Book Review: BRAUN--Fifty Years of Design and Innovation

Good looks look good

I recently reviewed the excellent 808 page Less and More: The Design Ethos of Dieter Rams book about Braun. It will probably be considered the definitive title about the company with a thorough analysis of the products and in particular the role of designer Rams. It had one annoying fault though: the photo pages used profile product shots that were really too small and made worse because they had a page to themselves facing a left-hand page with a head-on photo of the product.

Bernd Polster's book is essentially a visual catalogue of Braun products with a photo of each (and it would really have looked stunning if it had used, at a proper size, the profile shots from the 'Less and more' book). The product lines are divided into eight chapters: Entertainment electronics; Photography and film; Clocks and pocket calculators; Lighters and flashlights; Electric shavers; Body care; Oral care; Household appliances. Each of these starts with an introduction and picks out milestone products for a detailed overview followed by photos and brief captions which visually trace the history of the line. The photos are straightforward shots, beautifully taken and used as cutouts on the page with a hint of a shadow to give them all a dimensional look. The Braun approach to design shines out from every page.

The first seventy pages cover the history of the company using text and photos and the back of the book has a comprehensive listing of every product with page numbers where an item has a photo. This is a beautifully designed book (with the photos printed in a 250 screen on a matt art paper) which celebrates the Braun product design philosophy.

BRAUN: Fifty Years of Design and Innovation is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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The two essential books on Braun.

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Title spread.

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Contents spread.

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Left: a spread from the 'Less and more' book about the T 1000 radio showing the annoyingly small profile product shots. Right: the radio on a spread in the 'Fifty years...' book.

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In each product group the book picks out milestone products and describes them in detail. This is the T 1000 radio from 1963.

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The first seventy pages look at the history of the company.

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Product spreads like this are the main feature of the book.

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The back of the book has a forty-four page listing of Braun products.

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