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NewsSept 19, 2023

New section on cultural appropriation is being drafted for the RGD’s Code of Ethics

Illustration of woman with monocular seeing iceberg in distance Illustration: Sam Island for The Business of Graphic Design Handbook

The RGD is in the process of drafting a new section for the Code of Ethics that relates to cultural appropriation in design.

Now a unified document with DesCan and SDGQ, the Code of Ethics provides a framework of rules that Members must follow along with recommended best practices. Current sections in the Code pertain to working with clients, responsibilities to society and the environment, competitions and fees, intellectual property and more.

Members of the RGD’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee have been working on the new section since July.

“Adding a section about cultural appropriation to the Code of Ethics is long overdue, and I’m thrilled to see it in motion,” says Nicola Hamilton RGD, the RGD’s President. “We’ve received questions and concerns from Members over the years about cultural appropriation in design, and having these rules and best practices in place will provide some much-needed guidance and support. Our hope is that this new section ensures that RGD Members are able to contribute to the diverse world of design while also safeguarding the rights and cultures of Indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups.”

“Cultural appropriation has real and harmful consequences, and it’s important that the RGD actively sets precedents for designers to create work in an ethical manner,” adds Ashley Tomlinson Provisional RGD, who is leading the group working on this initiative. “I’m looking forward to seeing how the new section serves as a guide for Members to make responsible and culturally sensitive choices in their design practices.”

Once finalized and approved by the RGD’s Board of Directors, the new section will be presented at the Annual General Meeting in April 2024 for ratification.

RGD Members who would like to be involved in the current writing and review process are invited to email Rebecca at

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