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Join me in making the world’s first feature documentary on legendary designer Dieter Rams, and in helping preserve his design archive.
Join me in making the world’s first feature documentary on legendary designer Dieter Rams, and in helping preserve his design archive.
Join me in making the world’s first feature documentary on legendary designer Dieter Rams, and in helping preserve his design archive.
5,110 backers pledged $279,278 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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RAMS: The First Feature Documentary About Dieter Rams

$279,278

5,110

The Film 

Hello, friends, Gary Hustwit here. I'm the director of the documentaries Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized. I've had the pleasure of having conversations with some of the most creative designers in the world for these films. 

In 2008, I had the honor of interviewing Dieter Rams for my documentary Objectified, but I was only able to share a small piece of his story. 

Dieter, who is now 84, is a very private person; however, I have been granted unprecedented and exclusive access to Dieter for the first feature-length documentary about his life and work. 

The documentary is simply titled Rams

Dieter Rams at work at Braun, circa 1970s. Photo by Abisag Tüllmann
Dieter Rams at work at Braun, circa 1970s. Photo by Abisag Tüllmann

We've recently filmed Dieter for several weeks in his home and studio, but we still have a ton of filming left to go, which is why we are turning to Kickstarter.

The documentary will include in-depth conversations with Dieter, and detail the process behind some of his most iconic designs. We want to get past the legend of Dieter, and get into his philosophy, process, inspirations, and even his regrets.

This Kickstarter campaign will not only support the making of this documentary but also help efforts to preserve his design archive––a majority of which the public has never seen.

Rams' Influence

For over fifty years Dieter has left an indelible mark on the field of product design and the world at large with his iconic work at Braun and Vitsoe. 

The objects Dieter has designed have touched the lives of millions of people––so many of us have had a Braun coffeemaker, shaver, stereo, calculator, speakers, or alarm clock. Or an Oral-B toothbrush. Or a Vitsoe 606 shelving system. Or any of the hundreds of other products Dieter has designed or overseen the design of.

A few of the over 500 products Rams has designed or overseen the design of
A few of the over 500 products Rams has designed or overseen the design of

Dieter's influence also extends to his "Ten Principles of Good Design." Sometimes referred to as the Ten Commandments, this “veritable scripture” champions simplicity, honesty, and restraint, and still applies to design theory and practice today.

The Archive

This Kickstarter campaign will fund the film and also help to preserve Dieter's incredible design archive for the future. There's a trove of drawings, photographs, and other material spanning Dieter's fifty plus years of work, and it needs to be properly conserved. 

To that end, we're working with the Dieter and Ingeborg Rams Foundation to help them catalog, digitize, and save these documents. The public has never seen most of this material, and we intend to share some of these discoveries with our backers during the process of making the film.

Dieter Rams at the Jazzkeller club in Frankfurt, circa 1955.
Dieter Rams at the Jazzkeller club in Frankfurt, circa 1955.

 

Braun Nizo 561 camera and drawings
Braun Nizo 561 camera and drawings

Press

 

"Documentarian Gary Hustwit is just the person to make [Rams]." - Wired

"Dieter Rams Is Finally Getting The Feature Film He Deserves” - Fast Co. Design

"Designer Dieter Rams to Take Center Stage in New Gary Hustwit Documentary"- Curbed

"So far the director says he has seen two sides to Rams’ character – sensitivity combined with sheer bloody-mindedness. 'It’s that combination that makes him so interesting,' says Hustwit." - design week

"As one of the most influential designers of our time, Dieter Rams has never been subject of a dedicated documentary." - It's Nice That

"Hustwit and his crew have been given unprecedented access to the notoriously private 84-year-old German." - Hypebeast

"'There’s a trove of drawings, photographs, and other material spanning Dieter’s fifty plus years of work, and it needs to be properly conserved,' Hustwit says." - Creative Review

"filmmaker gary hustwit, known for his design trilogy ‘helvetica’, ‘urbanized’ and ‘objectified’, plans to create a full-feature documentary about the legendary german designer dieter rams." - designboom

Where We Are with the Project

We've spent many weeks filming Dieter in his home and studio outside Frankfurt, and working alongside Mark Adams at Vitsoe in London. At 84, Dieter is as brilliant, playful, and focused as he's ever been. He's energized by the idea of passing down his knowledge to future generations of designers through this film.

Gary Hustwit, Dieter Rams, and Erik Spiekermann during filming
Gary Hustwit, Dieter Rams, and Erik Spiekermann during filming

One of the most interesting parts of Dieter's story is that he now looks back on his career with some regret. "If I had to do it over again, I would not want to be a designer," he told me in Objectified. He has also long been an advocate for the ideas of environmental consciousness, sustainability, and long-lasting products. "There are too many unnecessary products in this world." We hope to dig deeper into Dieter’s untold story––to try and understand a man of contradictions by design.

I want to let Dieter tell his own story, but I'll also be interviewing other people to give that story more context and plan to announce the list of the other interview subjects later this year. 

If this Kickstarter is successful I can jump straight back into shooting, finish production of the film, and cover archival preservation costs. 

Dieter with Mark Adams of Vitsoe, London
Dieter with Mark Adams of Vitsoe, London

 

Dieter at Vitsoe London working on a re-design of his 601 chair
Dieter at Vitsoe London working on a re-design of his 601 chair

 

Dieter in London, 2015
Dieter in London, 2015

The Rewards

We are offering some incredible, exclusive rewards through this campaign, including posters and limited edition prints designed by our good friend (and massive Rams fan) Michael C. Place of Build, books signed by Dieter himself, a tour of the Vitsoe factory, new and vintage objects from Vitsoe and Braun, and much more.

We'll also be hosting private screenings and receptions for the film in San Francisco, New York, and London.  

"10 Principles of Good Design" 5"x7" letterpress print, only available during this Kickstarter. There's a larger 16.5" x 23" version too.
"10 Principles of Good Design" 5"x7" letterpress print, only available during this Kickstarter. There's a larger 16.5" x 23" version too.

 

 

NEW REWARD! Rams film T-shirt, designed by Build.
NEW REWARD! Rams film T-shirt, designed by Build.

 

Limited-edition silkscreen prints designed by Build. Clockwise from top left: Vitsoe 606, Vitsoe 620, Braun T 41, Braun ET 66. ($150 each)
Limited-edition silkscreen prints designed by Build. Clockwise from top left: Vitsoe 606, Vitsoe 620, Braun T 41, Braun ET 66. ($150 each)

 

Vitsoe London workshop tour and 621 Table. Small size, white or black. SOLD OUT
Vitsoe London workshop tour and 621 Table. Small size, white or black. SOLD OUT

 

27" x 39" poster design by Build. ($75 level)
27" x 39" poster design by Build. ($75 level)

 

Vintage Braun RT 20 Radio with iPhone input ($2,500 level)
Vintage Braun RT 20 Radio with iPhone input ($2,500 level)

  

Copies of "Less But Better" signed by Dieter himself ($500 level)
Copies of "Less But Better" signed by Dieter himself ($500 level)

–––

We are so excited to work with you to make this campaign as successful as possible. So, please join me.

Celebrate a designer whose work continues to impact our lives. Preserve an important piece of design history for future generations.

Cheers,
–Gary

Music in our Kickstarter video by ARP.

Special thanks for all their help with this project: 
Britte Siepenkothen
Mark Adams
Erik Spiekermann
Julia Schulz
Sophie Lovell 
Klaus Klemp
Luke Geissbühler
Dr. Peter Kapos
Alex Daly
Alexis Georgopoulos
Michael C. Place

And of course to Dieter, for allowing me to tell his story. 

Dieter at the Vitsoe showroom in Frankfurt, early 1970s
Dieter at the Vitsoe showroom in Frankfurt, early 1970s

  

Braun P 1 portable phonograph and T 4 radio, 1959
Braun P 1 portable phonograph and T 4 radio, 1959

  

Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System / 601 Chair Program (1960 / 1961)
Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System / 601 Chair Program (1960 / 1961)

 

Braun HLD 4 hairdryer (1970)
Braun HLD 4 hairdryer (1970)

 

Braun AB 22 alarm clock (1982)
Braun AB 22 alarm clock (1982)

 

Rams at work at Braun, circa 1980s
Rams at work at Braun, circa 1980s

 

Risks and challenges

Kickstarter asks that all reward tiers include the latest delivery of the listed rewards. The film poster, Dieter’s jazz mix, and the digital copy of the film are all estimated to be delivered by September 2017. All the other rewards will be shipped by October 2016, or sooner.

There are minimal risks here––our team has produced 12 feature-length documentaries so we know the process pretty well!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    THE FILM

    A digital download of RAMS when the film is released.

    Plus, an exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    DIETER'S JAZZ MIX + FILM

    A list of Dieter's 10 favorite jazz records, typed on his Olivetti typewriter and then scanned into a PDF, and a link to the playlist.

    American jazz was a huge influence on Dieter and his design team in the '50s and '60s, which is one of the reasons they innovated with hi-fi stereo equipment at Braun!

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, and exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    LETTERPRESS "10 PRINCIPLES" + THE ABOVE

    A 5" x 7" letterpress print of Rams' "10 Principles for Good Design," designed by Build.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    NEW: RAMS T-SHIRT + FILM + JAZZ MIX

    A limited edition RAMS T-shirt, designed by Build. Only available on Kickstarter!

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    RAMS POSTER + JAZZ MIX + FILM

    The RAMS film poster, designed by Build. 27" x 39." Offset printed on thick 80# McCoy Silk cover stock.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    POSTER + LETTERPRESS + JAZZ MIX + FILM

    The RAMS film poster, and the 5" x 7" letterpress print of Rams' "10 Principles for Good Design," designed by Build.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    NEW: RAMS T-SHIRT + LETTERPRESS + FILM

    A limited edition RAMS t-shirt, only available on Kickstarter, and the 5" x 7" letterpress print of Rams' "10 Principles for Good Design." Both designed by Build.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    LIMITED EDITION PRINT #1 (Vitsoe 606)

    A2 size (16.5" x 23") limited edition silkscreen print designed by Build. Numbered edition of only 100 copies.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    LIMITED EDITION PRINT #2 (Vitsoe 620)

    A2 size (16.5" x 23") limited edition silkscreen print designed by Build. Numbered edition of only 100 copies.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Limited 9 backers
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    LIMITED EDITION PRINT #3 (Braun ET 66)

    A2 size (16.5" x 23") limited edition silkscreen print designed by Build. Numbered edition of only 100 copies.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    LIMITED EDITION PRINT #4 (Braun T 41)

    A2 size (16.5" x 23") limited edition silkscreen print designed by Build. Numbered edition of only 100 copies.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    LARGE "10 PRINCIPLES" LETTERPRESS PRINT

    A2 size (16.5" x 23") limited edition letterpress print of Rams' "10 Principles for Good Design," designed by Build. Boldly impressed in black ink on Cranes Lettra 300gsm art paper. Numbered edition of only 150 copies.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, and Dieter's jazz mix.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    LIMITED EDITION RAMS PHOTOGRAPH

    A limited edition 11" x 17" portrait photograph of Dieter Rams by Gary Hustwit. Signed by Gary Hustwit and printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta paper. Numbered edition of only 30 copies.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    NYC PRIVATE SCREENING + PARTY

    You and a guest will attend a private VIP screening and reception for RAMS in New York, before it's released to the public, hosted by Gary Hustwit.

    Plus, you'll receive a poster at the event, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

    Backer’s travel and accommodations not included.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    SF PRIVATE SCREENING + PARTY

    You and a guest will attend a private VIP screening and reception for RAMS in San Francisco, before it's released to the public, hosted by Gary Hustwit.

    Plus, you'll receive a poster at the event, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

    Backer’s travel and accommodations not included.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    LONDON PRIVATE SCREENING + PARTY

    You and a guest will attend a private VIP screening and reception for RAMS in London, before it's released to the public, hosted by Gary Hustwit.

    Plus, you'll receive a poster at the event, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

    Backer’s travel and accommodations not included.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    NEW! BERLIN PRIVATE SCREENING + PARTY

    You and a guest will attend a private VIP screening and reception for RAMS in Berlin, before it's released to the public, hosted by Gary Hustwit.

    Plus, you'll receive a poster at the event, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

    Backer’s travel and accommodations not included.

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    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    SIGNED LETTERPRESS "10 PRINCIPLES"

    A 5" x 7" letterpress print of Rams' "10 Principles for Good Design," designed by Build. Signed by Dieter Rams.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

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    Reward no longer available 30 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    ALL FOUR PRINTS

    All four limited edition silkscreen prints (Vitsoe 606, Vitsoe 620, Braun ET 66, Braun T 41), designed by Build. Numbered edition of 100 copies.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SIGNED BOOK

    A copy of "Less But Better" signed by Dieter Rams. This is a rare opportunity, as Dieter doesn't do book signings.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    VITSOE TOUR + 621 TABLE

    A private tour of Vitsoe's London workshop for you and a guest. After the tour, you'll select your own 621 Side Table designed by Dieter Rams.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

    Backer’s travel and accommodations not included.

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    Reward no longer available 10 backers
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    NEW: ET 55 & SIGNED LETTERPRESS CARD

    A vintage 1980s Braun ET 55 calculator designed by Dieter Rams and Dietrich Lubs in 1981, and a "10 Principles" 5"x7" letterpress card signed by Dieter. The calculator is in good working condition and comes with its original case.

    Plus, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

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    Pledge $1,250 or more About $1,250

    NEW: SIGNED BOOK AND LETTERPRESS CARD

    A copy of the book "Less But Better" and a "10 Principles" 5"x7" letterpress card, each signed by Dieter Rams. This is a rare opportunity.

    Plus, you'll receive two invites to any of the private screenings, a poster, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    VINTAGE BRAUN RT 20 RADIO

    You'll receive a vintage 1960s Braun RT 20 radio, one of Dieter Rams' most iconic designs. In excellent condition and fully functioning, it is dual-current so it will work in any country. It's also been adapted with a 1/8" input jack, so you can hook up your iPhone or other music device!

    Plus, you'll receive two invites to any of the private screenings, a poster, a digital download of RAMS when the film is released, exclusive Kickstarter-only bonus video, Dieter's jazz mix, and your name included in the film's credits.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    YOUR OWN SCREENING

    A private screening of RAMS for your group or company, hosted by filmmaker Gary Hustwit.

    You'll also receive 20 RAMS posters and your name or company name in the film's credits.

    Gary's travel and accommodations not included if you are outside the NYC area. Scheduling is flexible, sometime after September 2017. Contact us with questions.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    NEW! YOUR OWN SCREENING (NORTH AMERICA)

    A private screening of RAMS for your group or company in North America, hosted by filmmaker Gary Hustwit.

    You'll also receive 20 RAMS posters and your name or company name in the film's credits.

    Gary's travel and accommodations not included if you are outside the NYC area. Scheduling is flexible, sometime after September 2017. If you're based outside of North America, please send us a private message!

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Funding period

- (30 days)