I joined RGD as a student member in 2009, when I started at OCAD University. I was excited at the prospect of connecting with other students starting out in the same field and to gain more knowledge about the graphic design industry.
The first event I attended was the HeadStart Conference (now called Creative Directions). Walking into the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon at the Toronto Reference Library was somewhat nerve-racking. It was my first big leap towards getting my name out there in the field. Nerves aside, it was an unbelievable feeling to be surrounded by hundreds of fellow students and working professionals in the same industry. The seminars and panel discussions were thought provoking and provided useful and relevant knowledge about the graphic design industry, including how to build a strong social platform and what employers look for when hiring students out of school. The portfolio reviews with working professionals were eye opening and provided valuable insight for understanding which of my pieces needed refining and how to best verbally and physically present my work.
Attending the Studio Open Doors over my four years as a Student Member was also invaluable. Getting an inside look into dozens of design firms and advertising agencies across Toronto was incredible. I got to flip through different design pieces the agencies had worked on, get a tour around the spaces and, most importantly, introduce myself and exchange business cards.
I learned right off the bat how important it is to build connections in this industry. I built my LinkedIn page and Twitter account and joined the RGD Student Committee as a Student Representative. I started to build a social platform and worked to become an ambassador within my design community.
I am thankful to RGD for providing the opportunity for me to learn and grow as a graphic designer. It has been wonderful to have a community portal for students and working professionals in the industry to connect, learn and inspire one another. Now that I’m a Provisional Member and a working professional myself, I look forward to continue learning and growing within my field through RGD.