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Paper on Design Ethics (Draft 1)

I have many pre-conceived notions that conflicts the ethics of ownership of a large Sports Utility Vehicle. First, these vehicles are large in volume, and takes up so much space on the road. Because of their size, they often weigh a lot more than regular vehicles. And since they weigh more, larger, less-efficient engines are required to propel its weight, which means more energy, or fuel is necessary to operate them on a daily basis. To me, Sports Utility Vehicle are also purpose-built vehicles; they exist to facilitate atypical tasks that cannot be otherwise be accomplished by smaller vehicles, like sedans– such as climbing over snow during the winter months, or carry a large group of people. However, most people abuse the purpose of SUVs and they can justify their own means of using such possession as their primary vehicle for everyday activities like commute or cruising all year round. What makes this even worst is that I often see them driving with only one or two occupants while this sort of vehicle are intended to hold 6 or more passengers. This kind of practice is wasteful and unwanted in our society, and it has to end.


I am a graphic designer who happen to respect the world, the environment that I live in– how ironic, right? Well it is only ironic if you understand the intricacies behind the practice of graphic design since there are many environmental and ethical issues that relates to the practice of graphic design, but is only understood by an insignificant amount of practitioners. There is only so much that I can do help lessen the negative effects of improper paper disposal, by recycling and encouraging others to recycle, hoping that it would make a small impact. Otherwise, many aspects are really out of our hands.


Likewise, a matter of ethics was brought upon me recently as I was asked to help design advertisements for Hummer– what a paradox! What can I do as a freelance designer? Of course I accepted the job. No doubt is this contradictory to my personal angst for the future of our planet.  Well, there is also more to it than just acting impulsively just to heighten my sense of accomplishment as a recent graduate student. The decision was actually made for good cause. First, I hoped to prove that by accepting the job, my commitment and respect for graphic design as a profession is genuine and that there is integrity in my character. Remember, we are not only problem solvers, but also strategic communicators. As a result, I felt that I was obligated to maintain my professionalism and be responsible to the society by communicating fairly– so I accepted the challenge.   


Look around fellow designers; there are greater competitions, more capable individuals everywhere around you. There are further challenges ahead that will besiege you. And if you don’t take on a job because you can’t lay aside your personal values, which are often based off of your personal experience rather than the actual truth, you need to open up your eyes and gain some perspective on the topic or issue in which you are dealing with; then, reconsider. I was there, and have done that– so this is where I am. I understood that I can’t rely on my initial intuition because there are likely far better reason for why a product exist and have become so popular, with a high enough demand for it that requires new advertisements to showcase the company’s newest development. Perhaps it is the other way around, which I concur more with at the moment. Given the current situation, from the spike of gasoline prices, decline of stock market share value due to share holder’s withdrawals, more and more people are watching their spending, especially on larger types of investments such as a new vehicle.