Dieter Die for Design Crit (by James Buckhouse and Alexandra Bond )

Roll the Dieter Die

James Buckhouse
Design Story
Published in
2 min readApr 13, 2016


The next time you are in a design crit and the conversation gets out of control, roll the Dieter Die and reframe the critique around Dieter Ram’s 10 points on great design.

Quick sketch of Dieter by James Buckhouse

FIFTY YEARS AGO, design legend Dieter Rams penned his 10 points for good design. They remains as follows:

Good design is innovative. Good design must be useful. Good design is aesthetic design. Good design makes a product understandable. Good design is honest. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is long-lasting. Good design is consistent in every detail. Good design is environmentally friendly. And last but not least, good design is as little design as possible.

Remarkably, they mostly still hold true. If I were to suggest two more, I’d add these:
Good design starts with empathy. Good design tells a story.

Here’s how to use it.

  1. Print it out
  2. Fold it up
  3. Glue tabs in place or use tape.
  4. Roll it across the table
  5. Crit the design based on Dieter Ram’s 10 points

It’s hard to talk about design, even for designers. We all lose our way sometimes. And non-designers? They need even more love to help bring their good ideas into circulation in a positive and productive way.

Design Challenge! Grab your designer friends and create an even better version of the Dieter Die. lmk on Twitter and we’ll post whatever you make.

Are you a designer? Come work with us at Sequoia’s Creative Lab here:

Want to do an art project together? I paint a new stranger nearly every day. Read about the project and send me a photo of yourself here

Find me on the web at or on Twitter.



James Buckhouse
Design Story

Design Partner at Sequoia, Founder of Sequoia Design Lab. Past: Twitter, Dreamworks. Guest lecturer at Stanford GSB/ & Harvard GSD