The ethical way of designing

What do we owe our society? What have we been doing wrong or how can we improve?

By reading some authors that talk about ethics and responsibility, I started to wonder how can we improve in the world of design. These authors talked about different subjects and about different expertise. After reading all of them back and forth I began to have some ideas on how we could use their ideas into design and its ethics.

Firstly, I did a resume of the authors and took the most important thing, their position. Secondly, I thought about a way that position interested me to change the responsibility of ethics in designers, I also made an opinion about them. Lastly, I made a single axis and distributed the authors and their positions from Most important, to less important.

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Maurizio Vitta (The Meaning of Design) Talks about the things/objects we are designing, as more and more objects are created, each one loses its functional identity, becoming communication vehicles. The Form & Function are replaced by social value, we are using them as a way to portray themselves to others. In my opinion he is right, we are becoming mass designers, not focusing on the functionality or the quality, but in the quantity and sales. We are losing focus of why design was invented, to improve our lives, not to become a mass consumption.

John Dewey (The theory of experience) is not talking about design per se, but is talking about something that I think can be translated in a design language. He talks about “spoiled kids” how being the way that they are, they are limited to growth. In my opinion I think of a spoiled kid in creativity. Education now a days is giving much more meaning to the mathematical and logical world that creativity is not being taught, so at an early age, a kid is being limited in their creative mind. So they will always be behind.

Neil Postman (Informing ourselves to death) The title is pretty much what he is trying to say in the chapter I read, He is saying that we have tons of information so we don’t know what to do with it and don’t know how to get rid of it. We don’t even know what is relevant or irrelevant and that is true, I can’t count how many times my mother has sent me fake documents of pictures. We don’t know what is true anymore. But in my opinion if you think about it, now we can’t live without it, we have created a monster and can’t imagine living without it.

Edward Bernays (Manipulating the public opinion) Influences, or “Special Pleaders” as he likes to call them can be found anywhere, he says that anyone can be a influencer, a leader and convince others. He also talks about different methodologies of how to have good propaganda and how can you dramatize to get peoples interest (we are talking about 80´s propaganda) and how can Clichés be used to change peoples. Propaganda is 2D design, and I think if you take advantage of the pros of propaganda you can make big and good things in the world, like for example ending a war or having mass distribution of good ideas. If we use it wrong then that is when we have problems.

And las but not least, Victor Papanek (Design for the real world) He talks about advertising, how we are using it to influence people to buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have and to impress people that don’t care. I think we have a responsibility as designers to create things that bring some solution to the world, thinking before making what consequences may you object have and fix them.