what's my line?
A few weeks ago a friend of mine who is a print designer asked me if I'd have a problem taking a job from Phillip Morris. It was a tough question. He had been offered a project and wasn't sure what to do. My best answer was really that it would probably depend upon the specifics of the project.
I'm in the middle of a project now for a major big-box retailer that has probably the worst image of any retailer in the country. Technically, I'm working for a company that's working for another company that's working for the retailer. That may make it seem better, but I'm not sure if it is. Now, the job in no way is doing anything to claim that they're something that they aren't. But I have to say, the reaction from friends when I tell them what I'm working on is never anything like "oh wow, that's great".
When I did the gig in February for NBC Olympics, one of my jobs was to do the on-air packaging for the "ExxonMobil Energy of the Games" segment of the broadcast. Is that any worse? Why did I feel okay doing that, when I wouldn't have been comfortable doing a spot that said "ExxonMobil, friend of the environment"? I would not accept a job from Fox News Channel (it doesn't look like they've ever hired a designer anyway), yet I would jump at the chance to do some work for the Fuel network, which has some of the best design out there. Fuel is owned by Fox. Is there a difference?
As a consumer, its a little easier. I don't eat at places like Cracker Barrel or Wendy's (or is it okay now to eat at Wendy's since Dave Thomas is no longer around?), but, oops, I bought gas at Chevron the other day. Its hard to keep track. I recycle my plastic and glass and paper, but I drive a 1998 pickup. I give a fair amount to charity, but I don't give to every worthy charity that asks. Where do you draw the line?
My best answer is that I do what I can, but I'm far from perfect. I try to be responsible, and hopefully the good outweighs the bad. But am I only walking the line?