Ethics In Design (Entry 1 & 2)

Entry 1:

While working in this internship, the idea of ethics in design will often come up in many ways. Whether that is copyright or confidentiality or demeanor in the workplace. Ethics can always be brought up. In my internship there can be some examples of that. First and foremost, I did not sign a non-disclosure agreement or a confidentiality agreement, so based on that I am allowed to speak on the things I am working on in this internship. One thing is the use of images for my work. While the images were provided for me, they were only given with the permission of the photographers themselves. Each photo I used had to be given clear and exact permission because as photographers they put a lot of work into their craft. For someone else to just use it without any credit or monetary exchange is not acceptable.

Now, even though they gave permission to use these photos, that did not mean I was allowed to modify or alter the photos themselves. While creating the promos, I had an idea that would involve slightly altering the images, but my supervisor brought up to me that it could lead to some issues. The client had permission from the photographers to USE the images but not to MODIFY the images. So to avoid any potential issues, we decided to something different. This is an example of how important understanding what kind or rights you may have in regards to an image, logo, illustration and so forth.

Entry 2:

Reading these articles on design ethics, I feel as if I have been given a better sense of how to carry myself as a designer entering the field. I would like to use the AIGA’s guide, specifically the sections “Business expectations for a professional designer” and “Standards of professional practice”. These are guides. Not rules. Not law. But rather a code to live by. It is in the name, ‘guide’. A manual that is to be used to uphold a code of ethics within the design industry. “A professional designer must not attempt, directly or indirectly, to supplant or compete with another designer by means of unethical inducements.” By having a level of respect for other fellow designers, it allows for a healthier environment than contributing to toxic practices. I see this guide a a way to hold myself accountable to the responsibilities I have to my fellow designers and the client, but also a way to be ethical to myself.

When thinking of ethics, the most famous case one may think of was the Shepard Fairey case. This was a case that highlighted the gray areas of copyright. Shepard Fairey was a designer who made the famous ‘HOPE’ poster during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. The Associated Press then filed a copyright lawsuit claiming that Fairey used one of their photos as reference for his poster without permission. This led to a costly legal battle where Fairey claimed that he used another image but then came forward saying he used that photo and tampered with evidence showing that. In the end both parties reached a settlement and the case ended. Afterwards people brought up whether or not if it was fair for AP to go after Fairey. How does one consider a design to be ‘transformative’ enough to not be in danger of copyright claim. In my personal opinion, I think Fairey’s poster was transformative enough to be free from falling into copyright claim, but, where he went wrong was tampering with evidence to try and cover up anything relating to the case. The case made copyright law seem murky, and to see that a large organization with access to good lawyers go after a single designer feels unsettling. Copyright law is great to have when it is needed, but it feels like it can be misused and abused by the wrong people. I believe that it should be made to be more clear, especially with the internet growing into such a major platform for artists.

Looking Ahead

The promotional videos and website banner I have worked on have gone up on social media. There seems to be a positive reaction to the videos, which I am glad to see. I had a slight worry that the intended audience would not enjoy the videos. But, thankfully that is not the case. I spent a lot of time working on these and making all the revisions that were given to me by not only my supervisor but by the client as well. It seems that the remainder of my time will be dedicated to working on things that will be at the event.

I view this internship as an opportunity to get back into the workforce, add more to my resume and also as a way of creating a new network. Every person your meet is a new connection, and if utilized well, can become a new network that can lead you to meeting even more people. I try and do my best to complete my tasks to the best of my ability. Leaving a good impression is important because it will help with creating a good network and keeping your name in good light.

Self Evaluation

I reflect back onto my experience and performance in my internship. As an intern, I did my best to meet the expectations of my supervisor. I communicated as much as possible and asked questions if needed. I tried my best to be confident in my skills, while also being open to critique. Although there are some things that I see myself needing to improve on.

One thing that I can point out is proofreading my work. While I do review briefly on my work before sending it off to my supervisor for critique, sometimes some things may slip past my radar. I have made some minor misspellings and missed some small details at times, that then were pointed out to me by my supervisor. It was a bit embarrassing when it was pointed out to me. Afterwards I made a serious effort to double check everything before sending anything to my supervisor. I definitely did not want that happening over and over again.

Another thing I believe I need to improve on is asking more questions. While I do ask questions if needed, I often refrain from asking too many. This is out of fear of being too bothersome or seeming like I cannot be independent in my position. Although, I am realizing now that it is okay to ask, as that can avoid issues in the future. I remember being asked to make an .eps file for a logo, but I have never made an .eps file before. Instead of asking, I did some research online to find out how. At the time I thought I could use Photoshop and spent some time trying to figure out why it was not letting me export the file properly. Turns out I would have saved a lot of time had I used Illustrator instead. I feel like that was a good opportunity to ask my supervisor for advice. It would have saved a lot of time and I would have been able to focus on the promos better.

These are things that I will work to improve on, to become a better designer and employee at my next position.

Communication During COVID

Being the only intern at the studio, the only other person that I work with and report to is my supervisor. Reading my fellow classmates journals, I see that my experience differs in that I do not have fellow peers to collaborate with. When I work on these projects, my supervisor and I meet once per week to discuss bigger revisions. Outside of that, we discuss minor revisions over Slack. If I need to send something before moving on to the next step, I will message my supervisor on Slack and receive a message in return on whether it is good to go. Looking back, I think that when I move on to another company, that experience will likely be different. For now, I will just do my best to listen, learn and provide my best work.

Things I Have Learned

I am still working on the videos for the event and have created a website banner announcing the event and details. My videos have been sent to the group committee for their thoughts and I have been given some revision notes. So that is what I am working on now. They would like to have the revisions and different aspects ratios by this Thursday or sooner since they will be selling tickets soon. Afterwards I might be working on things that might be used for the event such as a step and repeat banner.

Some things I have learned while working in this internship is to be flexible. Often times when I thought we reached the end of the revision process, there was new information that needed to be added or the committee hosting the event made a last minute change. Another thing I learned was to not get too attached to what I am doing. Some of the suggestions that were given to me were not decisions I may have made myself, but it was what the client wanted. In the end even if I do not completely agree with what the client wants, I have to give the client a satisfactory product.

One last thing I learned was to take into consideration any possible computer issues or delays. After Effects is very heavy on RAM, and at the same time the internal processor and export method can be finicky at times. There were times where I had to make multiple attempts to export a file because of some internal error that After Effects had while processing and encoding the file. Switching from the render built into After Effects and Media Encoder or the reverse was something needed to be done to get the exported file. It’s strange because sometimes it was not my computer or the settings, but rather After Effects being open for too long. Personally, I have just gotten used to Adobe having these strange and fickle moments. I had to be quick on my feet often to figure out a different method because I wanted to receive feedback by a certain time to meet my deadlines.

According to the schedule, I believe that the promotional videos and banner will go up soon within the week on their social media. I am very excited to see my work being used and seen by a wider audience!

Work Culture and Environment

The work culture where I am interning at is very casual. Since I am working remote, all of our meetings are done over zoom. I dress in appropriate business casual clothes. I am currently the only intern at the studio, so the only other person I interact with is with my supervisor. Working from home is different. I wake up, get ready, then head to my computer to begin working. It is just me and my desk. Since I only work for five hours, I do not take a lunch break. Instead, I do lunch after I finish with work at 1:30pm. I do wonder how different working in an actual office alongside coworkers would be compared to how it is now working remote at home.

Currently at my internship I am working on making promotional videos for social media for an upcoming photo shoot event. I met with my supervisor over zoom this week to discuss some changes for the videos and discuss some possible future assignments. These videos will go on the group’s social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram. Once the videos are done and get approved by my supervisor then they will be relayed to the group committee hosting the event for approval. I have a bit more creative freedom at my internship here. It is nice to brainstorm and come back with some ideas. During our meetings we go over what is working and what can be improved or changed. I take notes on any revisions suggested for me to make and go over what else could work. Sometimes there are sudden changes needed since the event is being planned while we work, so sometimes we have more photographers needed to be added, or information changes. Overall I enjoy so far what I am doing.

The Beginning

Week two of this summer semester was when I began working at Rain River Images. When I applied last week, the owner emailed me back and asked if I was available for an interview on Friday. Due to the pandemic, the interview was done over zoom. I prepped for whatever question he may ask by practicing my responses to common questions and doing some research on his studio. The interview itself was very casual and I was given the internship on the spot. I started the internship officially on Monday June 7th, and we began with a zoom meeting to go over the project details and expectations for what my role will be in this internship. From here on out we will be conversing through Slack and we will be meeting over zoom once a week.

Currently I was asked to create some quick rough thumbnails and ideas using the copy given to me. Later on in that same week, we had another meeting to check in on my progress with the ideas. I made some rough storyboards to show what I had in mind. We discussed which ones worked better and which ideas needed more work. Eventually it was decided which direction I would go with and move forward to creating some rough cuts.

Obtaining an Internship

The internship searching process was a handful. Not only did I have to apply like crazy to different internship positions, I also had to update my resume and give my portfolio website a whole new makeover. I applied to many places but I being on a tight deadline I was becoming worried that I wouldn’t get one but luckily I was hired. It was at the very end of the week so that was definitely a close call. It is a private photography studio that specializes in creative portraits using props, the environment or both to give an idea as to who the person in the photo is. There is also professional cosplayers that display their skills in professional costume design who are photographed by the owner. Looking at the photos on his website, I am really impressed by the use of colors and focus on the expression of the subject. I am looking forward to what I will be doing for this internship in the coming weeks.