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Paper on Personal Design Ethics (2nd Draft)

Recently, I was confronted to an issue that interrupted my workflow. GM had approached me and has asked me to design advertisements to sell their latest Sports Utility Vehicle. I was shocked by the request because I am generally opposed to large vehicles due to the fact that they are inefficient and are usually not very engaging to drive. To say the least, I pity those who own them for their lack regard for the environment. My biggest concern regarding the request is that we have too many large, inefficient vehicles already dominating the American roads everyday- hence; I don’t find a need to generate ads that further promote SUV in the saturated market.

Additionally, as most Americans are aware, we are in the midst of several crises—particularly relating to topics of energy, the environment, and our economy in which there is a direct correlation between high oil consumption and the depletion of energy and resources. Our tendency to live beyond the means and with the practice of continually wasteful habits attributes to America’s status of being the most consumptive nation on the planet. Statistics provide by EPA shows that almost 70% of the world’s oil is consumed in America. Through that, we can understand that American’s most popular mode of transportation is the leading cause to our society’s dilemmas in relation to the cost of energy.

So the question is “is it ethical to go against my moral as well as ignoring all the detrimental effects caused by SUVs just to take the job or earn a living?”

My ration is that there is no greater problem than those that affect more people than myself. Excessive consumption of energy is nothing new.

But this is nothing new. Despite the flaws in our lifestyle, the United State’s congress is actively seeking to adjust through various attempts to improve the nation’s Energy Bills. The current CAFE law for example, proposes a projected average of 35 mile per gallon rating is to be expected by the year 2010. But this plan is flawed in itself. Manufacturing plants are desperately seeking for ways to build more fuel-efficient vehicle to attain an overall higher MPG rating to meet the CAFE standard. In the process, they fail to address the on-going concerns in relation to SUVs and their use.

First, there are still high demands for these vehicles. We need technology and innovations to make progress, and it is currently lacking.

Secondly, [Market saturation and declining demand stalls motive for innovation]; we need to bring research and development back in order to improve SUVs’ efficiency levels to address energy and environmental needs.

Thirdly, this may sound absurd, but selling more SUVs can be the solution.

SUVs have high profit margin.

1.) Body Frame

2.) Options – Hybrids, technology, etc. bumps cost and raises revenue

3.) Increased revenue will give Auto manufacturers a second chance to revive their company and the economy. Merely meeting the projected goal set by CAFE = priority.

Automotive manufacturers are currently dealing with the worst. Plants are closing due to their inflexibility, inability to adapt to exceedingly high demand for small vehicles and the fact that most manufacturing plants are engineered for assembling nothing other than trucks. *Building less truck means less revenue and it forces the firm no way out. Eventually, it will lead to lay offs that will slowly destroy the American job market and the overall ECONOMY if they don’t do something now.

The message is clear.

Energy, environment, and economy are the main concern: Auto manufacturers must innovate and depart from dependence on oil.

We are in the midst of many crises that will very well end up affecting our future if left untouched. At this critical moment, I asked myself what I should do as graphic designer when presented a situation like this?

I began to evaluate my role as a designer.

There are practically no problem to be solve when SUVs is a popular commodity. (ie. High consumption)

Design is less effective if there isn’t a communication problem, and there is no need for design.

But SUVs generate a greater problem, and that problem is currently posing a threat to our society when technical issues relate to the topics energy, the environment, and the economy.

Problem solving skills are inherent in design. And graphic design is a strong device for communication. Given the two characteristics, I feel that I need to remain professional and put my knowledge into practice. To be professional means that I will not be partial to certain matter but rather aim to be objective. Given the task, I felt that I needed to weigh in what is more important and to communicate ideas that are fair and meaningful for the public. In this instance, the automotive manufacturer’s objective is for good cause.

For the sake of fairness, I took the job.

Be reflective (part of design): *consider this as a scenario where graphic design would have been irrelevant when design is a commodity to satisfy only the client’s goal.àBut shift into the current situation allow design to hold some value. Therefore it is worth it.

I have sympathy for our society’s current situation, and I feel that I can utilize my knowledge in graphic design create meaningful messages that will inform the public and make choices that can help reverse problems that can potentially harm us.

, to prevent [it] from becoming a reality and hopefully make a positive contribution for the society.

And I want to show design’s potential, by creating meaningful message that will inform the public and influence their choices for the better (Progress).

*Talk about how I would design the ad.

Expand. How dealer options help boost revenue. How consumer’s demand affects business concepts.

Problem solving through showing, communicate fairly (benefits, etc.)

[A] Consumer’s Unswerving Demand for SUVs (Basic Law of Supply/Demand applies) leading to technological advancements.


1 Not all SUVs/vehicles are created equal

(Tie in concept of conservation not practiced without incentives)

Despite which vehicle one owns, Discipline- Driving style determines how much gas is consumed

FACT: Americans still ask for large vehicles simply due to their perceived safety, added utility, and convenience.

Common Demand

Desire for safety is universal

All of which overrule the notion of cost of ownership.

Progress for the COMPANY, ENERGY, ECONOMY (SOCIETY) can only be met byà

Building more SUVs + Selling more SUVs = Improvement

1) Because they are profitable for Auto Manufacturers (HPM)

2) Lead to more revenue, expanding technology offerings for greater fuel savings. (Hybrids, etc. * Already exist)

[B] CAFE is the primary concern (Using funds to Support Hybrids/ Alternative Fuel Vehicles Development)

-Advertise for Hybrid. (Option) to make a statement that suggests the positive effects of living green.

Profit margin is high in building SUVs

Should ideally lead to more money invested on technology to meet CAFE standard to better the society because there are incentives for doing so.

CAFE only forces them to build more small, efficient (ENERGY+ ENVIRONMENT) vehicles to compensate for their entire lineup’s inconsistent fuel economy stats/ratings. *But it does not address/change the fact that people still demand for SUVs and that they are still bad for the environment.

DEMAND = Profità People who purchase these vehicles are also usually the ones who can afford them or has a need for them. They value features over fuel economy, pride rather than cost affiliated to ownership. There is always a market for the auto manufacturers and these people will always be in the market for one. No way to change the facts or them.

Options, etc,à leading to greater revenue (hybrids = option) Therefore, Sell Hybrids.

To help themselves reach CAFE regulations: It is especially important for the auto manufacturers not to forget the fact that SUVs have a high profit margin.

**Manufacturers make most money off of options, to compensate the cost of developing the vehicle.

It is logical that increased sales brought on by the advertisements will encourage the firm to enable more technologically advanced options being offered, which in turn increases their revenue.

Consequently, it is the automotive manufacturer’s responsibility to aim to improve SUVs’ fuel efficiency as well as to help cut down on the cost of energy that is associated with its use.

[We need to improve SUVs by creating more demand for SUVs]