Seven years ago, I wrote an article about what I thought made “good design.” I wrote about how foundational design principles (as defined by famed industrial designer Dieter Rams in the 1970s), consistency, and experience are the benchmarks for determining whether or not our work is aesthetically successful. It’s the way I felt in 2017, and the same way I feel now—by sticking to a core set of standards and letting lessons learned through years in the industry guide us, we can feel confident in our results. 

Fortunately, the set of principles I wrote about seven years ago has evolved, expanded, and been redefined in some cases. In 2024, it’s critically important to focus on accessibility, empathy, telling a compelling story through design, and—more than ever—making sure to use the right tools.

More Than Pretty Things

Successful design is so much more than pretty things. I am constantly reminding my teammates that design is subjective, and what may appeal to us may not appeal to others. Understanding trends, the research, objectives, audiences, context, and purpose drives successful results. But if the results do not meet clients’ goals, then we’re not producing good design for them. Whether we are rebranding an agency, producing a long-form video series, redesigning a website, or animating a social ad, it’s important to start with LMD’s core design principles to create functional and beautiful experiences.

New Design Principles

LMD’s creative team based our original set of seven design principles on Dieter Rams’ principles of good design. Through forward-thinking and collaboration, our team has thoughtfully expanded the core set of design principles to incorporate these seven new ones, including: 

  1. Good design is accessible. Well-designed deliverables are usable and inclusive for people of all abilities and backgrounds. Simplicity, clarity, and adaptability are prioritized to ensure everyone can interact easily and effectively.
  2. Good design is empathetic. Our designers must understand and address the needs, emotions, and behaviors of our clients’ users. We must prioritize creating solutions that are intuitive, inclusive, and tailored to improve the user experience.
  3. Good design tells a compelling story. We communicate clear, engaging narratives that resonate with our target audiences, influencing their understanding and emotional response. Our design solutions weave design elements together into cohesive visual messages that captivate and inspire.
  4. Good design means using the right tools. The quality and effectiveness of solutions depend on utilizing the appropriate techniques and tools best suited for our work. This approach ensures efficiency and timeliness, and enhances the potential to achieve the desired outcome in the design process.
  5. Good design is informed design. Design decisions are based on discovery, research, understanding of user needs, and consideration of context. Informed design integrates data, insights, and knowledge to create solutions that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
  6. Good design is iteration in moderation. Adjusting our work is essential to create the best results, but it's important to avoid overdoing it. Balance between iteration and restraint ensures improvement with clarity and purpose.
  7. Good design is collaborative. The absolute best design emerges from teamwork—where diverse perspectives and skills come together to create innovative solutions. We put an emphasis on open communication, mutual respect, and the collective effort to refine ideas and achieve a shared vision!

As a designer, manager, director, and consultant for the last 25 years, I always ask the question, “Am I looking at ‘good design’?” As long as our talented team is guided by our continually growing design principles and the experience we’ve gained during our many years together, the answer will continue to be a resounding, “YES!”

Our team knows good design. Let us take your brand, website, or advertising to the next level.

Vice President, Creative Services
As LMD's Vice President of Creative Services, Dan oversees LMD’s designers on web and multimedia projects. He is an award-winning graphic designer whose portfolio of work includes high-visibility projects for...Read more