In every organization, there are rules. Naturally, the RGD is no different. Like every such organization they have a series of rules determining the code of conduct for their members.
But rules are just boring legalese you don’t have to pay attention to, right?
Without these rules in place, registered graphic designers and their clients alike have no protection from the unscrupulous persons looking to take advantage of them. These rules are in place to protect any involved parties as much as they are for keeping people in line. And especially important for this is the second rule:
“I will engage in the practice, management, and/or instruction of graphic design in an ethical and lawful manner.” (RGD Rules of Professional Conduct)
The expanded text for this rule, provided in the RGD handbook, explains it in more detail. The handbook states (and I’ll paraphrase!) that registered graphic designers are required to keep criticism fair and be honest when promoting themselves, as well as to avoid criticizing other designers harmfully, taking fees from other professionals in exchange for recommendation, or exploiting or mistreating students, interns, and employees. And, if they are educators, registered graphic designers must make their students aware of the RGD’s rules as well.
I believe this rule to be among the most important of the set. As a student—and soon to be provisional—member of the RGD, I do not have the level of experience that many people in the industry have. This in itself makes me vulnerable in the workplace, but the rule prevents that: I cannot have my work stolen, I cannot be exploited, and I cannot be out-competed by other young designers who falsely advertise themselves to seem better than they are—and than I am.
Let’s say, for instance, that there’s a group of young designers, myself included. We’re working on a project together with an older, more experienced designer in charge, having hired the group of us to work for them. Can my contributions to the group be erased? Can the older designer, or any of the other young designers in the group, publicly claim all the work done on the project as their own?
The answer is no; that would be exploitation or false self-advertising. I, and all involved, are protected from that.
I intend to keep close track of the way I’m treated in the workplace… and the way I treat others, as well! This rule is a fantastic resource to refer back to when I or anyone else is mistreated in the workplace—to stop it from continuing, or to keep it from ever starting in the first place.
(Posted January 29, approximately 11:45pm)