Updated Design Manifesto
It’s not black and white — it has to be in colour
Colourful Truths for Creatives (Or… Our Creative Responsibility)
My rules aren’t black and white…for obvious reasons they are colourful ethics. As I believe in an integration of all colours (creative, business, tech disciplines & human rights), and not simply saying white is right or black is wrong. Because white is not always right, and black is not always bad in the greater scheme of things. And visa versa. So making things black and white is just old and boring and stuck in the past view of good and bad. (it’s still racist to associate all negative with black and all positive with white). Hence, I believe the world needs colour as a deciding factor for truth…a range of colours combined to create a greater whole.
Colourful Truths : a collection of various principles from various industries in an attempt to find a “right” way for the modern creative
How to treat people
— dealings with clients, colleagues, employers & audience
This is something I found online years ago. I remember I had it stuck in my inspiration notebook. But it’s still a good starting point for a manifesto.
This has always been a number 1 rule for business in general. We all have a bit of negativity deep inside of us, and generally this will be triggered by those who the negative force is very strong with ( there’s another word I was going to use, but I decided to call it negative force). The point is, don’t let your bad mood affect everyone else. Just be cool. If you’re not happy where you are, then go and work somewhere else, or work from home. Don’t make everyone else miserable to work with you.
As for those, “playing devil’s advocate” — read Tom Kelley’s the 10 Faces of Innovation…Teams don’t need someone to crush ideas before they flourish. There’s a difference between taking a stand as critical thinker to help teams gain a broader perspective vs just being an ass. Mean-spirited negativity which is usually associated with “the devils advocate” is toxic to teams. They usually prefer tearing down ideas in the early stages, before allowing exploration. Innovation roles encourages teams to stand up for their ideas, not killing them before they have a chance to incubate.
The exception to the “don’t be an ass” rule — If you dish it out, be prepared to take it. I don’t turn the other cheek anymore, my timidness is confused for weakness as a woman. I’m too old to take everyone’s crap. I have not reached that level of transcendence to continue to suck it up.
Simply put…Respect begets respect.
For the artist, there’s always been plagiarism. We know we don’t steal from others. That’s a number 1 rule. When using anything which belongs to someone else, you always state references, resources and inspiration.
“Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.” — T.S Eliot
As a designer, this rule still applies. We don’t steal. You have clients who ask you to do pitch work, take your ideas and don’t pay. This is plagiarism too. If you use the idea but didn’t pay for it, you’re a thief. Simple. I fell victim to this when I was younger, only because I didn’t know about having a contract in place to protect my IP. Be professional in your business dealings with others, always put a contract in place. No matter how big or small the project seems, don’t work without a contract.
Honesty in reporting results is the only way to help humanity progress. I’ve worked with teams who wanted to skew the results for business, so that when presenting to business they’d look better. No! If your client had a dumb idea, and you tested it and found that people also found the idea to be dumb…then accept it. Don’t make stuff no one needs or doesn’t help them. Lies are not validation.
Here is a list of the other manifestos which exist, and which are still relevant to designers:
This one, the Conditional Design Manifesto, is the closest I could find which makes sense to me.
Written by Luna Maurer, Edo Paulus, Jonathan Puckey, Roel Wouters
Conditional Design A manifesto for artists and designers*
Through the influence of the media and technology on our world, our lives are increasingly characterized by speed and constant change. We live in a dynamic, data-driven society that is continually sparking new forms of human interaction and social contexts. Instead of romanticizing the past, we want to adapt our way of working to coincide with these developments, and we want our work to reflect the here and now. We want to embrace the complexity of this landscape, deliver insight into it and show both its beauty and its shortcomings.
Our work focuses on processes rather than products: things that adapt to their environment, emphasize change and show difference.
Instead of operating under the terms of Graphic Design, Interaction Design, Media Art or Sound Design, we want to introduce Conditional Design as a term that refers to our approach rather than our chosen media. We conduct our activities using the methods of philosophers, engineers, inventors and mystics.
The process is the product.
The most important aspects of a process are time, relationship and change.
The process produces formations rather than forms.
We search for unexpected but correlative, emergent patterns.
Even though a process has the appearance of objectivity, we realize the fact that it stems from subjective intentions.
Logic is our tool.
Logic is our method for accentuating the ungraspable.
A clear and logical setting emphasizes that which does not seem to fit within it.
We use logic to design the conditions through which the process can take place.
Design conditions using intelligible rules.
Avoid arbitrary randomness.
Difference should have a reason.
Use rules as constraints.
Constraints sharpen the perspective on the process and stimulate play within the limitations.
The input is our material.
Input engages logic and activates and influences the process.
Input should come from our external and complex environment: nature, society and its human interactions.
The above manifesto seemed incomplete to me, so I’m adding the next 2 parts in:
The output is the delivered message or means of communication. Whether audio, visual, tactile, written or verbal.
The final output enables communities positively and reactivates a sense of humanity
The output should positively affect our collective external and complex environment: nature, society and it’s human interactions.
Value shouldn’t always be viewed in small terms of only financial returns. But the true value lies in the improvement of the people, the process and the product.
*I really like the above Conditional Design manifesto. Or maybe it’s just because they’re speaking my language. But just as we can each create our own philosophies to live by as people, so too for our services. Ethics in design, should cover all best practices & ethics related to first & foremost our social responsibility, business practices, legal practices, contracts, marketing, human and environmental resources, & client relationships.
Design.erd Manifesto (2016)
Design to communicate. To communicate not own thoughts, but to research, test & always seek truth. To speak on behalf of those who cannot communicate. To help bridge the gap for business, to give products a voice to speak to users. To ensure that anyone is given the advantage to be able to understand the given message. To assess that the message being spread is worth spreading. Design should be universal, versatile, using the best method or medium to reach the correct audience. How true this message is, how it impacts and enhances lives… determines it’s success.
Focused on the things which matter:
Planet | People | Products | Principles | Process
Design Ethics for Design.erd ( updated manifesto — 18.09.17)
Unethical designs would involve manipulation, corruption, dishonesty, misrepresentation and exploitation.
These ethical issues often feed into larger problems which affect society, for example; human rights, health (physical & mental) addiction, crime, politics, discrimination and poverty.
As a Creative, my role is to ensure that the work conducted is ethical and in no way harms another. Humanity first. People over profit.
Focused on the things which matter:
Principles | People | Problems | Process | Perspectives | Places | Products | Patterns | Practices
Design.erd was founded in 2006.
Driven by honesty, transparency and a love for humanity & good design.
Focused on the science of design & the design of science.
True value is determined by the positive impact on people (humanity as a collective).
Partnerships founded on good faith, trust and legal contracts to protect both the client and the creator. 😉
Aim for transparency in communication between partners and audience.
To help those who can’t create effectively or communicate creatively.
To use the best means possible to communicate to the desired audience.
It is the creators responsibility to assess if the message being spread is worth spreading. If it will add value to human life in the short and long term. All people involved: shareholders included, from audience/customer/user to team to client.
To ensure there isn’t any discrimination, sexism, manipulation or corruption related to the design, the people, the practice, the process, or the clients business.
Effective business, design and technology does not conceal what is in the interest of its audience.
An authentic brand promise is the alignment of customer experience and employee experience. It’s the designers responsibility to ensure that this promise is true on both sides. And not skewed or distorted or misrepresented in any way.
To ensure the best experience for both customer and employee and shareholders. Without compromising on quality or ethics.
It is the designers right to refuse to work with anyone who promotes unethical practices such as dark patterns, blatant manipulation and use of black hat tactics. (or any other unethical practices )
It is the designers responsibility to make informed decisions and to fully engage business and marketing to double check their motives. And to help them realign their thinking and objectives to eliminate any unethical practices.
It is the designers responsibility, to not work with anyone who promotes the perversion or promoting or manipulating of the human psyche, flaws or insecurities and which preys on addictive traits. Thereby enabling these negative addictive behaviours.
To not have any dealings with any projects which promote any of the negative categories, namely gambling, chauvinism, pornography, violence, addictive substances.
It is the designers responsibility to understand all the areas related to design. From psychology, business, marketing, development and technology and any other disciplines which are part of the design process, in order to make informed decisions as to what is right and wrong when it comes to creating for the audience.
To keep the people’s best interests at heart at all times.
Ignorance is not an excuse. It is your duty to keep up with the changing landscape, to ensure your skills are up to date. And to ensure you are aware of all which affects design and communication of information to your audience.
It is your duty to inform yourself of the changing landscape, and to be aware of black hat vs grey & white hat tactics, white patterns vs dark patterns, to ensure you are designing in line with principles which do not harm any human being.
To ensure that you are not harming people or planet or animals in any of your endevours.
To treat everyone equally, irrespective of age, race, gender or background
To never compromise people for profit.
Never compromise planet, animals for profit.
In research, always be honest in the results.
To investigate to seek truth, and assess holistically in order to find a solution which benefits all
Always pay fairly: your employees, your contractors, your research participants.
Always get consent of research participants, models for photography. Any IP which will be used, requires consent.
Always share research resources. Or else it is considered stealing.
With the aim of building moral fibre and a sense of community in all endevours.
WE all have a social responsibility.
We can make choices that HELP
It’s really simple actually.
← P R E V I O U S GOOD design is ethical
I write, about what fascinates me. I write about what I see, and what I believe is missing in the world. And what I care about. I don’t get paid to write. This is my voice, and I don’t have to change my words for any sponsor. I choose who I align myself with.