I can but should I? Ethics and design

This source preferred by Bryce Dyer

Authors: Dyer, B.T.J.

Editors: Evans, C. and Garner, S.

Publisher: Berg Publishers

Place of Publication: Oxford, England

ISBN: 978-1847885777

The appreciation of ethical considerations has a history extending back thousands of years but only in recent centuries have we seen any recognition of the ethical accountability of those who create our human-made world. The relationship of ethics and design is even more recent and only in the past fifty years or so have we seen any significant development in defining the responsibilities of designers for their processes and outputs. Today, an understanding of ethics is vital to the professional practice of all designers.

Take a look at the packaging and labelling of various products around you. Features listed in a products packaging such as ‘recyclable’, ‘for age 6 and over’ or ‘for personal consumption only’. These are all statements grounded in ethical values and codes. As designers today, we are effectively communicators to a wider society and as such have a significant responsibility that comes with this role.

This chapter aims to raise your awareness of ethical considerations in your own design practice – both now and in the future. It aims to increase your sensitivity to your decisions, your actions and the consequences. Clearly it can’t address all the particular dilemmas of every reader but what it can do is change the way you think when you engage in designing. It doesn’t seek to give you answers but it does seek to improve your ability to question. As the title confirms, this chapter is less about what you can do in design and more about your approach to what you should do.

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