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It's about Ethics

From a personal perspective, I suppose that careful and ethical design refers to responsible choices and moral behaviors in the practice process, and conscious outputs before launching out to the public. Those practices should consider the intersection of accessibility, privacy, and equity.

01. Transparency clarifies complexity. In one sense, design has indeed become an integral part of our society, especially when talking about communication design, including graphic, product, and interactive design; it is the key in almost everything we are experiencing today, therefore keeping it lucid and inclusive is essential. Transparency helps designers craft communications with real substance. It takes design out of the role of cheerleading and places it into the role of change agent, designers can help simplify, clarify complex issues, and educate audiences about the path companies are on. We can help build compelling stories from real performance and plans. (Dougherty, 2008).

On another hand, transparency is a form of communication and definition of self-cognition. Brandon Hyman believes that having open, transparent conversations is the first step to inclusion, safer communities, and ethical design (Johnson, 2020). As an individual, it embodies self-honesty and discipline to the productive process. As a group or organization, it is about being open and visible to the community or when communicating with stakeholders.

Considering that every design outcome will be presented to clients and reached to the general public, designers should focus on sources of materials and transparent discussions about the design procedure, also observe the principle of being fair, open, and reasonable to every target audience to avoid complexity and insecurity.

02. Freedom is fundamental. Freedom is a way to achieve self-worth in the design industry. If the priority of design ethics education and practice is to be contemplated in terms of action, the attention should be on the designer’s freedom of choice (Philippe d’Anjou, 2010). This may refer to economic self-reliance as a designer or the autonomy and creativity rights to make decisions in your workplace.

“You need the financial freedom to be able to design for free” (Nigrini, 2011). Financial independence means that you have the ability and vision to remain ethical because you’re in an even better position to assist other people. In order to reach the overall goal of economic independence, we should also consider conforming to our moral compass to some extent. Therefore, we should go beyond our own boundaries and comfort zones to see who we can serve, while gaining value and experience to help ourselves become high-income earners.

03. Creation should based on humanity. While working from a human perspective, it is considered to be part of accessibility and inclusiveness, this is related to the all-round moral behavior and sustainability of humans, by having the mind of empathy and equality. Humanity means all of us, and the best in us. We must find a way to design for both. (Nørregaard, 2018). When it comes to designing for mankind, it is basically designing for the issues that exist on a global scale, and to create value for the earth, therefore “everyone” should be taken into account, and every design decision should be based on humanity.

Reference list Brian Dougherty, Celery Design Collaborative (2008, p.169) Green Graphic Design, Skyhorse Publishing Inc. John B Johnson 2010, ‘asmallstudio’, Design + Ethics: On Being Inclusive and Transparent, viewed 7 Oct 2021, < on-being-inclusive-and-transparent> Philippe d’Anjou (2010, p.101) Beyond Duty and Virtue in Design Ethics. Design issues 26.1 (2010): 95–105. Web., The MIT Press Michael J. Riha (2012, p.166 - Interviewing Peter Nigrini, February 11, 2011) Starting Your Career as a Theatrical Designer: Insights and Advice from Leading Broadway Designers, Skyhorse Publishing Inc. Rie Nørregaard 2018, ‘medium’, Designing for Humanity: Do we need a new design frame?, viewed 12 Oct 2021, < designing-for-humanity-do-we-need-a-new-design-frame-21fd8206b108>

by Tina Hui


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