ARD501 Contextual Design – Ethics

Lecturer – Adam Cooke

What is a good designer?

In my view a good designer is someone with initiative, creativity and someone who makes mistakes. The first two are quite important to designers as without them nothing new and unique would ever be creative. I do think that the designer should however be able to make mistakes and be able to change their minds on an idea/product/method. I think this would make a great designer as they can learn from the mistakes they make and are able to learn and advance from it.


There are three different sections to ethics.

  1. Integrity
  2. Legalities
  3. Morality


A definition – Integrity is basically a designers responsibility to be honest and have moral principles. As a designer they have a responsibility to their client and must refer to them before the client agrees to pay.

Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.” – Dennis Prager

Here I have used a quote from Dennis Prager and he speaks about integrity making a person good. I think what he’s saying is true, integrity is about being honest and trying to make the right decisions to please others.


A definition – The legal side of design. A designer must take into consideration laws set by the government i.e,

  • Copyright
  • Piracy
  • Plagiarism
  • Fair use

“Morality and legality have nothing to do with one another. I’m more than fine with breaking a law if it disagrees with my values and morals.” ― Ashly Lorenzana

I found this quote from the authour Ashly Lorenzana where she states she’s happy to break the law if it disagrees with her values and morals. I thought this was a bold statement but I can see where she’s coming from in that if she feels a law has been set that she disagrees with and feels is wrong, she’d take the choice to break the law if needs be. Although designers do have to follow laws as to not get into trouble, I do see that Lorenzana has strong morals that wouldn’t let the law get in the way.


A definition – Morality is deciding what’s right and whats wrong. In the design sector morality would be deciding what is right to create and what is wrong to create. Designers must bare in mind that their work or ideas shouldn’t come across as offensive. Morality is more personal to a designer as the designer as an individual will decide what is right and wrong in their own views.

Morality is of course part of ethics, but it is not the whole of ethics. Morality is about some of our
responsibilities to others, whereas ethics is about one’s ‘ethos’, one’s whole way of life. It is about what sort of
person one is” – Anthony Grayling

I think what Grayling is trying to say is that morality is important in that we have to be careful and take responsibility for the way our work is portrayed but morality isn’t the whole of the ethics side to design.

In all honesty I found this lecture a little boring but after doing research on ethics I’ve found it to be quite interesting and feel I understand much more about the ethical side of design. I’ve learnt that ethics relates to all sides of design, including film and photography.



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