Your role as a designer is to leave the world in a better state than you found it. You have a responsibility to design work that helps move humanity forward and helps us, as a species, to not only enjoy our time on Earth, but to evolve.
And to design is to take purpose into account — as my friend Jared Spool says: design is the rendering of intent. You can’t separate an object’s function from its intent. You cannot critique it, you cannot understand it, and you cannot appreciate something without thinking about its intent.
A couple thoughts come to mind:
Roger Ebert’s thinking that evaluating a movie requires consideration of whether or not it achieved what it set out to do.
In his review of The Manson Family, Ebert gave the film three stars for achieving what it set out to do, but admitted that did not count as a recommendation per se.
Steve Jobs on design:
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.