IAT-102: 12 Lets Get Ethical

IAT-102: 12 Lets Get Ethical — A slide deck

Let's Get Ethical (Ethical!)

Lecture outline

In this week's lecture

  • What are ethics?
  • Ethics in graphic design
  • Modern ethical problems

Lecture slides will be available the morning of the lecture.

Close All Laptops Please

Only the back row may use laptops during lecture.

P05 Final Reflection

A reminder that this is a reflection on your portfolio and how it shows your design ethos. As part of this reflection you are expected to talk about the work and, or, the term.

Final Presentations

Using your written reflection as a starting point, you will be building a presentation reflecting on your portfolio.

Presentation rules:

  • No more than 2 minutes
  • No more than 8 slides permitted
  • Presentations must be in PDF form (no Prezi/Powerpoint)
  • Slides must be 1280x720 pixels

Final Deliverables

Due to Canvas before your lab time:

  • 1 completed citation/submission sheet (PDF)
  • 1 completed presentation (PDF)

Please also bring your presentation to lab.

Let's Get Ethical! Ethical!

Why Ethics?

Graphic design can influence others; as a result we should be aware and wary of its effects.


A personal act can be considered:

  • Moral — an act in accordance with societal or personal morals.
  • Immoral — an act in opposition to societal or personal morals.
  • Amoral — an act inconsiderate of societal or personal morals.

Design Effects People

Remember that we are designing for an audience, and as small as our decisions may seem, they can affect others.

Design Integrity

Working with integrity means thinking beyond yourself: What are the larger effects of what I do?

Manipulating Messages

As designers we have a lot of control over how a message is perceived.

A photo from 'The Commissar Vanishes' illustrating how the USSR removed people from images

Offending Expectations

In this example, National Geographic 'retroactively repositioned' a pyramid. Why might this be a problem?

The cover of National Geographic with a shot of people riding camels and pyramids in the background
The conversion of a sexist beer ad into a more feminist approach to beer ads
The conversion of a sexist beer ad into a more feminist approach to beer ads
The conversion of a sexist beer ad into a more feminist approach to beer ads
Images from "This Brewer Hired Women Illustrators to Remake the Cringingly Sexist Ads It Used to Run" (Adfreak).
An ad showing 'before and after' of using Dove products, suggesting that you will be whiter
The problematic voting cards from the 2000 Bush v. Gore U.S. Presidential election
A trump tweet that included a photo of World War 2 German SS troops
A stock photo of World War 2 German SS troops
More information at "Donald Trump Just Tweeted a Campaign Ad Featuring What Look Like Nazi Soldiers" (Mother Jones).


Is the act of making yourself appear supportive of a cause which you really are not.

The British Petroleum company logo


Being environmentally friendly in your materials is not as simple as printing on recycled paper.

Is it better to read in print or online?

What Does My Site Cost?

Getting Paid

Spec work and crowdsourcing are two routes which starting designers often take. These are dangerous because they cheapen (or make free) all your work.

Remember that your work should somehow benefit you and/or the community you are working for.

An example of how Shepard Fairey used the Associated Press' photo for his poster
Shepard Fairey and the Obama 'hope' poster


"Design is not a realm for lazy minds"
Luba Lukova
An example of someone plagiarizing Luba Lukova's 'peace' poster
The Chilliwack city logo
The Chilliwack city logoThe Vancouver city logo

Plagiarism on Show

Let's take a quick look at You Thought We Wouldn't Notice

Alternative Copyrights

Remember that you are in control of your rights; organizations like Creative Commons lets you make it easier to release some of your rights to the world.

Cite, Cite, Cite

Every element that is not yours should be clearly cited particularly if they go in your portfolio. It helps us distinguish what is yours or not.


Remember when you create a work, who you are working with — and for — can also matter in your control of copyright.

This is Why Process Matters

If you do the time, you likely can't commit a crime. In other words, show your process.

Everything is a Remix

Fair Use

Some cases for use of copyrighted works are permitted, some of these include:

  • Parody
  • News purposes
  • Education
An example of design parody of the 'We Can Do It' poster

Ok, great, what do I do now?

Contacting Andrew

Your Lecturer

Reachable at:

  • Office hours — Mondays from 8:30-9:30am and Thursdays from 8:30-9:30am at the Surrey campus mezzanine.
  • ac.ufs@h_werdna