Design – for whom?

Is being a designer merely a privilege?

Have we designers through our training, experience and fancy titles bought ourselves a carte blanche to project our own taste and personal aesthetics onto the canvas of the world, or does being a designer also bring certain obligations and responsibilities?

The answer to this question is not as simple as it may seem.

First of all, as designers, we are very rarely designing in a vacuum. Chances are, our designs will be seen by many people – both those who wish to see it and those who don’t. Therefore, it behooves us to be sensitive to how our design affects society as a whole. We should not be design polluters.

Second, as long as we expect others to pay for our services, it is reasonable to assume that our design is there not only to serve our own interests or purposes, but to aid someone else in achieving their communicative goals.

Third, as long as we expect others to take part of our work – visit our websites, read our magazines, look at our ads etc – we also have a responsibility to our audience. We should strive to make their experience a meaningful one.

Fourth: as long as we expect others – for example: copywriters, illustrators or programmers – to contribute to our work, we have an obligation also to them, to not obstruct or diminish their work unnecessarily, but to try and facilitate and incorporate their contribution in the best possible way.

This does not mean that we have to forget about our own personal motives and desires. Hopefully we can achieve a healthy balance, and produce good design while doing so.

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