Below are definitions of ethics and morals from various sources.

Summarized definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary are as follows:

ethic, n.

1. The science of morals; the department of study concerned with the principles of human duty

2. The moral principles or system of a particular leader or school of thought

3. The moral principles by which a person is guided

4. The rules of conduct recognized in certain associations or departments of human life

moral, adj.

1. Of or relating to human character or behaviour considered as good or bad; of or relating to the distinction between right and wrong, or good and evil, in relation to the actions, desires or character of responsible human beings; ethical

2. Of a person, a person’s conduct, etc.: morally good, virtuous; conforming to standards of morality

To ensure a well researched definition was achieved, additional sources were consulted for definitions of ethics and morals.


A system of moral principles and/or rules of conduct that center on the difference between “right” and “wrong” (Visual Dictionary of Typography, 2010, p.95).

Ethics defines the elements essential to human well-being and proposes principles to be used as guidelines for generating an ethical culture. Ethics also refers to the specific values, standards, rules, and agreements people adopt for conducting their lives (Washington Ethical Society, 2012).

Ethics is a system of moral principles (BBC, 2013).

Moral philosophy / Moral principles (Good: An introduction to ethics in graphic design, 2006, p.10).


Concerned with goodness or badness of human character or behaviour, or with the distinction between right and wrong (Good: An introduction to ethics in graphic design, 2006, p.10).

Ethical Standards

Ethical Standards are more specific goals to which design professionals should aspire in professional performance and behaviour (Academy of Design Professionals, 2013).

Go to next section: Source of ethics

Academy of Design Professionals, 2013. Code of professional conduct. [online] Available at: [Accessed 8th March 2013].

Ambrose, G. and Harris, P., 2010. The Visual Dictionary of Typography. Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.

BBC, 2013. Ethics – Introduction to ethics. [online] Available at: [Accessed 7th March 2013].

Robert, L., 2006. Good: An introduction to ethics in Graphic Design. Switzerland: AVA Publishing SA.

Washington Ethical Society, 2013. What does “ethics” mean? [online] Available at: [Accessed 31st April 2013].


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