Blogless: Blog of Design Less Better.

Why be ethical?

This weekend, DLB is going to break form: Instead of a weekend ponderable, let's try a weekend wrap-up.

DLB: Twelve inches less design

We’ve been slamming BlogLESS this month, trying to start stake out some positions on design ethics. About three weeks ago, though, Nick first asked a question that’s crystallized the tone for our first investigation: Namely, "Why bother?" Why be ethical at all when we all know that greed is good?

Since then, our collective agenda has been to show that we don’t know that at all. I think, inadvertently, we may have finished doing this last week. Here’s what we’ve come up with, in all its syllogistic glory:

It’s necessary for effective advertising to be coherent with reality. When it’s not, people notice, and it’s going to hurt you. Which leaves you with two options. First, you can act unethically and then lie about it or just omit it from your advertising, but there’s reason to think that won’t hold up. Otherwise, you can be good, and then put that right on the table. There are ways to do it, and it’s probably less work.

If you are good, and you can coherently advertise the fact that you are good. If you’re generous, conscientious, and civically minded, you won’t have to resort to tricks or other ineffective strategies for profit maximizing. Your products and services will advertise themselves.

Therefore, be good. That’s it. Simple as that.

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DLBNov 22, 2008

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