What is "bad" design? Is evil something you are or something you do?


nazi propaganda poster
The current discussion at Ideas on Ideas is about The culpable designer.

In Steven Heller's review of Peter Adam's book Art of the Third Reich, he notes that, "The Nazis are often credited with the most successful national "identity," ever designed; and its visual propaganda was among the most effective in the modern world." He also acknowledges that "Hitler had such an acute understanding of the effect of images on the German people that nothing about Nazi art was left to chance." Their understanding of the power of visual communication, coupled with their absolute control and ceaseless consistency, helped build a brand identity that conveyed strength and power, wrapped around a symbol that still evokes fear today.

And when it's not invoking fear its being copied to sell US beef - see the badlander Nazi meat?.

Joking aside, have you ever had to make a tough call...? Have you ever engaged in harmful design? Wondered wether the job you were doing was a "good" one from a moral point of view? Have you sexed up things that were better left unsexy? Do you feel that you can as the designer make a moral judgement on the product you design for? What exactly is harmful design? Join the discussion over at Ideas on Ideas.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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