The world has seen some extremely influential designers over the years, however there are some that truly stand out from the crowd as ground breakers.

So, we thought we’d give you an insight into who 4D’s designers think have not only influenced the world of product design, but also their design philosophies too.

Dieter Rams (Braun) – the Original Industrial Designer

This first person was unanimous from everyone on the team. Literally the first name to come to mind.

Born in 1932, Dieter Rams is best known for his association with Braun and his affiliation with the functionalist approach to industrial design. His motto “less, but better”, has ensured his products have a truly timeless quality, and his work has influenced countless other product designers, bringing Rams appreciation and recognition from around the world.

It was Rams who first introduced the concept of sustainable development during the 1970s, and he drew up ten principles for “good design” that still stand today:

  1. Is the product innovative?
  2. Is the product useful?
  3. Is the product aesthetic?
  4. Is the product understandable?
  5. Is the product unobtrusive?
  6. Is the product honest?
  7. Is the product long-lasting?
  8. Is the product thorough to the very last detail?
  9. Is the product environmentally friendly?
  10. Is the product simple?

These key principles still hold true and should be borne in mind by anyone who is embarking on an industrial design project.

David Lewis – For His Outstanding Work

Born in 1939, David Lewis was a graduate of London’s Central School of Art who relocated to Denmark and began working under Henning Moldenhawer and Jacob Jensen, a pair of legendary designers, for Bang & Olufsen. Lewis started as he meant to go on, with his first product being the Beovision 400 TV.

In 1982, he formed David Lewis Designers, whose designs formed the core during the 1980s of Bang and Olufsen’s total output. His innovations included Bang & Olufsen’s MX series, and he held to a strong belief that all products must be enduring, desirable, and have a long lifespan. Slow product evolution was the cornerstone of his thinking, and his core philosophy was that the less complicated things are, the more interesting people find them.

Jony Ive and Steve Jobs – a Perfect Pairing

This pairing was another common opinion amongst the team.

Steve Jobs is the celebrated founder and CEO of Apple who, despite being forced out of the organisation during the 1980s, returned in 1997 to revive the failing company. His “Think Different “ campaign led to a host of innovations that have overturned popular culture across the world. He worked closely with Jony Ive, or to give him his full name, Sir Jonathan Paul Ive. Having joined the company in 1992, Ive first became the company’s Senior Vice President of Industrial Design and then CDO until he left the organisation in 2019. Ive and Jobs worked together closely on many projects including the iMac, iPod, iPad, MacBook, and iPhone.

MD James Bell believes that these two have had a huge impact, not just in a general sense but also from a personal point of view.

“Apart from being one of the most successful and famous companies anywhere in the world, Apple has also made more business owners recognise that impressive industrial design, focusing on the needs of the user, and ensuring the highest quality products is the best way to make sales.

It is thanks to this legacy that industrial design has become an easier sell as a key component for business growth – not just for artistic purposes alone, but for the belief in it and facilitation of it.”

Special Mentions

Now, not every name mentioned, when this subject was put forward to the design team, was the same. Every product designer will have their own people and places that they draw inspiration from, and influences their work more than others.

With that, we thought it was worth mentioning these two.

James Dyson – The Hoover Guy

Well, vacuum cleaner actually, but how many people actually call it a vacuum cleaner and not a Hoover!

Still, James’ initial work to revolutionise the vacuum cleaner in the late 70’s only came to fruition in the 90’s with the bagless “Dyson Duel Cyclone”, which went on to become the fastest selling vacuum cleaner ever made in the UK.

Since then, Dyson has branched off into a several different areas, air multiplier, hand dryers, hair grooming, zone. No matter what product they release you can be assured that they will be at the forefront of technological advancements and their designs will be sleek and futuristic.

Norman Foster – A Key Figure in British Architecture

You may think this is a bit left field…and you’d be right. However, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of diversity when it comes to inspiration. And Norman Foster is one of the best at what he does and for 4D’s lead designer Adam Farrell “his work on various iconic buildings has always stood out” for him.