David Berman (graphic designer)

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David B. Berman
Born David Baruch Berman
November 30
Ottawa, Canada
Occupation author, graphic designer
Nationality Canadian
Citizenship Canadian
Alma mater Carleton University
Subject social responsibility, environment, design, ethics
Notable works Do Good Design

David Berman (R.G.D., CGD, FGDC) is a Canadian communication designer and author, Fellow and Ethics Chair of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, vice-president/treasurer/Sustainability Chair of Icograda, President of the first elected board of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario, and an international keynote speaker.


David Berman was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

In high school, David created and produced The Apprentice magazine which was distributed in four countries. While training at the University of Waterloo in computer science and at Carleton University in psychology and typography, he became involved with the student press and redesigned The Charlatan. David worked in the Canadian federal government as a computer systems analyst before turning his hobby of graphic design into his career. For one year, he taught typography at Algonquin College. He has worked extensively in the adaptation of printed materials for electronic distribution, including Web design and software interface development.

Early in his career, David developed a lasting interest in plain writing and information design. His work included award-winning projects for the City of Ottawa, the Ontario government, and Canada's federal government, as well as notable projects involving plain design, accessibility and knowledge management principles.

As a graphic designer, consultant, public speaker, trainer and typographer, David is a senior consultant in information architecture and communications strategy. For ten years in the 1990s, David was Vice-President of Herrera Berman Communications. Since then he is President of David Berman Communications.

Since 1984, David worked to establish a new code of ethics for graphic designers which embraced social responsibility for graphic designers. The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada ratified his draft nationally in May 2000, and it is now used as a template for national graphic design organizations by Icograda, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations. This code was used as template for the code of ethics adopted by Grafill no:Grafill (the Norwegian association of graphic designers) in 2008. His work on implementing codes of ethics for national professional designers associations has spread internationally, including work in the USA (AIGA), Norway (Grafill), and Indonesia (adgi). Grafill made him a Lifelong Member for this work.

He served as the president of the first elected board of the Association of Registered Graphic Designers of Ontario, the Americas' first accredited graphic design organization (established by an Act of the Government of Ontario's Legislature), from 1997 to 1999. He drafted the association's constitution and Rules of Professional Conduct, and authored Ontario's certification examination section on ethics and professional responsibility.

In 1999, the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada named him a Fellow (the second youngest to have achieved the country's highest professional standing in this field) for his work on the Code of Ethics, accreditation and other national issues.

In 2000, he was elected Vice President Ethics of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, and is currently National Ethics Chair.

David is dedicated to realizing graphic design's potential to help improve the human condition and the global environment. Since 2000, he has traveled to over 18 countries, keynoting at design conferences and universities, and presenting seminars on topics such as making Web sites more accessible for people with disabilities. He speaks about the important role designers can play in creating a more just world: he argues that rather than applying their skills to help organizations mislead their audiences, they can help enhance social conditions around the world. He also argues that global branded marketing campaigns directed at Developing World populations cause an uptake in a consumer-based lifestyle which is the largest current driver of environmental degradation in the World today.

In 2005, Berman was elected to the board of Icograda, and currently serves as Vice-President and Treasurer, and re-elected for additional terms in 2007 and 2009, at which time became Sustainability Chair.

In 2008, Berman was named a Regional Ambassador for INDEX:.[1]

In January 2009, Berman's book on design and social responsibility, Do Good Design, was published by AIGA Press and Peachpit Press. Chinese edition was released: October 27, 2009.

In April 2009, Berman was named a Regional Representative for North America for the World Summit Awards on e-content, a UNESCO initiative.

In October 2009, Berman accepted an appointment as a High Level Adviser of the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development (UNDESA-GAID) on how design can be used to help fulfill the Millennium Development Goals.

In 2010, his book, Do Good Design, had editions added in Korean and Indonesian.

In May 2011, Berman was appointed an Editorial Board member for POOL Magazine in Pune, India.

In Fall 2011, Berman was made a special lifetime member of Grafill, the Norwegian society of designers, for his work in establishing a code of ethics for the designers and illustrators of Norway.

David is the uncle of the American musician and singer/songwriter, Sam Shelman, generally considered the creator of Ceramic Pigs. He is also the god-uncle of Storm and Sapphire, generally considered the greatest cats ever to live.

He is a National Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, the International Federation for Professional Speakers, and Meeting Planners International.

Selected publications[edit]

  • Do Good Design with foreword by Erik Spiekermann, AIGA Press/Pearson/Peachpit[2]/New Riders (book, 2009)
  • A New Format For Canadian Legislation: White paper by David Berman, commissioned by Government of Canada on plain design's role in republishing the laws of Canada under a more accessible format.[3]
  • ArabAd Magazine: "Seven Habits of Highly Effective Web Sites" by David Berman (English).[4]

Recent career[edit]

Berman's speaking and judging engagements since 2000 have taken him on a path that includes Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Jordan, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macau, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the United Nations.

Berman currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

Selected articles[edit]

Berman's thoughts and work have been featured in the Globe and Mail, Sydney Herald-Sun, Ottawa Citizen, Jakarta Post, Kitchissipi Times, and Financial Post newspapers; Applied Arts, ArabAd, Communication Arts, Design, Designboom, Desktop, DesignEdge, Eye, Graphis, Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, How, POOL, and Marketing magazines; as well as CCTV China TV, ABC, WTOC, and CBC Radio.

David's bi-weekly blog with Design Edge Canada.[5]

"GDC Member Elected to Icograda Board" and "Canada Commended for Contributions to Icograda" from the GDC National Newsletter Fall/Winter 2005.[6]

Financial Post Interview with David Berman: "Don't scrimp on company's e-presence" (English).[7]

Culture.ca interview with David Berman (English).[8]

"Advocating Ethical Design" Centre for Digital Ethics and Policy.[9]

RGD Ontario article about David Berman (English).[10]

Klik Magazine (Slovenia) "Everything is in Values": Interview with David Berman on the European Magdalena Festival and social responsibility (English).[11]

Applied Arts magazine (Canada): Cover story interview with David Berman, April 2003 (English).[12]

David Berman's mission statement (English).[13]


  • CBS WTOC-TV interview with David Berman in Savannah, Georgia: "SCAD Plans Revitalization of Waters Avenue", April 2012 (English).[14]
  • Berman interviewed by 36point radio on design and social responsibility, July 2010.[15]
  • Berman speaks with Alan Saunders on design and social responsibility on ByDesign, on ABC Australian national radio, August 12, 2009.[16]
  • Berman speaks on design and social responsibility at State of Design Festival, Sydney, Australia, July 2009.
  • Berman speaks on design and social responsibility at Hong Kong Design Week, January 2006.[17]


  1. ^ "INDEX: Design To Improve Life: Regional Ambassadors". Retrieved 2009-04-14. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Do Good Design: How Design Can Change Our World". Peachpit. 2008-12-16. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  3. ^ "Toward a New Format for Canadian Legislation" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  4. ^ "Seven habits of Highly Effective Websites". Davidberman.com. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "GDC Member Elected to Icograda Board". Davidberman.com. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  7. ^ "Don't scrimp on company's e-presence". Davidberman.com. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  8. ^ [2][dead link]
  9. ^ "Advocating Ethical Design Center for Digital Ethics and Policy | Loyola University Chicago". Digitalethics.org. 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  10. ^ "RGD | Social Good Design Awards (So Good) |". Rgdontario.com. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  11. ^ "Intervju_Berman_Eng.Indd" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  12. ^ "To tell the truth...". Davidberman.com. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  13. ^ "David Berman's Mission Statement". Davidberman.com. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  14. ^ Bender, Alex. "SCAD plans revitalization of Waters Ave. - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports". Wtoc.com. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  15. ^ "The Reflex Blue Show, Season 3, Episode 10: David Berman Interview - 36 Point is home of the graphic design podcast The Reflex Blue Show". 36 Point. 2010-07-28. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  16. ^ "Design ethics - By Design - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  17. ^ "Berman on Design And Social Responsibility in Hong Kong". YouTube. 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2014-03-10.