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  • Writer's pictureGeorgia

Are you a good designer?

Updated: Aug 17, 2020

I always wonder, how do you know you are a good human? Do you wait to be praised with a dried meat treat from your master like the family dog? Do you receive golden stars and mount them on a chart on the fridge? Or do you gather ‘likes’ on social media posts? I asked google, what does it mean to be a good human? Here it spells out to me that I must not be selfish, I must think equally about the needs of the people around me and my own.

When I was a child I knew when I was good or bad; when I hit my sister with a footless Bratz doll, I was bad. Today, it’s bad to even own a Bratz doll, (and I’ve also stopped hitting my sister) it’s a social issue to give your children a sculptured piece of plastic shaped as a skinny female.

In today’s world it’s difficult to know the correct morals as there are so many things to put into consideration, gender being one of the main difficult subjects.

This month we tried to tackle inequality with International women’s day on March 8th, which was celebrated far and wide by all genders. This day marks the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Although there are a lot of positive movements for women’s rights, sometimes decisions, which may on the surface appear to be ethical, are actually quite different. A historical example of this is that of Edward Bernays , a highly influential PR pioneer.


Edward Bernays


During the 1920’s, when it was deemed inappropriate and taboo for women to smoke, Bernays was hired by tobacco companies to increase sales. Seeing the gap in the market, Bernays sought advice from psychoanalysts and managed to ‘manipulate the masses’ by getting a group of debutante women to join the Easter Sunday parade and simultaneously light their cigarettes. Printed in the newspapers in the following days, the PR stunt was celebrated and the cigarettes were declared ‘torches of freedom’ implying it was a constitutional right for women to smoke. On the surface, this seemed like a deliberate act of female empowerment, beneath, the underlying goal was to boost sales for the tobacco companies.


1929 New York Easter Parade


The UK are now aiming to “deglamorise” cigarette packaging and generate negative connotations for these products using “the ugliest colour in the world” and creating standardised packaging to stop consumers from buying these products. Should designers have the power to choose what products or brands are good and bad, or should it be up to the free will of the consumers?


Standardised green packaging


After listening to Creative Review podcast Episode 7, focusing on ethics in design and women’s razors ads. I was introduced to the overlooked female razors ads with the shiny hairless females and the new look that Billie, a female-first shaving company, are bringing women with actual body hair in their advertisements. Along with the imagery Billie presents, they also aim to create equal prices for women and men, as currently, women pay 10% to 15% more than men for shaving products. Billie are “celebrating our choice to be shaggy, smooth or anything in between.” Billie clearly believes that the consumer should choose their appearance. Is the consumer buying a product or a lifestyle/movement? Alongside their products they have created a platform #projectbodyhair where women can upload their body hair images and celebrate their appearance with an aim to make the internet a ‘fuzzier’ place.



As a Designer, it’s difficult to know whether you are being good. Should you take on the projects that may alienate your wants, your ethics in exchange for money, your professional goals or creating relationships? How do you know when to say, yes that’s a good project for me and the environment I want to be part of, especially for a young designer who may lack experience or credibility.

To me being a good designer is about trying to learn, understand and adapt whilst considering the impact your work will have on the general public and the environment.
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