Graphic designers intentions are often in the right place when it comes to practicing sustainably. They advise their clients about using soy inks and recycled papers. They design eco-friendly products. They embrace the idea of designing “cradle-to-cradle” and consider the life cycle of products. However, designer Jessie McGrath argues in her MFA thesis that “the idea of sustainable design is an illusive goal because a product can never be truly sustainable by virtue of the fact that it is a product.”
In the Spring of 2010 I conducted a survey among undergraduate graphic design students to find out how much they know about ethical issues in graphic design. The results showed that there are many issues they know little or nothing about.