The Importance of Ethics in Design (Journal Entry # 2)

Someone looking at their work

This week’s readings made me reflect upon my work as a designer. Sometimes I get an image in my head of what I want to create. It seems like a really good idea, so I look around for a couple of stock imagery websites (as suggested in AIGA Business’ Use of Photography), but unfortunately, I can’t find the needed picture/graphic. I try rewording my search on Google and after several attempts, I find exactly what I was looking for. But guess what? It’s not free. Many professors have told me that it’s okay as a student to borrow these images to demonstrate my skills and have clarified that I can’t use these pieces for my portfolio without the owner’s permission. Whenever I use another person’s photograph/ graphic, I try to include a caption explaining where I got each piece and how it was used. According to, Design’s Golden Rule is to “be honest and generous about crediting work. All writers, photographers, illustrators, programmers” and other designers must be credited. As per Milton Glaser, it is important for us, designers, to take everyone into consideration- other designers and their property, as well as, the public and how our work has the potential to change lives. That is why I believe ethics is so important in our field.

When thinking about the Hope Dealing Litigation case in terms of ethics, I understand how hard it must have been for Fairey to find the right facial position of former Senator, now President, Barack Obama. But I must side with the Association Press. As a designer, I wouldn’t want someone to take my work without crediting me. I am a fond believer that the worker is due his pay (1 Timothy 5:18). After working hours or even days on a piece, I believe that credit is due where credit is due… it’s the least I deserve.