i+D - January/February 2020 - 18

Business
of Design
Ethics,
Politics, &
Design

STICKY
SITUATIONS
BY ROBERT NIEMINEN

Ethical and political
dilemmas should give
designers pause-and,
ideally, a plan of action

AT THE TIME THIS ARTICLE WENT TO PRESS, JUST OVER A MONTH HAD
PASSED SINCE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES APPROVED ARTICLES OF
IMPEACHMENT FOR THE 45TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,
DONALD TRUMP. THE POLITICAL DRAMA WOULD CONTINUE IN THE PRESS
(AND ON TWITTER) AS THE TRIAL MOVED TO THE SENATE AND, AMONG
THE CLAMOR, ONE THING REMAINED CLEAR: THE COUNTRY IS EMBROILED
IN SCANDAL.

How they respond matters because designers have a responsibility to the public and to
the profession to conduct themselves in an ethical manner. Failure to do so reflects poorly
not only on themselves, but also on the industry as a whole. It's part of the reason the
American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) publishes and enforces its Code of Ethics
and Professional Conduct, requiring its members "to conduct their professional practice
in a manner that will inspire the respect of clients, suppliers of goods and services to the
profession and fellow professional designers, as well as the general public." Similarly,
the Interior Designers of Canada (IDC) publishes a Code of Conduct for its annual Design
Symposium and for members of its Board of Management as well.
While such guidelines are instructive, they aren't exhaustive. Situations will arise in which
designers must make a choice to uphold or compromise their personal and professional values.
That's why i+D recently spoke with several seasoned practitioners to help offer insights into
the often murky political and ethical waters.

18

i+D - January/February 2020

Image: Luca Bravo/Unsplash

Although most design professionals reading this will never experience the kind of
controversy playing out across today's headlines, the industry isn't insulated from politics
or questionable business practices. Ethical dilemmas show no partiality, and most designers
will likely face situations during their careers that will challenge their ideals and perhaps
test their integrity.



i+D - January/February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i+D - January/February 2020

Contents
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover1
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover2
i+D - January/February 2020 - 3
i+D - January/February 2020 - 4
i+D - January/February 2020 - 5
i+D - January/February 2020 - Contents
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i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover3
i+D - January/February 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20211112
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https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/id/20210708
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/asid/design_product_guide
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200708
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20200304_french
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20190304_french
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20181112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20181112_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180910_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180708_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180506_french
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/id/20180304_french
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