Ethical Principles for Design in the 21st Century

17 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020 Last revised: 2 Jul 2021

Date Written: June 30, 2021


The paper explores ethical aspects of design as a specific field of practice. It develops a set of ethical principles for design against the theoretical backdrop of moral philosophy and the specific characteristics of design as a creative, function-oriented field. The paper provides a systematic ethical approach and critically reflects on ethical assumptions of various design approaches, such as user-centered design, green design, and design for societal values. It considers the complex ethical aspects of design in the 21st century and discusses the role of design in addressing ethical challenges of globalization and sustainability. The paper suggests an encompassing perspective on contemporary design ethics that includes users, stakeholders, society, nature, people around the world, and future generations.

Keywords: Creativity; design ethics; philosophy of design; principles; sustainability

Suggested Citation

Becker, Christian U., Ethical Principles for Design in the 21st Century (June 30, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Christian U. Becker (Contact Author)

Colorado State University ( email )

College of Business
Fort Collins, CO 80526
United States

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