With an interest in diving back into the freelance design world and bringing personal project ideas to life, I’ve spent time digging out old professional practice resources from my undergrad at Indiana University.
Flipping through the pages, I enjoyed seeing some of the weathered highlights I made scattered throughout the book. As we live in this incredibly tumultuous time here in the States, a point—rather, an entire section—stood out to me.
“A professional designer shall strive to understand and support the principles of free speech, freedom of assembly, and access to an open marketplace of ideas, and shall act accordingly.”¹
Act accordingly. The words almost sting. A highlight I made almost ten years ago feels so prevalent and so important now more than ever. We as content creators have the tools to evoke and inspire more so than most other fields. With every article—a photographer, with every statistic—an infographic designer, with every untold story—a writer. Making content informative, understandable, easy to read, quick to digest, noticeable, and memorable is something we do in our careers every single day. Yet, we cannot deny that the tools we use to achieve these things are easily accessible, and over time, learnable. While the quality is almost always poor, anyone can use creative tools, photo editing, image sharing, article writing to misinform the public. We can publish an idea instantly (much like this post), and if it’s loud enough, the idea can gain momentum and be perceived as factual as long as enough people think it to be true.
We as designers, writers, and artists should be inspired by the responsibility to society and our environment—to harness this open marketplace of ideas and use it to bring about peace, and to inform to the best of our ability. How can we use design, writing, painting, photography to share untold stories that inspire, to reveal the truth behind the food we eat, or help locals can get information to attend a town hall meeting? How do we use our practice to stop the disregard for health and safety? No matter where you fall politically during this time, it is undeniable that we have the skills to flood our channels—be it social media, our websites or the mailboxes of our representatives—with good.
A few good places to start:
AIGA. (2008) Professional Practices in Graphic Design. Second Edition. (p.6)