him at a profiling machine in tool shop and construction where we transferred the complicated radiuses Bodo Fütterer had constructed in the meantime to a plastic block. That way the design of the 'SM 3', which should later serve as the basis for our famous 'sixtant', took shape in close cooperation between engineer and designer. 13) It was the type of cooperation we always sought: directly at the object, with a sense for materials, colors, and workmanship and – most important of all – with a frank exchange of ideas.


In 1959 we were able to win Reinhold Weiss as another designer for our design department (fig. 49). As a graduate from the Ulm Hochschule, he incorporated its methods and ideas into our design work. He worked very independently at the electrical appliances. Extraordinary designs such as the table fan 'HL 1', the toaster 'HT 1' as well as coffee grinders and water kettles are his work and bear his signature as a designer (fig. 50 to 52). For the toaster, Reinhold Weiss used the colors black and silver for the first time, which would later become our key colors.


Graphic design with Wolfgang Schmittel as its manager was also headed by Fritz Eichler (fig. 53). Otl Aicher had suggested new fonts and systems that removed the dust from the overall appearance of Braun, that made it transparent and clear (fig. 54). From packaging to printed matter to advertising displays for shop windows – many things that are often better noticed than the actual product – demonstrated modernity and high demands (fig. 55). This verbal and visual design of Braun's appearance was then further extended by Wolfgang Schmittel – consistent and very successful (fig. 56). Simultaneously, Otl Aicher and Hans G. Conrad designed a pavilion for the Frankfurt fair grounds that received much attention and an information mobile for Braun products (fig. 57 to 60).


Fritz continued in his letter to Wilhelm Wagenfeld about our device program:

"With the experiences we had made with our radio sets, we took to redesigning our entire device program. It was a long way full of experiences that lead to the products you can see in the adjoining family picture of the present program. The realization of these devices required a separate department for product design. The picture with its slightly random arrangement is able to illustrate how versatile and varied the tasks are it has to solve. Varied concerning the set tasks, concerning technologies and materials, varied also due to the market situation of the individual devices, which is often able to influence the product design to a larger extent than you are actually willing to accept.

A family likeness of the individual devices can surely not be denied. Is it coincidence or intentional style? In trade and industry, a so-called Braun style is talked about many a time. Does it really exist? In an extensive and thorough examination published in the magazine "Industrial Design", Richard Moss tried to analyze the "Braun style" based on our devices. He writes: "The impression prevails that each Braun product is designed in accordance with certain rules – yet not according to the rules of a book of standards, but according to the laws of a design ethos. Each design originating from Braun seems to adhere to three universal laws: the law of order, the law of harmony, and the law of austerity", with austerity describing the creation of a harmonious shape with means as limited and simple as possible. Three laws which we fully support as the basis for our product design. "Design ethos"? A word too great and too demanding for a natural cause." 14)



We were well on our way, had raised attention with our devices in many apartments of the 1957 Interbau in Berlin, met with approval at the XI Milan Triennale in 1957 and the 1958 world exhibition in Brussels (fig. 61 to 64). Entire series of new products were developed, staff was increased, and new production facilities were built. The growth of our company had sped up so much that our family business reached its limits. Thus, in 1961, we decided to turn our general partnership into a stock company (fig. 65). Erwin had done the complicated preparatory work. We now had a board of directors and the common stock company rules. Fritz Eichler continued as the head of design, Dieter Rams and Wolfgang Schmittel as his department managers. In March 1961, the Italian ambassador in the presence of Vice Chancellor Ludwig Erhard presented us with the "Compasso d'Oro", that very famous award for modern design (fig. 66). And the turbulent development continued; over the following years, numerous new products were created, developed, constructed, designed, produced, advertised, and sold (fig. 67). 15) Many publications provide ample descriptions of them.

Unfortunately, many things at Braun became more anonymous. It was hardly possible anymore to give intense attention to different details. But there was Fritz. Free from the usual organizational problems, he was able to completely engage himself in his head of design position.


In 1967 we decided to pass responsibilities to Gillette. The fate of our design, therefore, was in Fritz's hands, who stayed with the company. Highly esteemed by the new shareholders, he was appointed a board member for design and given the responsibility for the entire appearance of Braun. Fritz knew that the task was to ensure the existence and the further development of our design under changed conditions and put all his efforts and creativity into this task over the following years. He succeeded again and again in convincing the new owners of the Braun design value. Maybe his time as a board member from 1967 to 1973 can be called his most productive period.


Soon, Fritz Eichler initiated the Braun-Prize just like he had agreed with Erwin shortly before we left the company. The prize was to attract young designers all over the world (fig. 68). For Fritz it was an ideal publicity platform for the Braun design. The award ceremonies gave him the possibility to explain the fundamentals of our design work. For Fritz it was not important to play the juryman, but it was important to him to provide suggestions and insight into our way of working to young designers. In this context he gave presentations, wrote a lot, and with time further developed the philosophy of our design work and put it in words. Even though he was averse to any ideology, he nevertheless established the following guiding principles about the Braun design. They are true to the very day and offer valuable clues to the solid foundation that was created under his leadership over long years of joint efforts.


Braun design: The prerequisite for good design is a clear corporate concept defining design as a duty for the entire company.

Function: The purpose is the starting point and the objective of each design for us.

Order: Each design is only suitable for us if it follows an intelligent order.

Ergonomics: Design is done for the people and has to consider the power, the size, the senses of human beings.

Good design to us means: as little design as possible.

Balance: Our design brings all individual elements into their correct proportion.

Accuracy: There is no negligibility for a Braun designer.

Expression: Good design is the expression of high quality, advanced technology, and innovative usage properties.

Innovation: Our design breaks new ground because it considers technical development and changes in the behavior of human beings.

Togetherness: Braun design puts everything in the context of a meaningful program.


These guiding principles, which he established at the end of his board membership in 1973, are documented in the annual report of 1972/73 as the conclusion of his work and at the same time his legacy. 16) He did not want to assert a sole claim to "good design" – he would have thought that this was inappropriate and arrogant.


In 1973, Fritz changed from the board of directors to the supervisory board. Eighteen years of responsibility for all design work at and of Braun were enough for him. Dieter Rams was his successor and from 1973 to 1995 – against fierce resistance and impugnment – responsible for the design work and developed it very successfully.

Fritz died on August 17, 1991. As a supervisory board member, he persistently represented the interests of the Braun design and the work of Dieter Rams until his death. With a heavy heart we buried his urn anonymously; that was his wish. Since then he has more and more fallen into oblivion. He would have had no understanding for a struggle over who contributed the most to the Braun design.
He knew that it required a team effort for the Braun design to evolve, close, personal cooperation in a group of motivated people where everybody respected each other and that no single individual can claim creatorship for the Braun design alone (fig. 69).


And he also knew about the favor of fate that had brought together as friends people with most different mindsets and skills in the right place at the right time, for the work on a common cause.



Braun, A.: The Development of the Braun Design. In: Jatzke-Wigand, H.; Klatt, J.: The Development of the Braun Design. In: Design+Design zero, Hamburg December 2011, 1st edition, 4-47

powered by webEdition CMS