New Voices - The Importance of Designing Responsibly

September 08, 2017

Mikaila Wenker

Mikaila Wenker

In a new series on the JRA blog, we ask our co-ops, the future leaders of the themed entertainment industry, to share their thoughts on topics of interest in the design field.

To kick things off, Mikaila Wenker, a graphic design student at the University of Cincinnati, discusses two critical components of a company’s social responsibility policy: developing the next generation of talent, and creating experiences that all can enjoy.


I think of social responsibility as being an ingrained aspect to any company or individual. It’s the idea that all actions should respect and benefit a business and the community around it. I think responsibility is a good word for it because it really is almost an expectation as opposed to a decision.

Amplifying New Voices

An obvious example (and the most impactful to me) would be a company participating in a university’s co-op program. I find this act to be a big gesture towards social responsibility, because the participating company is quite literally training the future of the field. In doing so, they not only benefit themselves, but they also benefit the clients looking for designers to transform their visions into realities.

Co-ops should not take these work-study opportunities for granted. These companies are going above and beyond to ‘pay it forward’, so to speak. Reaching out and encouraging co-ops like me is definitely not a requirement, but it is something smart companies do anyway because they know the positive impact it makes and the ripple effect that strengthens the design community.

Experiences for All

The next example is far more general but it was certainly an eye opening aspect to design that struck me in both of my co-op semesters – the importance of designing for accessibility. Now, I realize that adherence to ADA guidelines is the law, but in design it really starts at Day One. Although an often-overlooked detail, it has really been something I’ve taken account of this semester. To me, it has really stood as a proud example of always keeping in mind the audience you are designing for – which is like the golden rule to me. Obviously, it shows social responsibility because it ensures that no matter the physical setback an individual may have, they can still enjoy a design like anyone else.

An investment in the talent of the future, and an eye for inclusive design, are the hallmarks of a socially responsible company, and important actions for ensuring the successful future of the industry.

Tags: Blog N Learn , JRA Team

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