The graphic designer and ethics
I don’t believe it is my job to morally or ethically judge clients products and services nor, by extension the customers that use them. I believe in educating consumers about the choices available to them and allowing them to make their own choices. This isn’t just a graphic design debate, but this is something that seems to be becoming more and more prevalent in our society; ‘helping’ others by legislating our own morality I think it is a dangerous trend. The legislation around smoking I understand, but why should you not work with a company that supplies a product that some people want, to market that product in an appropriate, truthful way? But it hasn’t stopped with smoking. Now it’s the same thing with fast food processed sugary foods, alcohol. Also ethically divisive services such as abortion and euthanasia. Shouldn’t our role as communications professionals be to advise our clients on how to communicate truthfully and openly, for any product or service that is legal in the country they find themselves in? It seems to me that refusing our services to select customers impedes their freedom of expression and as such, is tantamount to censorship. So I would say, yes, if you are declining purely on the basis of your personal morals, then you are engaging in a form of censorship in a context where the product is legal, the message is not misleading and the customer is employing the designer to make their communication more efficient either esthetically or strategically.