Back in the 1960s especially, Braun was among the very cutting edge in industrial design – they were the pioneer and the leaders that played a major role in defining and shaping conversations on aesthetics and design. Even today, modern design icons from Apple are still arguably very much inspired by the Braun aesthetics of the bygone era.
The Braun Prize is still very much a coveted prize for any design students in the world, though you’d have to admit, Braun itself as a corporation has faded somewhat significantly in its influence on the design world.
Industrial designer Joe Doucet noticed this issue, and took the initiative to start the speculative design efforts designed to reignite what made Braun great:
Doucet hopes the self-funded prototypes (presented to the manufacturer earlier this year) will help initiate a change in the Braun aesthetic, which, since Dieter Rams’ days as head of design, has “lacked distinction”. “It’s been 40 years since Braun was in the design museum,” says Doucet. “The products are still engineered very well, but there is no ethos. If you remove the Braun branding they could be by any other manufacturer.”
Here are his three speculative designs for a toaster, mobile phone and music player:
For me, I’d agree with the assessment that Braun has faded from design leadership in many (most?) of its consumer product segments. Perhaps they’ve decided that one-style-can’t-fit-all-demographics; perhaps no one could take on Dieter Ram’s hats. In any case, as I glance across the home appliances aisle now, it is difficult to pick out a Braun apart from its (imho) still very iconic BRAUN logo.
What do you think of Doucet’s proposals? Do they work for you?