Ethics in graphics
[eth-iks] Show IPA
(Used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
The rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
Moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
(Usually used with a singular verb ) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.
Through the Itap lectures I have learnt that graphics is based on having your own visual identity. As designers we can all be inspired by the designs of great designers however it is important to have your own personality and ideas. There is a constant battle in the graphics industry of what is morally correct are we offending the viewer/consumer/a particular age group, ethnicity or religion this can result in the loss of clients and perhaps sales of a product. Examples of ethics range from child labour, Halal produce, and animal rights e.g. fur, animal testing or cruelty.
One example I came cross of unethical advertising was a shocking image from a fashion company called SISLEY. The image used, promotes the idea of illegal substances (cocaine). The image is of a white vest and powder covered credit card along side the strap line “fashioin junkie”. The purpose of the advert is to highlight how under the influence the girls are that they can’t even pronounce their words properly. I believe SISLEY’S aim was to show how amazing their clothes are that it would blow your mind and compare this to the mind set of being under the influence of illegal substances. SISLEY often creates quite provocative adverts this type of advertising can cause serious damage to a company’s reputation and image. In addition this type of advert can also be harmful to the target audience i.e. young individuals, by encouraging them to believe that being under the influence of illegal substances is the morally correct way to behave, especially if they are loyal customers who want to get in to the fashion industry.
Another example of unethical advertising I came across is through the advertising of the morning after pill by the medical industry. This product is one of the most debated forms of medication available today. Debates over the morning after pill can depend on an individual’s culture, religion, morals beliefs and how they have been brought up. For example a strict Catholic or Muslim person may find the advert below offensive as it promotes the idea of aborting a child which in their eyes is considered wrong. The advert below can also be seen to be promoting an unhealthy dependence on the pill as within the advertisements there is no mention that the morning after pill should not be used as a form of contraception. Furthermore there is no mention that frequent use can cause infertility.
Advertisements in the graphics industry are purely based on the opinion, morals and culture of each person therefore designers are in a situation where they cannot please everyone therefore a designer should identify their target audience and produce a design to appeal to that audience.