“Lying, deceiving, stealing, manipulating your clients, peers, coworkers or employees...”

Merriam Webster defines ethics as:

“a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values”

I think we can all agree that’s a pretty accurate description of what we understand by ethics.

But right of the bat, there’s a problem. Ethics is defined as a theory or system. But we have neither. There is no “Designer’s code of ethics” as far as I know, and no willingness for anyone to create one.

So where are our moral principles in regards to our work? How do we guide ourselves and others through business decisions? Without an ethical system we’re left to do whatever we think works at any given time. We’re still children in this respect.

Certainly, the majority of us do our work with a healthy portion of common sense and respect aside, I like to believe.

But I can’t ignore the times when I see a designer or a project manager or a programmer stepping into dubious grounds. Lying, deceiving, stealing, manipulating your clients, peers, coworkers or employees are but a few of the tools that unethical people in this business use on a day to day basis. Some do it because that’s what they were tought works, others simply don’t know any better, others out of outright malice. The bottom line is that it happens. And it affects all of us.

The unethical behavior of our peers reflects back on the community as an entity and, soon as you know it, you end up meeting client after client saying “I know you, designers, you only want to steal from me!”.

SO what IS my point? Am I militating for an ethical commision? An universal code of conduct? Maybe a “Designer’s handbook”? No, but either would be welcomed.

My point is that we need only one thing: respect. Treat yourself and your clients with respect. Treat them like you would carrying a bucket of boiling tar while suspended on a construction beam 200 feet in the air. Drop it and you fall hard. Make it and, as they say, you’ll be #winning. That is all.

Oh, yeah:┬áRespect: “high or special regard”