Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Milton Glaser's Road to Hell

Back in 2002, Milton Glaser wrote an article for Metropolis magazine about design ethics and created the 12 steps to hell for a designer. In 1999, I went straight to number 12 and have been trying to claw my way to redemption ever since. How about you?

  1. Designing a package to look bigger on the shelf.
  2. Designing an ad for a slow, boring film to make it seem like a lighthearted comedy.
  3. Designing a crest for a new vineyard to suggest that it has been in business for a long time.
  4. Designing a jacket for a book whose sexual content you find personally repellent.
  5. Designing a medal using steel from the World Trade Center to be sold as a profit-making souvenir of September 11.
  6. Designing an advertising campaign for a company with a history of known discrimination in minority hiring.
  7. Designing a package aimed at children for a cereal whose contents you know are low in nutritional value and high in sugar.
  8. Designing a line of T-shirts for a manufacturer that employs child labor.
  9. Designing a promotion for a diet product that you know doesn't work.
  10. Designing an ad for a political candidate whose policies you believe would be harmful to the general public.
  11. Designing a brochure for an SUV that flips over frequently in emergency conditions and is known to have killed 150 people.
  12. Designing an ad for a product whose frequent use could result in the user's death.

[Be A Design Group and Crit have also explored this article recently]


Tree said...

HA! This is hilarious. I am right there with you on #12. But I'm sure you've more than redeemed yourself, its been almost a decade! Once I saw a homeless guy wearing a t-shirt I designed for Camel in the 90s, and felt a little better because (1) he needed that shirt, and (2) it wasn't sitting in a landfill somewhere like all the other crap I've designed.

kirsten said...

ha. he brought this up in our class. he asked us to raise our hands so i did. i showed my class that i was evil.

Anonymous said...

I have a mental list of industries I wouldn't feel ethically sound working for. The thing is, those are industries with tons of money which makes it very difficult to respectfully say no (Which I have on 4 various occasions). I will say this ... it is easier to stay at 1 than to go back from 12 ... young designers need to speak up and be heard because if you cave early in your career ... it's much harder turning back.