What is ‘bad’, again?


Here are the responses from the survey to, “What are the ‘bad’ things designers have done, or been party to?” I will try to classify them under recurring themes.


Too much plastic

Harming nature indirectly

Increased consumerism/ creating more waste material

indirectly encouraging designs that take up or deplete resources.Taking away work from some poor workers

Industrialisation has its negative effects on the climate and several communication designers can participate in iffy communities according to their own beliefs

Obsolescence: designers made sure to create products that aren't sustainable and hence promote consumerism till some extent.

Designers do make things/product with non environmental friendly materials, even though they aware about its harm (All the industries are business driven, Profit oriented.So, MBA have more voice than B.Des/M.Des)They don’t know enough about the impact their work will have, mostly things done in the name of convenience


Taken things for granted like users, spaces, etc.

Designers phaff quite a bit. Most of them lack any ethics. Many designers are apathetic and actively enable sexism and abuse of power.

To be judgemental, or to have a sense of superiority when working with communities which are not a part of one's social or cultural milieu. This also eliminates possibilities of co-creating/ co-thinking with the actual stakeholders.

Made us dependent on external help (from products or services)


Working for projects that invole replicating designs



Exploiting crafts and not giving credit and appropriate monetary benefit to artisans, cultural appropriation, helping big companies throw around the word 'sustainable' without realizing the depth and gravity of it.

Creating excess, hierarchy, catering to and feeding the seven sins (pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth)

aesthetics over accessibility and empowerment

create super addictive ui/ux designs, indirectly managed to ignore cultural differences in design


I feel like designers play a role in the whole competitive rat race, we glorify unhealthy woking patterns. other than that there are situations where there is an unnecessary exoticism of our culture.

Design that promotes classism: a certain level of aesthetic through appearance and products to define your 'class'. We throw this term around lightly saying a form or typeface is 'classy'. Whereas design always comes from a place of personal experience.

Increasing consumption, Faster Obsolescence, Interventions in unsolicited and precarious contexts.


“What you resent in others is present in you “ is a famous saying. For years designers say they are solving “USER’s” problem in reality its their own problem, you cant spot a problem if you dont have that problem.

Anything new makes something old and useless.

What comes to my mind right now is that designers today are very attached to their work which sometimes prevents/stops them from doing the greater good of the society. Sorry I can't think of an example right now. But all the best for your project.

Short term problem solving

Comparing other design and following the trends

Created massive employment opportunities that doesn't do more than being a mediator and controlling the ones who actually do the actual job.

Not being aware of their rights as a professional

Generalise opinions.


Become money oriented than design or art oriented.

Not ask for the money they actually deserve (sometimes)

The capitalization of the concept have resulted in problems ranging from ethical concerns to impact on planet. One of the reason might be the "profit generation" mechanism built in capitalism.Complicate things without complete awareness of it.

Design or work with brands helping them create products harmful/problematic for people/ planet just for monetary gain

Planned Obsolescence of products

Manipulating user for company profits and encouraging unethical behaviour

So from all of these responses, an ethical practice includes the following threads:

 Environmental Sustainability
 Adherence to a value-system
 Cultural Sensitivity
 Fair and exploitation-free work practices
 Financial fairness

What are the other themes/threads for defining an ethical practice?

See also:

My Bad, Your Bad. What is bad?

Conversations on good and bad design in Making Sense of Making Sense