Ethical Principles & Code of Ethics

Ratified by IDSA's Board of Directors on February 15, 2021 - Learn more about the revised Ethical Principles & Code of Ethics

 

Recognizing that industrial designers affect the quality of life in our increasingly independent and complex society, and that responsible, ethical decision-making often requires conviction, courage, and ingenuity in today's competitive business context: We, the members of the Industrial Designers Society of America, agree to adhere to the principles of this Code of Ethics and, at all times, strive to maintain professionalism and integrity in our interactions with the public, clients, employees, and professional peers, as well as with IDSA volunteers and members.

 


Quick Links

Ethical Principles  |  Code of Ethics Articles  |  Complaint & Review Process


 

Ethical Principles

IDSA and each of its members will continuously strive to uphold and advance the integrity of our profession by:

1

Supporting one another in achieving our goals of maintaining high professional standards and levels of competence and integrity, and honoring commitments we make to others

2

Being honest, respectful, and fair in our service to and treatment of the public, our clients, employers, employees, professional peers, Society volunteers, and other members and students, regardless of gender, race, creed, ethnic origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected class

3

Striving to maintain sufficient knowledge of relevant current events and trends within the industrial design profession and community, so as to be able to more effectively assess the economic and environmental effects of our professional decisions

4

Using our knowledge and skill for the enrichment of human well-being, present and future

5

Supporting the equality of rights under the law and opposing any denial or abridgement of equal rights by the United States or by any individual state on account of gender, race, creed, ethnic origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected class


 

Code of Ethics

The following Articles constitute IDSA’s Code of Ethics and are intended to advance the respect for quality and integrity of our profession and IDSA, with IDSA and its members agreeing to be bound by the tenets of this Code of Ethics in their professional endeavors:

Article I

As a member of IDSA and a practitioner in the field of industrial design, I will remain vigilant and exercise sound and informed professional judgment in my interaction with the Society, its members, my employer, and clients, with the intent of serving their best interests.

Article II

I will participate only in projects that I reasonably judge to be ethically sound and in conformance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements and professional guidelines and standards of practice; I will advise my clients and employers when I have serious reservations concerning projects I have been assigned.

Article III

I will provide my employer and clients with original and innovative design services of high quality by serving their interests faithfully and in alignment with my duties and responsibilities to them as my employer and/or clients; by treating privileged information of my employer and clients with discretion and due care and protecting the same from unauthorized disclosure; by communicating effectively with appropriate staff members of my employer and with client contacts; by avoiding conflicts of interest and reporting to my employer and/or clients any real or perceived conflicts of interest; and only with disclosure to and the agreement of all concerned will I perform work on competing product lines simultaneously.

Article IV

I will compete and interact fairly and ethically with my colleagues by building a professional reputation primarily on the quality of my work; by issuing only truthful and non-misleading public statements and promotional materials; by respecting competitors' contractual relationships with their clients; and by commenting only with fairness and veracity regarding the character of work of other industrial designers.

 

Article V

I will be responsible to my or my employer’s staff and/or those under my supervision by facilitating their professional development insofar as possible; by establishing clear contractual engagements regarding obligations of the parties to such contract for services; by endeavoring to maintain a safe work environment; and by properly crediting work accomplished.

Article VI

I will strive to advance design education by holding as one of my fundamental concerns the education of design students; by advocating implementation of sufficiently inclusive curricula and requiring satisfactory proficiency to enable students to enter the profession with adequate knowledge and skills; where practicable, by providing opportunities for internships (and collaboratives) with and observation of practicing designers; by respecting students' rights to ownership of their designs; and by fairly crediting them for work accomplished.

Article VII

I will strive to advance the interests, growth, public confidence, and ethical practices of the profession through a commitment to adhering to IDSA’s Ethical Principles and adhering to the IDSA Code of Ethics and guiding my professional practice in conformity with these practices and principles.

Article VIII

As a member of the IDSA Board of Directors, committees, and councils, and as an IDSA volunteer, I acknowledge the importance of acting in the best interest of IDSA while engaged in activities related to IDSA business, finances, programs, and governance, and agree to at all times so act.

Article IX

I will refrain from conduct that includes, but is not limited to, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and/or bullying at IDSA events, meetings, or throughout the course of carrying out and participating in IDSA’s programs, activities, and services, whether in-person, virtually on IDSA’s digital platforms, or through email, social media, text message, or other digital platforms.

Article X

I will endeavor to first raise good faith and legitimate professional and ethical concerns and/or disputes directly with my peers within IDSA and the profession as a whole, prior to elevating them to IDSA’s management and Board of Directors for appropriate action as set forth below.

Article XI

In my interaction with fellow members of the Society, as well as its officers, directors, volunteers, and staff, both within and outside of IDSA sponsored events, I will treat them with respect, dignity, and professional courtesy.

Article XII

As a member of the Society’s Board of Directors, whether as an officer or director, or when serving as a volunteer on the Society’s committees, councils, or sections, I will ensure that my actions and decisions are intended to serve the best interests of the Society and profession as a whole.


 

Ethical Conduct Complaint and Review Process

The Society maintains an open-door policy with respect to receiving, investigating, and hearing ethical complaints brought in good faith to the attention of the IDSA Executive Director, IDSA Chief Operating Officer, and/or the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. The Ethical Conduct Complaint and Review Process will be comprised of the following, which may be amended at any time within the sole and reasonable discretion of the Society’s Board of Directors:

(Note: The Complaint and Review Process references an Ethics Committee. Members of this Committee will be selected by the Board of Directors on an as-needed basis in accordance with IDSA's Bylaws.)

Filing a Complaint

  • Complaints alleging a violation of the Society’s Ethical Principles and Code of Ethics on the part of an IDSA member should be brought only in good faith and within a reasonable time of the conduct which is the subject of the complaint.
     
  • The allegations of the complaint must be made in writing, setting forth sufficient detail and specificity as to the Article(s) alleged to have been violated and the conduct alleged to be in violation of the same, so as to permit IDSA’s Ethics Committee to determine if the complaint has merit and meets the requirements for further review and consideration. The complaint must be accompanied by any known and relevant supporting documentation.

 

Initial Review

  • Upon receipt of the complaint, the Ethics Committee will review the same to determine if it states a viable and supported claim. 

If the Ethics Committee determines the complaint lacks merit or is insufficient to set forth a violation of the Ethical Principles or Code of Ethics, the Committee may, in its sole discretion, dismiss the complaint and notify the complaining party in writing of the dismissal and the reasons for the dismissal. 

​Complaints deemed harassing, retaliatory, and/or lacking good faith will not be considered, with the party filing such complaint being subject to disciplinary action by the Society’s Board of Directors

  • If the complaint is deemed sufficient, the party filing the complaint and the party against whom the complaint is directed will be notified of the same in writing, with a copy of the complaint provided to the party who is the subject of the allegations.

The party who is the subject of the allegations of a good faith claim will be provided with thirty (30) days to respond to the complaint in writing, including any relevant supporting documents. Such response will be provided to the members of the Ethics Committee and must include a statement as to whether the responding party wishes the Ethics Committee to consider the complaint solely on the papers (complaint and written response) or whether he or she seeks an in-person, video, or telephonic hearing before the Ethics Committee. The response to the complaint should include all facts and documentation relevant to the responding party defense of the complaint.

Investigation

  • Upon receipt of the complaint and response, the Ethics Committee will investigate the complaint, including, if necessary, interviews with the parties to the complaint and any identified supporting witnesses. Such investigation will be completed within sixty (60) days of receipt of the complaint and response. Additional time may be permitted where the Ethics Committee determines in good faith that such time is required to ensure a full and fair review.
  • Where a hearing has been requested, such in-person, video, or telephonic hearing will be conducted within thirty (30) days of completion of the investigation on a date mutually acceptable to the Committee members and the parties. While each party may appear and present their respective positions, legal counsel shall not be permitted to attend or participate.

Consideration and Findings

  • Within thirty (30) days of completion of its investigation, and where no in-person, video, or telephonic hearing has been requested by the responding party, the Ethics Committee will meet to confer and review the matter and issue its written findings, including, where appropriate, any sanctions, and provide the same to both the complaining party and the party who is the subject of the complaint. Such consideration of the results of the investigation will be conducted by the Ethics Committee via in-person, video, or telephonic meeting to ensure a full and frank exchange of views. Upon submission of the written finding of the Ethics Committee, the matter will be deemed closed.
     
  • Where an in-person, video, or telephonic hearing has been requested by the responding party, within thirty (30) days of completion of the hearing, the Committee will render its decision in writing, providing a copy to each party. The decision of the Committee shall be by majority finding of its members and shall be binding upon all parties. Sanctions to be imposed, if any, will be at the sole and reasonable discretion of the members of the Ethics Committee and will be set forth in the written decision.

Appeals

Where sanctions are imposed by the Ethics Committee, the party against whom the sanctions are directed may appeal the nature and scope of the sanctions in writing to the Society’s Board of Directors. The Board will consider the appeal at its next scheduled meeting, or at a Special Meeting called for that purpose. The decision of the Board on such matter shall be binding upon the party undertaking such appeal. The Board shall not undertake a review of the underlying findings of the Ethics Committee that gave rise to the sanctions. 

Record Keeping

A complete copy of the complaint, response, notices, and all supporting documents, including the findings of the Ethics Committee, shall be maintained in a file opened by IDSA staff and retained for a period of one (1) year, at which time it will be discarded. The contents of the file will be maintained as confidential to the extent possible.

Previous Code of Ethics

Recognizing that industrial designers affect the quality of life in our increasingly independent and complex society, and that responsible, ethical decision-making often requires conviction, courage, and ingenuity in today's competitive business context: We, the members of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), will endeavor to meet the standards set forth in this code, and strive to support and defend one another in doing so.

 

Fundamental Ethical Principles 

We will uphold and advance the integrity of our profession by:​

  1. Supporting one another in achieving our goals of maintaining high professional standards and levels of competence, and honoring commitments we make to others.
  2. Being honest and fair in serving the public, our clients, employers, peers, employees and students regardless of gender, race, creed, ethnic origin, age, disability or sexual orientation.
  3. Striving to maintain sufficient knowledge of relevant current events and trends so as to be able to assess the economic and environmental effects of our decisions.
  4. Using our knowledge and skill for the enrichment of human well-being, present and future.
  5. Supporting equality of rights under the law and opposing any denial or abridgement of equal rights by the United States or by any individual state on account of gender, race, creed, ethnic origin, age, disability or sexual orientation.

 

Articles of Ethical Practice

Article I

We are responsible to the public for their safety, and their economic and general well-being is our foremost professional concern. We will participate only in projects we judge to be ethically sound and in conformance with pertinent legal regulations; we will advise our clients and employers when we have serious reservations concerning projects we have been assigned.

Article II

We will provide our employers and clients with original and innovative design service of high quality; by serving their interests as faithful agents; by treating privileged information with discretion; by communicating effectively with their appropriate staff members; by avoiding conflicts of interest; and by establishing clear contractual understandings regarding obligations of both parties. Only with agreement of all concerned will we work on competing product lines simultaneously.

Article III

We will compete fairly with our colleagues by building our professional reputation primarily on the quality of our work; by issuing only truthful, objective and non-misleading public statements and promotional materials; by respecting competitors' contractual relationships with their clients; and by commenting only with candor and fairness regarding the character of work of other industrial designers.

Article IV

We will be responsible to our employees by facilitating their professional development insofar as possible; by establishing clear contractual understandings; by maintaining safe and appropriate work environments; by properly crediting work accomplished; and by providing fair and adequate compensation for salary and overtime hours.

Article V

We will be responsible to design education by holding as one of our fundamental concerns the education of design students; by advocating implementation of sufficiently inclusive curricula and requiring satisfactory proficiency to enable students to enter the profession with adequate knowledge and skills; by providing opportunities for internships (and collaboratives) with and observation of practicing designers; by respecting students' rights to ownership of their designs; and by fairly crediting them for work accomplished.

Article VI

We will advance the interests of our profession by abiding by this code; by providing a forum within the Society for the ongoing review of ethical concerns; and by publishing, as appropriate, interpretations of this Code.