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22 Responses to “Buy Truvada No Prescription”

  1. Azeem

    It is a very hard decision, but every situation will be different so it’s difficult to say what you are or are not willing to do. Sometimes just doing the work might be your only option - regardless of how you feel about it.

    It ultimately depends if ones convictions run so deep that they would refuse to do any work towards such a project whatsoever or make a compromise ‘just this once’.

    Personally, I don’t have a problem with organisations, such as tobacco companies, where although they are ultimately detrimental to ones health - a choice is still available to those that buy their products. Everyone knows smoking kills, so there is no excuse.

  2. Anonymous

    This is a pretty interesting one. Certainly for me.

    I started off with an information design consultancy 2 years ago, a great small and friendly outfit run by geeks for geeks as it were, where design purism, user-interaction theory and typographic debates could make or break even big projects. Designing information is a great motive for work.

    Six months ago I applied for a job as in-house designer & front-end developer for a firm in London who seemed to offer a challenge in workload, paid well and gave the impression of a lot of upward mobility. I was moving to London anyway, this seemed more than any of the other jobs coming my way to use my skills well… The firm I work for markets gambling.

    At first this was a challenge. Could I work with hard-headed marketing people for an industry such as this, with a massive workload, inventively devising concepts in advertising for something I don’t believe in? What a challenge! This was unexpected and not education I’d been looking to go through, but what an opportunity…

    A challenge is not always rewarding. My CV will speak for itself — I’ve done well with this job and this is a challenge I rose to and faced off, but there’s no great pay off.

    Sure, I laugh at so-called ‘designers’ fresh out of university who resent the practical needs of design, who want to do their own thing regardless of the product, and who want to chose their design jobs. That’s not being a real designer.

    But at the same time there’s nothing to be proud of in putting your ethics on hold for work. ‘Just following orders’ doesn’t cut it when you’re responsible for the quality of the results, and when you accepted those orders when others were on offer.

  3. Shoghon

    It is interesting that you mention tobacco. As it is my city recently voted to ban smoking in restaurants and bars (except for casinos). I was ‘volunteered’ at work to create the site for the anti-tobacco lobby. My personal beliefs rejected the idea (and I am not a smoker).

    I brought this up with my employer, said I couldn’t do it and he told me that designing the website wasn’t going to make or break a vote.

    I ended up doing it anyway. But to be honest it won’t ever go in my portfolio even if it was actually pretty good.

  4. Zinni

    Wow great responses,

    @ Anonymous - When you say that you do not think that real designers choose their design jobs what do you mean? I am curious, as designers fire clients all the time. If you mean selecting clients that only fall within the style of design they prefer, then I would agree as well. There are much larger challenges and trials of your skill by taking on a project that fall outside of your area of expertise. This can be a great way to expand and develop your skills.

    @ Shoghon - I would argue that a website could make or break a vote. Why else would politicians be so concerned with blogs and the internet media in this election? Also, advertising no matter which medium it utilizes is created for the sole purpose on influencing others, whether it be to buy something or even vote for something. If it didn’t work, then why would people waste money on it? I am not attacking you, rather pointing out the flaw in your employers logic.

    Thank you everyone for your comments, they offer tons of insight.

  5. Kathy

    I’d rather be a few bucks poorer and stand by my beliefs than feel like I contributed to something bad in the world.

    It reminds me of the following quote:

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

  6. Anonymous

    @Zinni — regarding what jobs you take it’s a question of shifting lines in the sand of course, and there are projects I’ve worked on that have just been canceled because of arrogant and confused clients, but I’m very cynical of young designers without any great professional experience deciding what they will and won’t do. There comes a time when I say “You’re not a designer, you’re a low-art computer artist waiting for someone to comision work you’ve already done”. Because failing to take a job at its own value is refusing the challenge to design. But perhaps you’re right — if I’m honest I do have a humility problem, which is precisely what makes me feel I have no right to refuse work that isn’t my speciality.

    @Shoghon — Zinni’s right. Media collateral, apart from viral advertising, is pretty much the only way to influence a vote.

    @Kathy — Laudable view, but often with jobs to fill in industry a more realistic approach is “If you don’t do it, some evil bastard who’s really into it will instead”. Although when creativity comes into the box, that often goes out the window as a line of reasoning.

  7. Dickson Fong

    @Zinni — I think the best course of action is to discuss it with your colleagues. In the end, regardless of whether everybody agrees, it’s all about coming to a mutual understanding.

    @ Anonymous — You raise an interesting point. I agree that true designers wouldn’t refuse a design challenge. It’s our job to solve problems, and the mark of a good designer is the willingness and ability to apply skills beyond his or her comfort zone.

    However, you suggest that young designers who want to choose their own jobs aren’t “real designers”. I think the mark of a real, good designer is also being picky about what jobs to accept. Sure, there’s a certain arrogance or hubris to being selective, but I think this world is already chock full of designers—both professionals and hacks—who will blindly accept any work that comes their way.

    In my opinion, a real designer is willing to step up to any design challenge, but also chooses their work within the context of what they believe in. It’s not my position to judge because people are free to believe whatever they please. Regardless of what you believe is right or wrong, the best thing you can do for yourself and society is to stay true to yourself. I hate to be a self-promoting link slut, but a guy on my own blog post about social responsibility said it best:

    A satisfied, validated individual who’s proud of his work and station in life makes for better, stronger society, moreso than any design project could.

  8. Zinni


    Thanks for the comment, the quote is definitely adds to the discussion so I do not consider you a link whore… :)

    Overall I agree with your opinion, I believe there are far too many designers out there, hack or not, that accept every job that comes there way. Personally I feel that at the end of the day if you are not happy with what you are doing, then it is never really worth it.

  9. Rafael Masoni

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I can’t think of any better solution.

    I put my values on top of everything. As I’m a freelancer, it’d be easy to say no if somebody comes proposing something that I do not feel comfortable with. As a poor example, I was asked to help making a whole porn portal, but I didn’t take it.

    But, as an employer, that would be extremely hard to decide, since it’s your job and you’d probably get fired if you deny doing it, no matter how honorable it is.

    PS: The tobacco example was very good.

  10. Nabil

    Hey Zinni,
    This is a random question but i was wondering what you use to create you blog?

  11. liam

    It’s really tough, but I think the person/people you work for should be reasonably sympathetic towards your decision, providing you have good solid reasons for not wanting to attach your name/work to a certain website/organization.

    I could only see this being a problem if you have quite strong views on a lot of things, and turning away 3/4 projects because of your opinions could lose your company a lot of income. At that point I think it would be fair for your position to be reviewed, either you need to take a step back and realise you might have to do some work for people who you might not agree with, or you may end up losing your job.

    It sounds a little harsh, but from an employers point of view you could be causing a lot of disruption because of your views.

    @ Nabil

    WordPress is what is used to power this blog as far as I can tell (

  12. LL

    As a freelancer, this is something I’ve butted up against a few times, and it is not without the power to surprise.

    One of my long-term clients wanted to put together a presentation attacking mainstream medicine (their field is alternative health). My beef was that the tone and content were combative and misleading, but the subtext, to my mind, was that the ‘purity’ of natural remedies was fundamentally better. It was only at this point that I began to question whether promoting this company’s products was at odds with my rationalist beliefs.

    If a number of people eschewed mainstream medicine for these remedies because of my assistance, would that trouble me enough to fire my client?

    The presentation idea dried up on the client side with little more than spitballing. But it’s funny to see ethical dilemmas pop up in unexpected places.

  13. duuuhg

    It might seem unethical to sum, but one option is to do the work and then create a counter site on your own time to balance karma. More interesting, alternatively, it the idea of designing and promoting subversive greasemonkey scripts could be a great way to re-educate people about products.

  14. Zinni

    @ Nabil - Photoshop / Dreamweaver / WordPress

    @ liam - I understand how often you do this of importance as well. If I found myself in such a situation I would think very critically about the nature of the work the employer takes and my own personal beliefs. If they were consistently different then I would leave the company. If you constantly oppose the projects that a company takes on then chances are you should be looking for employment elsewhere not only for yourself, but also because the employer may begin to stop feeling favorably about you.

    @ duuuhg - I don’t know that I would take this route. You could potentially anger your employer more by doing this that if you would have been up front about the situation and discussed the situation. But just to play devils advocate, think about what could happen if you do what you have suggested. Say you create a grassroots organization to oppose an employer’s client and their services. Your organization becomes successful and then it is revealed that you are employed by a company that provides services for the very thing you oppose. Obviously some people would have some things to say about you and your organization / efforts.

  15. Jacob Cass

    I would have to await till when the problem comes up. I know Rafie (

    ) actually doesn’t design anything with animals in his pieces due to his religion. What do you think of that?

    Jacob Cass’s latest post: Discover RSS: May 1st is RSS Awareness Day + The Official Logo I Designed For It

  16. Vincent

    Really interesting discussion here!

    I tend to agree with Dickson, as I said over at his blog: it’s more important to me, as a designer, to uphold my own personal principles, regardless of whether somebody else will swoop in and take the job in my absence. Whether or not it’s a design challenge is sort of beside the point. Every job should be a design challenge.

    Graphic design is a big industry, and there are plenty of clients out there whose business models I agree with; why would I take a job for a client whose own principles collide with my own? It’s more important to me to be happy with my work — both aesthetically and morally — than it is to make a few bucks. If I’m happy with my work, and not dealing with the emotional consequences of questioning (or worse, regretting) my decision to uphold something I disagree with (no matter how indirectly), I’m a better designer and member of society for it.

  17. liam

    *Off topic* I just had to congratulate you on the design, very nice style and very unique, I prefer it to your last design, and I think you’ve done a great job.

  18. Zinni

    @liam thanks for the kind words. This design is the result of endless hours of hard work and critical thinking. I plan on doing a formal write up later tonight, for those who are interested to see how I got here. My old design had drastically different goals as it was my first wordpress blog, I learned a ton creating it however this design is more inline with my goals for Positive Space.

  19. Joshua Clanton - Design for the WEB

    Interesting question. I think my response would really depend on how strongly I am opposed to the prospective project. If I was hesitant about doing the design work, I’d talk to my boss and ask if someone else could be assigned to it instead. If not, then I’d think pretty hard about the degree to which I would be complicit if I did the design work.

    Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about this too much, since as a freelancer my boss is always pretty sympathetic. :-)

  20. Zinni

    @ Jacob,

    I don’t want to pass judgment on anyone for their beliefs. while not a situation I would personally find offense with, if Rafie has a problem with it then I applaud him for sticking to his beliefs. Any way you look at it, its hard to be objectionable and stand up for what you believe in.

  21. Nout van Deijck - Blog

    First of all, I want to say that I find it great that you write an article about this issue.

    I think that I would go to my employer and say that I cannot do the job, in such a situation.
    In my case, I woud first go to myself and off course go and discuss it with my colleagues (we have a webdesign bureau).
    Then, I would go to the one who came to us for a project and say honestly we cannot do the job.

    Fortunately, I’ve never been put in such a position.

    Nout van Deijck, Blog (about (web)design, typography, science and news)

  22. koan

    7 years ago I’ve refused to design the site of the most important Italian hunting equipment seller… I’ve lost about 12.000$, but I’m a strong animalist and my girlfriend is a veggie so I really couldn’t accept such kind of work.
    It was my first and my last, never happened similar situations since.



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  • Joshua: Being more of a graphic designer than a web designer, I think I can agree with the concept here. I do a lot of web layout mockups...
  • estudio web: Muy buen blog de diseño! great blog! thanks from Argentina.
  • theComplex: @Lisa – I have the same issue. And sometimes I get so caught up in how irritated I am at that client that the...
  • Daus: I don’t think there is “rules” in webdesign. It is just trend, and people (read: designer) often...
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  • Vim: This list is always a good tip however its something that most designers already know, finding inspiration can be hard, but to get...
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  • Ben Rama: shouldnt it be as simple as if it works it works in an ideal world great post – thanks
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