HeadStart 2014 connected students with RGD professionals through portfolio reviews, panels and presentations


RGD's annual career conference is the Association's largest event for emerging designers and students. Attendees have the opportunity to visit leading creative studios, receive constructive feedback from experienced professional members of RGD and connect with prospective employers and fellow creatives from across the province. 


Following a day of tours and presentations with 'Windows Into The World of Design', attendees gathered at the Toronto Reference Library to explore topics relating to launching a career in the creative industry. Panels and presentations covered best practices for an effective portfolio, the future of work, managing client relationships, creative inspiration, strategic networking (both online and off), how to get hired and more. 



Top 5 tips for crafting a professional portfolio

1. "Your portfolio is an organic creature. Feed it, morph it, let it grow."

Barry Quinn RGD, Juniper Park

2. "Make sure you can explain your process. I don't care as much about the actual work in a portfolio as I do about how well a designer can explain the 'why' behind their designs."

Stussy Tschudin RGD, Forge Media + Design

3. "Think of your portfolio as a story of you. What you're capable of, what you're interested in."

Russell Gibbs RGD, Russell Gibbs Design

4. "Have an opinion, take ownership over your creative style, but recognize the difference between confidence and arrogance."

Marc Caringal Prov RGD, Young & Rubicam

5. "Surround yourself with creative people, learn from those around you and take advantage of chances to improve."

Lisa Zych Prov RGDMonnet Design



Top 10 tips for a successful career in the creative industry: 

1. "Don't be afraid to reach out. Employers appreciate enthusiasm. It's okay to be persistent. Just make sure you do it in a nice way."

Karen Satok RGD, Sputnik Design

2. "Being engaged in other things makes your work more engaging. Be more than just a designer, explore other interests and diversify how you spend your time."

Julian Brown RGD, On The Chase!

3. "Fight for an idea because you think it's the right choice for the project, not just because it was your idea."

Gary Ludwig RGD, Hark Ideas

4. "Business savvy and an entrepreneurial spirit will help you become an expert in the industry rather than someone who just 'makes things look good."

Simon Burn RGD, Right Hand Drive

5. "Find a mentor. Figure out who you'd like to have as an advisor in the industry and chances are you'll get a lot of valuable advice. People want to help, they aren't likely to say no. Don't struggle through it alone if you don't have to."

James Wilson RGD, Overdrive Design

6. "Be professional, be prepared, be punctual and understand the client's business objectives. It will strengthen your value in their eyes and could lead to future opportunities to work with them again." 

Tina Mackenzie RGD, City of Mississauga

7. "It's important to establish credibility before you advise clients on thinking outside the box. You wouldn't let a new hairdresser try something bold on your first visit. Establish trust first, let them know that you're listening and that you have their best interests in mind."

Gary Ludwig RGD, Hark Ideas

8. "Develop ideas, not layouts. In the future, ideas will be what takes our work to the next level."

Scott Christie RGD, Interbrand

9. "There are no bad ideas. Don't be afraid to put something out there. Trust your intuition."

Jim Ryce RGD, Jim Ryce Design & Direction

10. "Under-valuing your work can get you into trouble. Don't work for free, don't sell yourself short. Recognize the value of what you have to offer."

Wendy Gray RGD, Gravity Inc.


On Twitter: 

@brittdesign21: So much great advice and insight to the design industry at HeadStart #rgdHS

@MartineCormier‬: Had so much fun at HeadStart so grateful that industry professionals took time out of their day to talk to us students #rgdHS #grateful

‪@JServii‬: Home finally, such a successful day at RGD's HeadStart, nothing but knowledge and positivity #rgdhs #Toronto #design

@lihoujazmin‬: A huge thank you to @RGD for a a great event today - I learned more today than I can process in one sitting! #rgdHS

@brittanyrob21‬: Thank you @RGD for the amazing 2 days at HeadStart - leaving with a new perspective on #graphicdesign #rgdHS #toronto


From the reviewers: 

‪@pcwdesign‬: Had fun reviewing portfolios @RGD HeadStart. Always nice to see upcoming talent and give back to the students #rgdHS
@laugigi‬: Great morning reviewing fantastic portfolios & partaking in panel on career mistakes. #rgdHS always reinvigorates.
@RHDcreative‬: Had a great time at #rgdHS today, what a great creative industry event.

‪@EBargenda‬: @RGD thanks for the great day yesterday at #rgdHS; always love helping out students w/ their books. #toronto #graphicdesign

See more tweets from the event by searching #rgdHS


View photos from HeadStart 2014 on RGD's Flickr page

For more information on HeadStart, click here.