Why is Rory Kelly an RGD?


Art Director at Ogilvy CommonHealth in Toronto reflects on the value of RGD for continued learning, inspiration and memorable experiences with design heroes. 


I've always been fascinated with the area where business and art intersect. That fascination has compelled me to do many things, from pursuing a career in communication arts to reaching out to the great George Lois for an informal book signing (more on that later). It also compelled me to join RGD.


I'm relatively new to the RGD community, having been a member since December 2012; however my experience so far has been enriching and inspiring. In my short tenure I've had the opportunity to participate as a reviewer at HeadStart (now called Creative Directions) and also attended the incredibly inspiring DesignThinkers Conference.


I was first made aware of RGD as an advertising and design student at Humber College about 10 years ago. Following an enlightening presentation made by Hilary Ashworth to the students, I joined as a Student Member. My Student Membership allowed me to reach outside of my college experience to learn more about the industry, business and craft of design. It also provided me with opportunities to connect and interact with members of the industry I sought to join.


Fast forward to the present day and I can say one of the main reasons I'm an RGD is the chance to continue learning about and connecting with my industry. The range of events and resources available through RGD to members and non-members provide many opportunities for professionals and students to connect with, be inspired by, learn from and contribute to the industry that surrounds them.


Graphic design is – and I believe always will be – in a constant state of flux. Relentless change in technology, pop culture, fashion and the economy continue to shape and re-shape our profession. For me, RGD is a resource for information and insight that helps me to make sense of the industry as it evolves.


RGD also provides opportunities for me to be inspired and enriched by other members of the industry. Interaction with fellow designers is important.


Connecting and interacting with our peers, mentors and heroes isn’t exclusive to RGD Members; it’s something we should do no matter what our affiliations. As part of a trip to New York city a couple of years ago, I wanted to bring back something that reflected the city’s legendary advertising scene. Being particularly inspired by DT 2011 Speaker George Lois, I thought I would like to try and get a signed copy of his new book. I spent an hour or two figuring out how to contact him (and several more crafting a message outlining my proposal). I offered to drop the book off with a pen at reception to his office upon arriving to NYC and pick it up just before leaving. To my delight he responded almost immediately and generously offered to sign the book in person! What followed was a rare opportunity to meet with one of my design heroes and share a conversation that will likely inspire me for the rest of my life.


Whether it happens through attending DesignThinkers and (as another member so eloquently put it) having my mind blown, participating as a reviewer at HeadStart (and learning as much as the students do) or having a rare opportunity to sit and chat with a design hero like George Lois, I believe that the more we connect with each other, the better off we are, both professionally and personally.


To tell us what being an RGD Member means to you or to share an RGD story, email 


To find out more about becoming a Registered Graphic Designer, click here.