Doctors, politicians, and lawyers do it. Even bankers do it in the Netherlands today. So why don’t designers take an oath and promise to practice their profession responsibly? ‘The influential role of design is such that it calls for a moral code,’ argues design critic Jeroen Junte.
‘Design shapes our world, literally and figuratively – from the buildings that house refugees and the clothes on your backs to the smartphones in our pockets and software for sharing cars,’ said Dutch design critic Jeroen Junte Friday on stage at What Design Can Do. ‘That influential role calls for a moral code. After all, we should expect design to make the world a better place, if only just a little. The designer may not shirk that responsibility, and that includes taking an oath.’
Reproduced here is the full text of the Designer’s Oath, which Junte proposes that every designer should take:
I promise that I will act in an honest, open and transparent manner
I will carefully consider the interests of society, users, clients and their employees
I will not make any design that is harmful to users; nor shall I make any design intended to harm other people
I will not make any design that incites hatred or violence or leads to oppression
I will not make any design that relies on child labour or any other form of exploitation
I will not make any design that uses harmful or depleted resources
I will withhold from wasting energy, raw materials or labour
I will respect the creative autonomy of other designers
I will acknowledge the limits of my profession
That I promise!
Top image: WDCD audience taking the oath (photo Leo Veger)