In the field of visual communication, there are often many ethical situations to consider.

Is it right to work for tobacco companies? Do I agree that fashion and cosmetic advertising propels a culture of unrealistic beauty? Is it okay to recommend five forms of media to my client to raise the budget when I know only one will suffice? How do I choose between a beautiful minimalist eight page layout versus a slightly crammed but environmentally friendly four page layout? What do I do when my boss tells me to work on something I don't agree with?


These are just a few of the ethical considerations that have plagued both student and professional designers. And yet, with so many questions to think about, these issues are hardly being discussed in local design institutes. Even if we were to research this topic by our own volition, what we would often encounter are works written by prominent designers in a foreign context.


ETHICS FOR THE STARVING DESIGNER is a student's attempt at improving the situation. It's a project to promote the dialogue of responsibility and ethics within visual communicators, as well as to reference these conversations to reach a consensus on an ethical code that can be embraced by local Singaporean designers regardless of their professional success.


Over forty students, design professionals, educators and people from other fields were approached to be part of this project. After compiling all of their contributions, the final version of this ethical code was released in the form of a Manifesto, and was unveiled on the 18 April 2012 in the form of an exhibition at the LASALLE College of the Arts. A big thanks to all of you who have participated in this project! Click here to view the final version of the Manifesto.

About the student

I’m David, a 23 year old student currently doing his final year in Design Communication at LASALLE College of the Arts.

My first experience with ethics in design started when I was 16. Back then, I dabbled a little in building websites and flash banners for foreign clients. This guy approached me to build a website that was uhh... in the business of making people "happy" through adult entertainment.


He didn't offer cash, but instead promised "unlimited access to all the videos I could ever want" and "shares" to the business. I remember asking him if he knew that I was 16 at that time, and all he replied was "Of course. ;)"


And of course, I turned him down. Obviously, right? I totally wasn't swayed by the promise of unlimited pornography. Absolutely.




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