It's time to have a chat. It could be boring, however if you sit tight the information is extremely valuable. This isn't exactly one of those times where you want to find yourself making the mistake afterwards. So why are the rules of professional conduct so important? And why should we as junior designers learn them before hand?
If you crab your clamps and a sturdy desk you are well on your way to cranking open the RGD Professional Handbook, however if you can't seem to keep the book open, not fret for I have the power to link you to a digital PDF version of the rules! Great, now that I have a copy and you have a copy, lets dig into the first three rules.
1. I am committed to meeting the professional standards of the graphic design industry and working towards the betterment of the profession across Ontario, Canada, and internationally.
2. I will engage in the practice, management, and/or instruction of graphic design in an ethical and lawful manner.
3. I will act in the best interest of my clients and/or employers, within the limits of these Rules.
All three rules are key to understand. They will help you perform ethically and help direct your moral compass as you work in the field of graphic design. However saying that, if you are not a member of RGD you don't necessarily have to abide by all these rules, that being loosely said since most make sure you are not breaking the law. In my personal opinion, as a student RGD, I think it's best practice to stick to these rules to keep yourself out of any trouble.
So we're going to focus on rule #3 today. If we take a look, it's basically telling us to make sure you're keeping either your client or your employer's interest at best, meaning you're going to do whatever it takes to keep either those stakeholders at low risk. If that still doesn't make sense, how about we walk through two scenarios.
You're working at an agency and they bring on a sporting goods client, he sells boats, four wheelers, fishing gear, all that fun stuff. You're now working with him, and we'll call him client X. Now a week goes by and you get another knock on the door from client Y who is also in the business of sporting goods, selling the same products and services as client X. Now should you work with client Y?
Well this is where Rule #3 jumps in. You're more than welcome to work with both client x and y however you must be transparent in the situation both clients must be aware of this. Another precaution would be that since you are currently working with client X it would be in the clients best interest that you do not work with client Y but have a co-worker take that on instead.
You have a cool new job at a really killer design agency and they're doing an open house. This obviously means you have to lay out your work. So you take out some past projects and lay them out on the table. You take a look around start wondering what else you could do, but you realize "oh all our process work is still up on the wall, ah that should be fine then, past work and some in progress work that will be cool!" Well time to back it up there junior! You can't just keep up in progress work on the wall for everyone to see, you're not keeping your clients best interest in mind. So you're alright to use past work however it never hurts to ask your client to be sure!
Now it's important to practice these rules. I'm currently doing so by making sure I don't post "process work" to my instagram feed without our clients permission. Yes it's super cool getting to share your process work but you have to be sure your clients in mind. Maybe they don't want that leaked yet or maybe there's an idea in there that's good but they didn't use it. You don't want that fresh little egg rolling around out in the open.
So what are you doing to practice these rules? Or maybe you weren't aware of them just yet and now you'll be able to start implementing them!