Good design is honest

Design. Good design is honest. Dieter Rams



I thought I’d share this from one of my favourite designers Dieter Rams.

Dieter Rams is an industrial designer who studied and worked as an architect initially, and known for his minimalist and clean approach for Braun consumer products. He remains an iconic figure in the design industry especially with his distilled approach on products. He best describes his approach as “less, but better”.

“Dieter Rams’ ability to bring form to a product so that it clearly, concisely and immediately communicates its meaning is remarkable… He remains utterly alone in producing a body of work so consistently beautiful, so right, and so accessible.” – Jonathan Ive, Apple chief design officer (CDO)

Good design is honest_ in his 10 principles for good design is my favourite, indicating that an honest design does not try to manipulate the consumer by promises they cannot keep. Also, an honest design does not make a product appear more innovative, powerful or valuable than it is.

Here are his 10 principles for good design:

1. Good design is innovative
2. Good design makes a product useful
3. Good design is aesthetic
4. Good design is makes a product understandable
5. Good design is unobtrusive
6. Good design is honest
7. Good design is long-lasting
8. Good design is thorough down to the last detail
9. Good design is environmentally friendly
10. Good design is as little design as possible

There is a film coming out soon titled ‘Rams’, about Dieter Rams by Gary Hutswits.
I am looking forward to it. It is worth also watching the documentary Objectified also by  Gary Hutwits which also features Dieter Rams, Jonathan Ive, and many more influential designers.

I will leave you with these words from Dieter Rams, a transcript from the ‘Rams’ trailer.


Design, Art/Creative direction, Post 
By Philip Abang


Verse 35. Believe



“If you don’t believe in your work who else is going to believe in it?” _Milton Glaser.

Inspirational words from a graphic design icon and one of my favourite designers of all time; designer of the iconic ‘INY’ logo.

The saying applies to whatever work you do be it a designer, an illustrator, an artist, a blogger, musician, photographer, painter, writer, doctor, psychologist, nurse, etc.

If I didn’t believe that my posts could inspire myself and at least one person out there, I wouldn’t be posting at all.

Meanwhile, thank you for finding this post inspiring.

Believe in your work, simples!

Design, Art/Creative direction, Post 
By Philip Abang




Dear ZedTears. Kojo by Tambu Geeray


So young Kojo ran as fast as his feeble legs could carry him. He knew he couldn’t outrun his pursuers but had to keep going.

Qotari’s voice echoed through the forest as though from a thousand sad choirs. “Run Kojo, run!”

He had just seen Qotari go down like a tree without roots. Was he dreaming?

“Shoot him, shoot his legs you fools”, he heard one of the men say.

What was happening? Who were these people and where have they emerged from? Would a lovely day turn bloody in split seconds? Was that the last he saw of Qotari?

Immersed in this sea of thoughts, he kept running and wouldn’t stop.

He was gasping for breath and in need of rest but the angry voices behind made it a luxury he couldn’t afford.

He would rather go down like a haunted endangered specie than see it coming…he thought with defiant finality.

The gunshots kept ringing behind him with bullets ricocheting against iroko trees all about. He heard a loud cry, more like a roar. That was the last he heard of Qotari, he knew.

“Shoot the kid! Don’t let him get away you bloody amateurs!”, he heard their leader yell out again.

Still buried in his thoughts while running, Kojo tripped on some undergrowth and went tumbling down a steep cliff into what turned out to be a cave.

Exhausted from the entire ordeal, he opened his eyes and looked around. A lion’s den, he thought. He was going to be devoured by whatever beast lived there, he realised helplessly.

There would be no rescue. He clenched his little fists in anguish and sobbed uncontrollably, convinced that it would end there.

Finally he opened his eyes facing the ceiling of the cave, he could only hear the angry voices of an angry lot. He gazed at all that lay around and above him, all he saw was sticky walls full of Spirogyra and stalactites.

Qotari was gone, he would follow sooner or later, vanished in a nightmare.

…The beginning…

_By Tambu Geeray

Tambu Geeray sent me a brief introduction to a book he is currently writing inspired by an African folklore. The story of Kojo, hailing from a tribe on the verge of extinction similar to a fictional documentary project I worked on about the life of Tora.

Worth checking out “Not Just a Pretty Face” also by Tambu GeerayGreat stuff!

Design, Art/Creative direction, Illustration, Post
By Philip Abang
Credit: Tambu Geeray - Kojo

Not Just A Pretty Face

Dear ZedTears. Not Just A Pretty Face #1 By Tambu Geeray


She wakes up very early in the morning everyday to cook breakfast for the family while the world sleeps, while the man of the house still coils deep inside the duvet dreaming away, probably having a beautiful dream because dreams they say mostly besiege us when dawn approaches.

With the kind of renewed energy that only morning dew gives (my grand mom told me so) she sweeps, cleans, bathes the kids when they’re awake, clothes and feeds them, then gets them ready for school.

For the man of the house, she fixes his meals just as he loves them, sometimes she goes an extra mile to give it a little more than he’d expect with that midas touch of hers.

While at the breakfast table, she comes up with bright ideas and makes reasonable contributions whenever talks concerning the family are thrown therein. Even when she does not totally agree with some of the suggestions and opinions raised by the man of the house, she politely leads him into understanding why it should or shouldn’t be done this way or that way.

After a few smiles and laughs, they passionately kiss and wish each other an awesome day at work. A daily routine of theirs.

At work she goes about the business of the day doing all she can for the success and growth of all involved with such diligence that leaves you wondering if she ever gets tired or breaks down. Of course, she gets tired and also breaks down.

She’s made of flesh and bone like the rest of us.

But she’s got a magic wand, her smiles. She lets her beautiful smiles do the concealment.

She’s a bank manager in one of the A’ list banks in the country with lots of expectations and demands from both her employers, some of the employees and the teeming disgruntled account owners with the bank. She respectfully deals with these people everyday without a sign of displeasure even beyond her training.

But when she’s alone, she thinks of her life outside the purview of a bank manager, she thinks of her first and masters’ degrees both in Geology lying fallow in a box inside a closet back home. She thinks deep and sometimes hopes it wasn’t a waste of time taking the training that got her working in a financial institution in the first place…

She thinks of her second child whose headmistress has been complaining of under performance both in class and in the last examinations. How about her first child who recently had her first menstrual experience, meaning an extra eye has to be kept on her.

Then there’s the issue of a young lady who keeps calling at terrible hours claiming to be a secretary to the man of the house… She creates a personal “To Do” list and deals with all these one after the other like women deal with blackheads on their faces. She deals with lots of other challenges not mentioned above.

After an energy draining day at work, she rushes home thinking of the evening meal while driving. She thinks about how to get there on time amidst the unrepentant traffic, she worries about how to beat it and get home to get dinner prepared and served in good time before it’s dusk (coupled with the dieting demands of this this century.)

She’s indeed not just a pretty face. She’s a mother, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a lover of God, a virtuous woman, a builder and keeper of the home.

And to all the “Not Just Pretty Faces” out there, be you a teacher, a banker, a doctor/nurse, a lawyer, a mechanic, a cab driver, a farmer, a shop owner/keeper, a tailor/fashion designer, a hairdresser/stylist, a broadcaster, a reporter both in the print and electronic media, a musician, a professional dancer, a pilot, a caterer/restaurateur, too many to mention here, we honour you with all our hearts.

We respect you without blemish.

You have all got everything it takes to be the enigmas that you are.

Keep doing all you have been doing. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

By Tambu Geeray

Tambu Geeray featured in my second post POTENTIAL. He sent me this beautiful piece that he wrote, dedicating it to all the amazing women that hold the aces which we mostly under appreciate. I couldn’t keep this piece to myself so I thought I’d share it here with his permission. Keep an eye for more fantastic write up from Tambu Geeray. RESPECT!

Design, Creative/Art direction, Illustration, Post
By Philip Abang
Credit: Tambu Geeray - Not Just A Pretty Face


Dear ZedTears. Fear


I was watching some video clips on YouTube when I came across Zach Williams’ Fear Is a Liar , I was completely hooked.

The lyrics were powerful, touching upon the life’s of three individuals in the video on how fear affected each differently.

In not too distant context, fear can be crippling and can hinder progress. The fear of failure, fear of trying or taking risk deprives us of certain opportunities and overcoming road blocks.

More so, creativity is born out of risk taking and mostly flipping the script. Some risk are worth taking to get to the next level. Life’s biggest risk is not taking one. For new chapters, pages must be flipped.

Overcoming fear is the beginning of excellence and accomplishments.

Cast that fear in the fire, for fear truly is a liar.

©Dear ZedTears

Design, Creative/Art direction, Post
By Philip Abang
Lyric Credit: Zach Williams performing Fear Is A Liar (Official Music Video).



Verse 10. Creativity






I was watching Ije Nwokorie at 2015 AIGA Design Conference: The Future of Creativity in the Age of Automation a while back and I came across Brené Brown’s quote above. Ije referenced her quote to qualify his thoughts on creativity and directions we can take when we allow our innate creative ability take center stage.

Ije’s work provides a platform for clients and everyone to use a creative process to solve problems. Very intriguing I must say.

I have also seen Brené Brown’s lecture on on The Power of vulnerability. It is worth noting how she uses her creative ability to woo the audience in a mesmerizing manner whilst demonstrating her art of storytelling.

We may not all be designers but we all have creative abilities. In an age where automation is profoundly evident in our everyday living, our creativity still trumps everything.

Our creativity is evident in how we speak, dance, write, see, think, draw, design, illustrate, solve problems etc. Creativity is born out of our intuitive mind. The rational mind should learn to shut up when our intuitive mind speaks.

As Albert Eintein puts it;

“the intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind a faithful servant.”

We should be more aware of our creativity and let it be exhibited in whatever we do. Sir Ken Robinson makes a case for schools hindering creativity. In his talk on Do schools kill creativity?  (also worth watching), he clearly makes a robust case for schools killing creativity.

He describes creativity as thus;

creativity — which I define as the process of having original ideas that have value — more often than not comes about through the interaction of different disciplinary ways of seeing things.”

Graphic design showed me a way of seeing things and as a result, I can express my thoughts visually, in writing and in design. I allow my intuitive mind dictate some of my creative approach.

“Creativity is part of life” _ Ije Nwokorie

Ije’s response to Brené Brown’s quote was a resounding ‘AMEN’. I concur to his affirmation with another huge ‘AMEN’ to that!!

Design, Creative direction, Post
By Philip Abang



Verse 9. Failure


There is often a sense of resignation when failure knocks us off our stride in a process of effectuating an action, a goal or a target. There have been countless incidence of businesses, individuals, or designs that have failed. Be that as it may, countless have also succeeded.

Case study revealing how businesses, designs,  ‘great minds’, or entrepreneurs succeeding despite draining the wells of failure are too numerous to mention. Ironically, many whom have been through this path will suggest there is no such thing as failure. Every act of failing is only an indicator, a lesson, an insight, a benchmark to new ideas, a different and better approach to reaching an intended goal, target, resolution, and solution to problems.

My attempt to demonstrate the grits and determination of names we may or may not know that have scaled the fences of failure will be bitty, and no where near the never-ending tales of failure to success.

Nonetheless, Thomas Edison is a common case study of how he failed 10,000 in his attempt to develop a practical incandescent lamp. His quotes below sums up his thoughts on failure;

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”

“There’s a way to do it better – find it”

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time”.


Oprah Winfrey’s thought corroborates Thomas Edison’s, William Whewell’s, and many others. Some names worth mentioning includes Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and James Dyson.

Failure and success seem to be at two opposites ends of the scale, but relatively speaking, both are closer than we can imagine. I see both as a reflection in a mirror. Looking in the mirror is a figure of oneself staring back, beyond the figure, is a depth of potential, greatness, talent, possibility, knowledge, and more. Tapping into this depth determines how far we climb or how low we descend. Learning from every failure is the start to tapping into the potential of success.

This amazing quote from Samuel Beckett is a start;

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Design, Creative direction, Post 
By Philip Abang



Verse 8. You



I am a huge fan of Barbra Streisand and always will be. I can’t stress how incredibly talented she is having watched her films and listened to her songs. Her multiple awards won in both film and music speaks volumes. She is an actress, singer, filmmaker, song writer, you name it. Her intellect illuminates in this quote above. The design puzzle is yours to dissect.

Have a guess how many times Barbra Streisand uses the word ‘YOU’ in this quote. A good understanding of how we associate meaning or deconstruct meaning with words aids your critical thinking, self awareness in life terms, communication and problem solving in design terms.

This quote can be associated with most of my posts thus far.

I will let YOU be the judge!


Trust YOU!

Still looking for clues?

Design, Creative direction, Post
By Philip Abang


Verse 7. TRY-ing



Leo Pennant left this incredible quote in the comment section of my post Living. I thought it was indicative of the power of quotes highlighting the words of Alexander the Great; “There is nothing impossible to him who will try”.

In my previous post Living, I eluded to the fact that my plans in the previous years wasn’t to be writing a post or designing quotes using expressive typography for emphasis. As a matter of fact, I had a phobia for using computers over the years.

_A phobia can be described as an intense fear or a disinclination to something.

We sometimes have dreams to attain things in our lives, but contrary to our aims, it takes certain effort to project us to our desired destination. In many a case, taking the first step is the biggest challenge. It is fair to point out the ‘fear’ factor which can be debilitating. Other factors including procrastination, uncertainty, mishaps, et al. could also be a barrier to what we can achieve.

The old adage; ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ sound cliché but it remains relevant. It is significant to lay the first brick, and in order to create a forest, you have to keep planting trees. The effort we put in by TRYING is pivotal. Effort begets reward.

Look beyond the obstacle along the way, patiently try, just try, keep trying… “little drops of water makes an ocean”, I hear them say!

Design, Creative direction, Post
By Philip Abang
Quote Credit: Leo Pennant