Changes to RGD's Rules of Professional Conduct address cultural appropriation in design

By agreeing to abide by RGD's Rules of Professional Conduct, RGD Members are committed to the highest standards of professional and ethical behaviour. The Association and its Members are continuously reviewing these rules to ensure they are relevant and up-to-date.


The recent revised wording for the RGD Rules of Professional Conduct Best Practice is as follows:


“When I use any traditional designs, symbols or motifs that belong to a known culture, I will make sure I have a sufficient understanding of the history and culture behind them so I can use them accurately and with respect. Wherever possible I will contact the relevant stakeholders before I use cultural elements.”


“While engaged in the instruction of graphic design, I will teach my students best practices for designing using traditional designs, symbols or motifs that belong to a known culture. This will include teaching them how to contact relevant cultural stakeholders.”


"RGD wanted to create a point of reference when it comes to cultural appropriation and design in a way that was useful for both students and professionals," explains VP of RGD's Ethics Committee, Jennifer Taback RGD. "Emma McAllister RGD and Rod Nash RGD did a great job of summing up the most important points that help designers continue their amazing work while making sure they are aware of the issues that surround their work"


RGD's Ethics Committee, a group of committed RGD volunteers, meets monthly to review the Rules, combat spec work and develop best practices and advocacy initiatives.


RGD's other advocacy efforts cover best practices for graphic designers and the clients they work with, including on issues of spec work and crowdsourcingaccessibilityinternships and more. 


For more information on RGD's Rules of Professional Conduct, click here.