Retouchers Accord



Noun: an official agreement or treaty.

Synonyms: pact, treaty, agreement, settlement, deal "a peace accord"



This is where the Retouchers Accord lives—for you to discuss, debate, adapt, and hopefully adopt for yourself.

Nothing about image-making is straightforward—it’s part art, part technology, part psychology, and part alchemy. Decisions made about how much or how lightly an image is altered come from editors, casting agents, brand managers, post-production artists, makeup artists, retouchers, photographers, subjects (sometimes), and cultural norms.
By convening voices with different perspectives on retouching, we are bringing together a group to develop and frame an “oath” about how it should and shouldn’t happen.
The most successful oaths in history come from the hearts and minds of the people who eventually pledge to uphold them. We’re grateful for your help making this pledge a big step forward in bringing greater ethics and integrity to image-making.
Those that pledge to take the oath will be members of this “accord” and will join photographers, artists, beauty brands, media folks, professional photo editors and retouchers, celebrities, students and ordinary people in standing up for their awesome ethical responsibility to foster positive self image in the people who see their work.
Each aspect of the oath will be supplemented with tools that help members fulfill what they pledged to do. Things like software tutorials, advice on bringing up ethics in client relationships, and best practices will be available.
When the Retouchers Accord feels like it's accomplished what it needed to, we’re going to let it go – to live in the world. 
This initiative was inspired by the significant transformation The Designers Accord helped bring to more sustainable product designs, the accountability the Hippocratic oath brings to ethical medical practices, and our own explorations in creating a swimwear line . 

- Sarah Krasley,  Unreasonable Women (New York City, Spring 2016)






Taking inspiration from Valerie Casey's approach to The Designers Accord, we have created a social impact project to create, launch, and spread a voluntary Hippocratic oath for retouchers, photo editors, graphic designers, software tool makers, and brand managers who want to increase authenticity in the images seen in the media and in advertising.



We aim to create a singular oath for multiple people in the system and guidelines for different contributors. Image-makers who are participating in this project gain the following from membership:

Retouchers & Creative Agencies
Share best practices for more thoughtful retouching techniques and receive guidance on how to bring up lighter retouching with clients.
Share what can be done on a shoot to minimize significant retouching.
Learn from their users about meaningful new features that might do things like track and score manipulations.
Artists, Celebrities & Thought Leaders
Share perspectives on what being involuntarily retouched feels like, ways to build an accord in a successful way, and what we can learn from history.
Brands & Media Outlets
Discuss body dysmorphia and learn how their peers spec images in ways that appeal to a growing class of customers and readers.
Discuss ways to infuse ethics into post production course curriculum.



The Retouchers Accord is a project of Unreasonable Women, a NYC-based company that designs products, services, and workplace policies that empower women. 



To convene the conversations, structure useful debate when there is disagreement, create the oath, and roll out useful tools and guidance about the issues raised through this process. When it's evident that the conversation has moved past the need for the accord, we'll retire it or help it take a new form.



Sarah Krasley has over a decade of experience creating collaborative, consensus-based agreements. She spent seven years at Autodesk developing software tools to empower designers and engineers to consider more sustainable designs while they work in software. Prior to that she helped develop consensus-based standards for renewable energy that inform the US EPA’s definition of green power.

Our Advisory Board is comprised of subject matter experts and practice leaders in retouching, post-production, design education, photography, and editorial.



Sarah Krasley, Chair, Founder, Retouchers Accord
Valerie Casey, Founder, Designers Accord
Linn Edwards, Co-Founder, Feather Creative
Rosemary Ellis, Media and Branding Executive, Former EIC of Good Housekeeping
Piera Gerladi, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Refinery29
Claire Mysko, Executive Director of National Eating Disorder Association
Sara Ziff, Founder of the Models Alliance







From February 6 – February 28th, 2017 we opened up the draft of this voluntary oath for comments.

Our Advisory Board finalized the oath and we're letting individuals and companies become members of the Retouchers Accord.

Each member must take an oath and pay a sliding scale application fee (suggested $35) in order to join.



I Pledge To:

1. Practice authenticity, integrity, and empathy in image-making, in order to lead by example.   
2. Advance the understanding of healthy body image throughout the industry and in general public awareness. 
3. Fuel a dialogue about authenticity, social impact, and diversity with my clients and partners.
4. Continually build upon my knowledge of authentic retouching techniques.
5. Proudly share my membership in the Retouchers Accord.


Want more information on what went into the oath, who participated and how we arrived are these five elements for the pledge?

Get our Symposium 1 Outcomes Document that gives the back story and takes the pulse of image-makers working today. 





Membership is open to all interested companies and individuals who wish to take the pledge and take meaningful steps to make good on their promise. We'll check in regularly to find out how things are going and if your experience is a best practice from which other members can learn.

To join the Retouchers Accord, fill out the form below. When your membership is accepted, you'll receive a logo file, logo use guidelines, and stock language about your membership for your website and for press releases. You'll join the list of members below and will gain access to tools and member-only events and resource guides.

Note: We are charging a one-time, non-refundable, sliding scale application fee to cover administrative costs ($.50 - $35). If this fee prohibits you from joining, write us and we'll work something out!



It takes guts to be the first ones to the party. These leading companies are the first to stand up for body confidence and authenticity in image-making through membership in the Retouchers Accord.



  • Badger & Winters Group


  • X Swimwear

Graphic Designers

  • Lance Green Design




  • Refinery29


  • Lara Zeini

  • Matthew Borowick

Post Production Studios

  • Feather Creative
  • Ten Studio
  • Kelly Kuhl

Writers, Thinkers, Speakers

  • Kathryn Saunderson






Curated a symposium about manipulation of images and created an influence map to form a draft oath. [1-17-17]

Gathered comments about the oath and finalized it by early March. [2-7-17 - 2-28-17]


Formally launched the
Retouchers Accord in Spring, 2017 with first adopters. [3-7-17]

Allow companies and individuals to join and develop protocol for logo use and language to describe their commitment. 

Develop toolkits and resources for Retouchers Accord members and continue the conversation around body image. 


Incorporate the Retouchers Accord as a 501c3. 

Expand the accord to have a global reach. (2018)


Launch software and app features that reward creative professionals and individuals for showing themselves without significant manipulation. (2018)


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