Alex Cameron (DW 16 April) voiced his concerns about designers allowing their personal beliefs to influence the work they do. He says that is not the designer’s job, and if designers start behaving ethically, it will hurt the standing of the design industry in the eyes of the business world.
Both of these reasons seem to me to be – to put it bluntly – idiotic. First, it may not be in our job description to be ethical, but we are responsible for our actions. If we are helping a cigarette company sell cigarettes, we should accept our part of the cost in illness that results from doing our job well.
Or if in advertising trainers we are selling the falsehood that buying those trainers will make us cooler, we are guilty of promoting the big lie: that we are what we consume.
Second, only unethical businesses would be turned off by ethical designers. Mr Cameron’s definition of the designer as mediator still holds true with us ethical designers, we just choose not to work for businesses we are morally opposed to, or to use lies to sell the clients’ product.
Being unethical in design, as in any business, can get you ahead in the short term, but being ethical is (in the long term) good business.
Mr Cameron ends his column by saying “let us be as unethical as we want.” I say to him, please let us be as ethical as we want!