Is there room for ethics in client work?
Is there room for ethics in design?
Design studios are taking an ethical stand. CR finds out if ‘good’ clients and big business can ever truly live in harmony
“There’s a huge amount of pressure on agency owners to bring in work that pays salaries and all that stuff, and I think it’s very easy to have that optimism bias you just have by wanting to get work in the door,” Tapper continues. “I think that criticism probably was a bit hard to stomach at the time, but it was a fair point and we went back to the drawing board.”
He actually developed a tool to deal with this question when deciding to bring in new clients.
In answer to this, Nice and Serious launched The Moral Compass – an internal tool that lets every single brief that comes into the agency be anonymously and democratically voted on by the entire team. It works on a simple mechanism that asks each team member to use a pair of sliding scales to show to what extent they agree or disagree with two statements: does this brand want to have a positive impact on the world? Will this project have a positive impact on the world? The team gets between three and seven days to vote, which Tapper says gives them time to do their own research.
But it doesn't seem like this tool has necessarily helped.
“The democratisation of that decision just means you’re ultimately getting lots of subjective opinions and trying to come to an objective outcome from that.”
What do you think? Is choosing ethical clients something you think about?How do you decide whether a new client is not a fit for ethical reasons?
What about if you're in a dry spell and desperate for work? Where is the moral line for your company?