While searching through the AIGA website, I came across an article by Paul Nini, an Associate Professor in the Department of Design at Ohio State University, entitled “In Search of Ethics in Graphic Design.” In his article he explained his excitement for finding good resources for explaining ethics in graphic design. He stumbled upon some serious efforts to educate people on the subject, in particular a symposium hosted by Maine College of Art. He also ran across a speech delivered by Milton Glaser at the AIGA 2002 Voice Conference in which he tries to educate his students about designing for audience.
Glaser explains that “if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you can’t talk to anybody.” Furthermore, there’s a link on the AIGA article for business and ethics, which has links to free PDF files explaining the use of illustrations, photographs, and copyright issues in design. Lastly the article has a particularly interesting section outlining the difference between “audience-centered” and “user-centered” design.
In an related article by David Airey on his website, he explains how important ethics have been to him as a designer, and how sometimes it is necessary to put ethics aside. He has a particularly strong point that “it can be necessary to put ethics to one side (within reason) in order to build a solid portfolio and reputation for excellent work.” Once the portfolio has been established and with a steadier income one can afford to be selective with one’s clients.
Links to the full articles.
AIGA Paul Nini http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/in-search-of-ethics-in-graphic-design#authorbio
AIGA Design Business and Ethics http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/design-business-and-ethics
David Airey http://www.davidairey.com/how-ethical-are-your-design-practices/