Ethical Principles for Design

14 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020

Date Written: June 16, 2020


The paper explores ethical aspects of design from a normative perspective. 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 prominent design approaches, such as user-centred design, green or sustainability design, and design addressing societal issues. The paper develops an encompassing perspective on the complex ethical aspects of modern design and considers users, stakeholders, society, nature, people around the world, and future generations. It specifically focuses on the role of design for addressing crucial challenges of the 21st century, such as sustainability, globalization, and inclusion, and proposes a reconstruction of professional responsibilities for functionality and creativity in this context.

Keywords: design ethics, normative perspectives, principles, sustainability, creativity

Suggested Citation

Becker, Christian U., Ethical Principles for Design (June 16, 2020). 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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