Now is a great time to earn the Registered Graphic Designer designation to benefit from the professional advantage that comes with being a certified member of a credible, legislated professional organization.
1. Increase recognition for graphic design as a profession
By becoming a Registered Graphic Designer and using your designation, you're signalling to business and the public that graphic design is a true profession with defined standards and best practices that you and your professional peers adhere to. Through publications such as RGD's 7th biannual national CreativeEarners survey of graphic design salaries and billing practices and the Business of Graphic Design Handbook, both with new editions to be released in 2014, the Association continues to provide relevant and up-to-date resources that strengthen the creative community.
Michael Kelar RGD explains his reasons for being an RGD, "To help support the protection of designers' rights and the mandate of building awareness and value of our industry within the larger business community."
2. Add your voice to RGD's advocacy efforts against unpaid speculative creative and more
Our industry is inundated with requests for free work through contests, RFPs with spec components and uneducated buyers who ask for it because they don't understand or value the design process. Through the Association and our Rules of Professional Conduct, certified RGDs stand united against harmful and unethical business practices, and with the backing of a professional, legislated body.
Ian Chalmers RGD explains, "We defend our stance by referring clients and prospects to RGD's “No Spec” policy statement. These, and other principles, aid my design studio in upholding a set of beliefs that are backed by an entire profession."
3. Amplify promotional efforts
As a certified RGD, you receive exclusive opportunities to showcase yourself within a searchable Designer Directory by submitting Case Studies illustrating your design process, and by volunteering to speak at events. Members also have access to RFPs published to our Members-only section. By posting an RGD logo on your website and including the RGD in your LinkedIn profile, you equate yourself with other certified professionals such as CAs and APRs.
4. Network with clients through RGD
RGD offers opportunities to connect with clients, either by inviting them to webinars or to attend a special client-focused session at DesignThinkers. Association one-pagers such as Why Hire an RGD? and What do Designers Charge? are also valuable resources to pass on to prospective clients and include in proposals to help educate them on how to work effectively with a professional designer.
Caroline Bruckner RGD says, "The 'Bring a Client to A DesignThinkers Talk' idea was a great opportunity for client relationship building and is something I would definitely take advantage of again. It also provided a chance to explain my designation to someone in the business community and help communicate the value of the graphic design profession."
5. Save on DesignThinkers.
Every November, the DesignThinkers Conference attracts over 1,500 creative professionals from around the world to hear from a line-up of visionary speakers on the important trends, technologies and issues impacting creativity, communication and marketing. RGDs attend at significantly discounted rates.
Erin Boyce puts it best: "My annual trips to DesignThinkers are still a highlight of my year (relishing both the professional inspiration and restful kid-free nights in hotel beds!)"
6. Stay current with RGD continuing education
RGD's free weekly webinars cover a variety of professional development topics and are a great source of inspiration, information and connection to your community. All are recorded and archived for viewing by Members at any time, from any computer.
As Victor Szeto says, "Free access to the weekly webinars, which cover diverse topics, helps me and my colleagues stay actively engaged and up-to-speed with industry insights throughout the year."
8. Stand out as an accredited designer anywhere in the world
RGD is a member of The International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda) and has been recognized by international media for its advocacy initiatives and ongoing efforts to connect creatives from across the globe through Canada's largest graphic design conference. RGDs are recognized across Canada and beyond as qualified professionals who have the right skills and experience for high-level industry positions.
As Joanna Wiebe RGD states, "I have continued to maintain my membership even though I have been in the US since 2005 because I believe in the concept of accreditation for designers and want to support it. My designation has also been a selling point for me when finding new positions, such as my current role as Senior User Interface designer at Amazon."
9. Make a difference for the next generation
As a mentor or portfolio reviewer for emerging designers, or as a Committee or Board member, certified RGDs have exclusive opportunities to give back and help strengthen the graphic design community for the future.
Chris Asimoudis RGD says, "One source of inspiration that I look forward to each year is the HeadStart Conference. It's a great opportunity to be inspired by excellent young talent and to provide helpful input for the next generation of designers."
10. Join today as an Affiliate for instant savings and more opportunities for participation.
Joining as an Affiliate is a great way to receive many benefits of RGD membership, including 100% off the Exam Application Fees. Other benefits include two free magazine subscriptions; posting of 3 jobs for free on the RGD website; access to webinars and a range of supplier discounts including fonts.com, GoodLife, Shutterstock, SunLife Insurance and Swipe. For details, go to http://www.rgd.ca/affiliate.php.
For more information about earning the RGD designation, visit the RGD Exam Board website or email