Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Design Ethics

The term "ethics" refers to the moral principles that govern a person"s or groups behaviour. Ethics in relation to Graphic Design can largely effect the decisions of a graphic designer on a number of levels. They must consider how the design effects the consumer and the designs environmental impact. Ethics can also effect the designer themselves. For example financial issues and personal morals. This blog will be used to cover the following areas of design ethics:
  • Environmental/sustainable design
  • Designers personal morals, designers working for unethical companies
  • Plagiarism within design
  • Death of print and new media
  • Designers working for free
  • Magazine and Advertisments (consumer culture, airbrushing)

Initial Thoughts on Design Ethics

Ethics in design can be interperetated in a multitude of ways whether that be the ethics of the designer themselves choosing what projects they take on based on personal ethics another example could be whether it is an ethical piece of design - the point of the design being to inform/educate the viewer on the subject. There are miscellaneous ways in which ethics can be/are incorporated into design.

who you design for  - whether you choose to design for a conglomerate company or an independent business and the ethical issues that are raised by both - what/who the company deals with, what do they put out into the world - product/ advertising and most importantly what they are asking you to design for is it a product that you agree with and isn't being marketed in a way that you agree with for example the advertising for mcdonalds is aimed at children - through advertising, kids meals and toys raises the question is it ethically correct to market fast food to children and what do the designers/agencies who produce their campaigns think about this. another example would be the people who design/integrate internet pop-ups - with majority of which on most streaming sites being porn/cam site themed this raises numerous ethical conundrums e.g is it right to put these in a space accessible by children to the social implications of these pop ups

looking past your employers there are material ethics - paper/printing inks as well as printing methods that raise eco ethical issues - sustainability being the big one. some paper companies work on a replanting scheme where for each tree felled 2 more are planted this encourages and there are bio friendly printing inks available as well - you can also recycle ink cartridges & paper to cut down on your carbon footprint.

there are the ethics of companies who use design to entice it's target market through the discourse of advertising and product placement into the buying of a product/way of life as well as the ethics of similar companies albeit bigger & more global such as google who sell research/advertising data to companies who from this can devise product target markets as well as advertising campaigns based on recent trends


some key texts ;
bruce mau - massive change
cradle to grave
do good design

Some possible key texts

I've been looking at two books in particular which I think are possible key texts.
  • Design Issues: How graphic design informs society, DK Holland, 2002
  • Green Graphic Design, Brian Doherty, 2008

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Initial Ideas

Here are lots of initial thoughts on the topic as discussed in the first meeting.

Environmental Issues: sustainable design, printing, paper, electricity, designing for Green Peace etc, associated contradictions.

Using ethical claims to sell products and create a feeling of satisfaction for consumers.

Companies a designer chooses to or not to work with based on the ethics of that company. For example, unhealthy food advertising, alcohol, Nestle scandal, monopolising companies. 

Financial: How much to charge for design skills, spec work (working for free), working against other designers in competition where only the chosen designer gets paid. Cheap logos, branding, business cards, ready made websites offered extremely cheaply online - poor quality? 

Technology: companies forever releasing new models so older products become obsolete. Using dated technology to make more money with updates, disposable etc.

Magazines: gender, stereotypes, advertising-consumerism, airbrushing.

Google ads, GPS tracking, Google glass, pop ups.

Death of print.


Politically correctness.

Design Ethics

A reference list of key texts relating to ethical design

defining ethics in relation to graphic design

environmental concerns of the design and print industries

examples of designers/design firms pioneering the concept of sustainable design

the death of print? - emerging digital technologies and the environment - the future of print based design