What is ethical design?

16th October 2017

What is ethical design?

It’s all well calling ourselves a sustainable digital agency. We're guided by our ethics, but what does it mean to be ‘ethical’? Simply put (and with a little help from a certain search engine) ethics are moral principles that affect how someone will behave and conduct themselves. The origins of someone's moral-compass usually depends on their life experiences, this is no different for design agencies. At Studio Republic. ‘ethical design’ means working hard to design great products alongside our beliefs.

We are proud to call ourselves a sustainable digital agency. But what does it mean to us? We believe in creating content and solutions that are not going to be harmful to others or needlessly drain the earth's resources. For us, it is important to not only have good intentions but also to back this up with great quality work.

Successful ethical design

We are proud to be an ethical creative design agency, but we're not the only ones who are making a “positive impact”. Another design agency that practise good ethical design is The Good Folk, an independent London-based design studio. They “believe ethical design is design worth doing” not only for society and the environment but also because it's good for their business.

A particular project of The Good Folk was an “identity design and packaging for a new organic soap range”, Piltanys Soap. The Good Folk developed colours and typography to create an identity and packaging design that looked and felt “earthy” and “organic” for an ethical brand. Throughout the design process, production and the final product, the ethics of the design agency and client were considered. Like Studio Republic, The Good Folk use appliances chosen for their energy efficiency and work straight to screen. This minimises their use of resources. They craft design using sustainable materials, insisting that this adds value to their clients' massage.

Piltanys Soap: branding and packaging design for an organic soap range

Ethical packaging design example

A digital literacy app for young learners: designing an adaptive, game-based experience for classrooms in Brazil

A fellow design agency practising good ethical design is IDEO, an international design and consulting firm. They aim to “improve the lives of people in poor and vulnerable communities through design”.

IDEO have worked on numerous projects that benefit others; from an app that aims to get teens into good financial habits to an affordable solar light that adds hours of daylight to millions of lives every day. One project in particular that stood out to us was a digital game and diagnostic tool that teaches reading through games and helps teachers to address learning gaps to children for Brazilian children, called Gatópolis.

Trust and collaboration are essential to IDEO’s work; so respect, responsibility, and honesty have always been core to their culture as well as empathy and cultural sensitivity. IDEO have even written a book about design ethics entitled “The Little Book of Design Research Ethics” which aims to provide practical guidance that can be use in the work we do every day.

Ethical app design example

Why is ethical design important to Studio Republic?

What we create, be it a website, branding material, or digital campaign has an effect on real people. Consequently we want to make sure that our efforts are responsible and will leave a positive lasting impression in the minds of our clients' target audience. As mentioned above, experience affects our ethics and this is certainly true for Studio Republic. Having worked with a number of charities and non-government organisations, we’ve established a passion for working with like-minded clients that share our ethos. This has proven to be a key ingredient to our success at the Republic. Continuing to work with like-minded individuals has become somewhat of a prerequisite for our growing client list.

We love working with clients with a passion for what they do and our experience has shown us that charities are no different. We’ve found employees tend to be enthusiastic about their work, and this passion is then reflected in the amazing projects they run. The passion for their projects is also emulated in the detail and care of the briefing. We collaborate our experience and knowledge of modern marketing to deliver a design, campaign and / or website that we feel is entirely appropriate. The care and attention to detail in every aspect of a client’s organisation or company pushes us to want to deliver above and beyond.

Looking to incorporate ethical design into your brand and future campaigns? Contact Jack for a chat about your needs.

01962 659123 | jack@studiorepublic.com