Have you ever been surfing through the endless pages of the internet and randomly found a pretty spot-on article that you couldn’t stop reading? You are not alone! I did the same thing last night when I came across this article about design ethics from Design Shack. The amount of times I nodded my head in agreement was almost nauseating. (The tea cups ride at Disney is my least favorite.) It seems as though a lot of entrepreneurs, or small business owners, may jump into the business end first and ponder the ethics later. For me, the very beginning of Intuitiv was laden with anguish over the never-ending balance between making a profit, and maintaining your ethics. Being the natural over-thinker that I am, it took the first year of building Intuitiv to really weed out the values that pertain to design and branding. Here is what I came up with:
- Value the message and not the price tag. Recently, an old client requested a book cover design for a subject he is covering in the college classes he teaches. The particular subject matter conflicted with the morals/views of Intuitiv, and we didn’t feel comfortable supporting his cause. So, even though other designers or companies might not see the point in passing up a chance to make a profit, we choose to only support causes that are in line with our values. We would never attempt to silence anyone with opposing views or values, but we do choose to not aid in their cause. The thought of putting our name on work we don’t believe in, and one day having to answer to why we chose the profit over our morals/values, is enough to keep us up at night.
- Accurate time tracking for projects. From the very beginning of Intuitiv, we have heard our client’s “horror stories” working with dishonest and unethical freelancers, who chose to exploit their trust to earn an extra buck. Intuitiv is not out to get you. We are here to work together, and progress together. Therefore, every project we work on is accurately timed with a time-tracking app directly connected to our invoicing software. Our clients can rest easy knowing we are not billing them for our lunch breaks or chats with our moms. Time is money, but your trust is more important to us.
- No tricks up our sleeves. The first step in our design process is to gather all the information we need from you to properly create a work proposal for your project. The work proposal outlines every step of the project, from payment schedules and policies, to design recommendations and our design/development contract. Keeping our communication transparent is our way of trusting you to trust us. You are kept in the loop from start to finish. We hope this method of doing business also encourages you to be curious, and ask questions openly. We love to encourage curiosity!
Maintaining design ethics, while running a successful design company, can seem muddied and overwhelming. However, we like to keep it simple and open, which are two values at the core of Intuitiv’s make up. Of course, there are plenty more great examples of ethical practices in the design industry, but we find these three to be the best for our way of doing business. Do you have any ethical practices you would like to share with us? Our (virtual) door is always open. 🙂