Top Tips for Socially Responsible Designers:
1) KNOW YOUR ETHICS:
A lot of designers do not know where they stand on their ethics, as a designer you should have clear ethics set out that you believe in and follow these through your work and practice.
2) YOUR CHOICES
When you jump into the design industry you will be expected to put your believes and ethics behind you and you will need to decide if this is acceptable or not for you, or become a a socially responsible designer.
3) UNDERSTAND DESIGN INDUSTRY
You need to understand what happens in the industry that you will be involved in. For example graphic design is creating ‘mountains of waste, reinforcing negative stereotypes, polluting the air and water and encouraging wasteful spending’. It can have a destructive effect on the environment that you need to understand before choosing your cause.
Socially responsible designers understand that meaningful design projects happen when there is authentic engagement with the clients and target audience, they can both offer expert insights into the problem at hand, making you create a successful solution.
Ask your clients to review your work that is in progress so they can liaise with you to help build the perfect solution for the given brief
A good tip to help build on your solution is to get enough insight from the client and put yourself in the audiences mindset, this will help you achieve your outcome close to the given brief.
7) EVALUATE YOURSELF
You need to evaluate your work and think what effect or consequences it will have on the environment and the world. Is your work aligned with your ethics as a socially responsible designer?
8) TEAM WORK
Designers also consider a teams group size and demographic, these team members can be from many different fields such as graphic designers, architects, illustrators, photographers, videographers, ect.) Everyone will all have different methods and offer there own perspectives on the given subject which will help divergent thinking to achieve successful outcomes for the task at hand.
9) KEEP TRACK
Keeping track of your work is important to sustain yourself as a successful designer. It is easy to lose track when you get lost in the design aspect, so always stop and evaluate your work and the message that it is portraying, always keeping your ethics in mind.
Use social media as an advantage to promote your work and yourself as a socially responsible designer. However responsible designers understand the importance of of compiling the work into case studies that can convey a story through their projects, which allows others to learn and expand their knowledge and offer insights in other ways.
It is often thought that you cannot make a living as a designer by sticking to your ethics and having a voice in what work you choose to undertake, however refusing to do work that compromises your beliefs can often bring you more work and not less as more potential clients can see that you actually have a voice in what you do, which is often lost in current design practices.
Noah Scallin: ‘The Life of a Socially Conscious Designer’ and ‘Making a Difference and Making a Living’
‘Anatomy of the Socially Responsible Designer’ by Andrew Shea