RGD responds to inaccuracies surrounding 'CGD' certification
President Lionel Gadoury RGD has issued a formal response to recent questions and concerns posted on the RGD - Association of Registered Graphic Designers Group on LinkedIn. The cause for confusion was a GDC ad in the most recent issue of Applied Arts Magazine, stating that "CGD is the only certification mark for graphic and communication designers in Canada."



Lionel's response, posted to LinkedIn, is as follows:


"Graphic designers across Canada have a choice of professional design associations and certification options, despite any misleading claims to the contrary. RGD, based in Ontario, is often cited as the leading model; founded in 1996 when four Ontario chapters of the GDC took decisive action and achieved recognition by an Act of government. This milestone achievement was celebrated at the time by the GDC with its intent being to see that “the move to professional accreditation achieved by Ontario is carried province by province throughout Canada”. See Applied Arts Magazine article from July/August 1996.

The RGD Examination Board, established in 1999, is not specific to Ontario, as it was envisioned from the outset that the formal examination process and professional designation “Registered Graphic Designer”, and the post-nominal honorific “RGD” would be extended across Canada. Since 1999, the Exam Board has administered the Registered Graphic Designers Qualification Examination.
Seventeen years on, RGD’s approach, building on the collective input of many of the most respected leaders throughout the graphic design world, is internationally acknowledged by leading design organizations, including the AIGA, as a foremost example of a fair and functioning system.
RGD’s approach is aligned with other established professional groups and designations in accounting, finance, health care, engineering, project management and our sister design professions, architecture and interior design. Like RGD, all have formal written exams and well-established procedures for verifying and assessing credentials.
In December 2010, GDC announced to its members “We’re striving to make it easier for designers to join the GDC, and we’re encouraging them to fast-track their way to professional status.” Clearly, rather than actually working to raise standards, GDC’s motivation in announcing its new CGD designation was a bid to bolster its image and membership.
The resulting confusion in the marketplace between RGD and CGD designations is particularly damaging as it implies a change in standards equivalent or greater than RGD and GDC’s latest ad in Applied Arts, which states “CGD is the only certification mark for graphic and communication designers In Canada, is a further deception as to the true state of certification in Canada.
Since I’ve been President, RGD has strived for a better way forward: working cooperatively. For example, RGD is working closely with the Société des designers du Québec (SDGQ) to develop its own procedures for certification.
Today, RGD is a community of over 3,000 practising professionals and students who have met the respective qualifications for membership. All monies collected are invested directly back into continuous learning programs, advocacy and mentorship to benefit the entire industry. Initiatives include the annual DesignThinkers conference in Toronto, a biannual national survey of creative salaries, the new Social Good Design Awards, weekly webinars and much more.


I encourage anyone who is interested in real, constructive change to speak up and contact your respective professional organizations; public posturing is a poor substitute for the important dialogue that RGD has been calling for many years. Building value in a professional designation starts with meaningful standards and worthwhile programs, not bold pronouncements designed to deceive. Working collaboratively is the better way to raise recognition for the value design can deliver to business and the client communities we serve, from coast to coast to coast."


RGD welcomes any questions or thoughts on this issue. Please direct them to Hilary Ashworth, Executive Director, 1.888.274.3668 x 23, .