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  • Caroline Glenn

The need for ethical design- The Crazy One podcast with Stephen Gates


“The Crazy One”, with host, Stephen Gates, is a podcast that I discovered this past summer, and have been listening to almost daily since. Gates is a multidisciplinary designer, creative director, and team leader, who has spear-headed a lot of innovation within the companies he has served. Gates grew up in the world of advertising because his dad was a creative director at an ad agency. He has spoken about the value of knowing both the older, and newer skills in the industry. Because of his success, and this extensive background in advertising, I think he is such an excellent wealth of information for someone like me, who would eventually like to have a similar career.

In his podcast, he talks about many aspects of the advertising industry, design, building your own personal brand, and so much more. Recently, he released an episode where he talked about the need for ethical design, and I learned a lot about the topic. I have thought about ethical design for a while now, but never had the actual experience or facts to back up my instincts on the subject or articulate to others what ethical design is.

In the podcast, he defines ethical design as both the large and small impacts that design has on its’ audience. These are both the intended, and often, unintended consequences that design can have. There are several examples within the app Snapchat. Gates explains that with the filters on Snapchat, people have begun to have a sort of body dysmorphia when looking at their real, unfiltered, face as they have gotten accustomed to seeing their face smoothed out and perfected by filters. Plastic surgery is sometimes sought out by these individuals who tell their doctors that they would like to look more like themselves with a particular filter. Although it could be argued that this issue is more intertwined with misuse of the user, unintended effects like this should be thought about anytime designers create something.

I highly recommend this podcast to any of my fellow Ad/Design friends who are interested in learning more about these important topics!


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SWOOP | Student-Managed Advertising and PR Agency

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