Ethics in Graphic Design: 1B

1B) In the graphic design field, there are many rules in place that people need to follow. For my internship, I didn’t have to sign a confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement. A non-disclosure agreement is a legal contract that is signed by a designer that makes sure that all information about the company they are working at, is to be kept private. They cannot share this information and cant let this information be available to anyone else.

Companies will ask a designer to sign a non-disclosure agreement as a way of protection. The reason for this is to help protect their company. There is information within the company that a designer cannot talk about outside of work. The company may not want their information to be out in the public.

However even though, I didn’t sign a non-disclosure agreement, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be ethical about certain things. There are still some things that a designer is never supposed to talk about within a company, in terms of ethics. Some examples can be upcoming projects, clients, sales, etc. Anything that is not published in the public, has to stay within the company. Whether you sign an agreement or not, it should be kept private. It is the ethical thing to do.

At a company, there has to be a set of ethics that the company and employees can stand by. When good ethics are followed, this can leave employees and supervisors on good terms. It can make the workplace better, not only for employees but for supervisors too, which can improve trust, work relationships, and overall boost morale of all employees among the company. A good workplace can also make the company look better from the public’s point of view.

However, a non-disclosure agreement doesn’t only apply in the graphic design field. It can be used between companies in future partnerships. A famous example of this is the incident between Apple and Hyundai. In early 2021, it was rumored that both companies would be working together to produce an “Apple car”. Hyundai released a statement saying that they had been talking with Apple.

However, almost immediately the company released another statement without mentioning Apple’s name. They realized immediately that they messed up and tried to undo their mistake by not mentioning Apple’s name. As Kif Leswing states, “Companies who deal with Apple are held to strict nondisclosure agreements, even if they are public companies and Apple is a major customer. Apple tells partners they can’t mention Apple in public or to the media.” (Leswing).

In terms of ethics, this is something that Hyundai should have never done. They revealed company information outside of work, and even worse is that it was information between 2 huge companies. They were unaware at the time and soon realized their mistake. But the damage was already done, and people were already aware of the potential partnership.

Additionally, Apple doesn’t like it when their non-agreements are broken or violated. Apple takes their non-disclosure agreements so seriously that they even threaten those who leak information. In fact as Kif Leswing says, “Apple has threatened to penalize suppliers $50 million for each individual leak” (Leswing). Non-disclosure agreements happen everywhere and there are consequences if they are broken. Companies want to keep their information private and to remain a secret. 

Leswing, Kif. “Doing Business with Apple Means You Probably Can’t Tell Anyone about It, as Hyundai Learned.” CNBC, CNBC, 14 Jan. 2021,, March 3, 2022