Nov 30, 2016

Designer Code of Ethics

  • Andre Da Loba
  • "If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design."
    - Ralf Speth

    I researched design frameworks (eg. Design Thinking, Participatory Design, Inclusive Design, ect.) for my thesis during my studies in User Experience Design at University of Toronto. The conclusion from my paper really just boiled down to two points:

    1. Designers, like all humans, are inherently biased and their understanding is limited to their own experiences.
    2. Designers should be better equipped in their privilege to not accidently produce something harmful.

    I developed this Code of Ethics as almost a reminder to myself what my values are as a designer. Whenever I was asked to design something at work that I did not feel comfortable creating, I would pull this list out and ask myself and my team: Why are we designing this this way?

    I expect constant updates to my code of ethics throughout my career. I hope it can help out other designers too.

    As a designer..

    I will include the experiences of marginalized groups into my design process.

    I shall not hide, avoid or diminish experiences of others1.

    In order to avoid creating products and services that discriminate, bias or neglect, the people I am designing for will always guide me in my design.

    I shall reject projects that will result in harm to the public.

    I will respect the privacy of individuals, groups and collectives, and design to protect personal data.

    I will incorporate lenses of privilege2 when exercising my design decisions.

    With my seat at the table, I will bring voices that can empower us to make inclusive and smart decisions.

    Designers Create Our Future

    Designers in the broadest term is anyone who creates or invents or develops anything. I believe designers built this world and they will continue to shape our expectations and outcomes about the world around us. We can set the bar of what is acceptable when it comes to including different types of people into our design. Diversity is the answer to survival not only in the biological sense but nowawadays in this political sphere it is how corporations can stay lasting. I don't mean the fake type of diversity where all the PR photos of racialized employees while a group of white or white-adjacent powerful men sit in at the board of directors level.

    Pillars of Design

    Power Substance Freedom Change


    1. Others, in this sense can include those with different views and demographic identites which includes but is not limited to: gender, age, sex, ability, mental capacity, impairment, class, religion, politics, culture, ect.

    2. Privilege, in this sense means social privileges, such as heteronormaty,