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Critical Design Response

As a graphic designer, we have to consider what type of designer we want to be, to consider our ethics, our morals, realising the power and influence we have in the world. Would you design for a cigarette company knowing the devastating effects of smoking just because it’s good money? It is morally and ethically wrong, yet we currently live in a difficult world where turning down money is getting harder and harder. Considering the current world we live in while also considering this idea of graphic designers having an immense power to influence and persuade audiences. Graphic designers should be using their powers to create good, create change, it is our obligation.


The problem with having an attitude towards potentially morally wrong design is that, as much as that is important to always design for good, sadly it does not always pay the bills. Do you consistently design for good regardless of the self-sacrifice or do you sell your soul to the devil to keep a roof over your head?

This idea led me to think of a recent Twitter thread by graphic designer Craig Oldham, a prominent and widely known graphic designer and author. The thread discusses the recent Burger King rebrand by JKR. After the launch of the new Burger King rebrand, there was an eruption of graphic designers across social media showing their love and absolute awe of the rebrand.


This tweet really resonated with me, It truly made me again consider my role as a graphic designer and the influence we have. But not only that but what work do I want to put out into the world, how do I want to be perceived by others? Oldham is directly criticising the design community, not the quality of the rebrand, asking if he is still allowed to be ‘Part of the gang’ almost, because he completely disagrees that a rebrand of a fast-food chain is something to be celebrated. Which I fully agree with, I am not discounting the great work that the designers of this rebrand achieved, but simply posing the question to the design community, is this really what we should be celebrating? As it is no myth that fast food companies play a major part in global climate change & human health issues, due to the nature of their business.

For the critical design response, the idea is to take the Burger King visual identity, the playful look and feel of it and reapply it to climate change in an animated video. By showing this visual identity placed onto a completely different context (from fast-food chain to climate change), the aim is to show the audience that just because something looks good, does not mean it does good. It will celebrate the great work that the designers of the rebrand did, but with a backhanded satyrical approach and tone to it with the aim of asking the design community to think more critically about the work they celebrate and think beyond what the work simply looks like.



It needs to made clear, this project holds no financial gain to myself or others, it is simply a celebration of how incredible designers can make anything appear good. Its sole purpose is to pose a question, start a conversation, turn some heads, make you laugh or piss you off. Enjoy!


Studio Knight is the design practice of award-winning freelance brand & motion designer Jez Knight Harris. Working with clients across Wales and internationally.

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