Reviewers share advice on how to prepare for RGD's Creative Directions Conference
On March 7, emerging professionals are invited to take part in an event offering insight on the evolving industry landscape and fresh perspectives on creative career paths. Creative Directions will include opportunities to receive constructive feedback through one-on-one portfolio reviews and presentations and panels on topics ranging from resume writing to salary negotiation to effectively presenting your ideas. To help prepare for the event, reviewers share advice for how to get the most out of the experience. 


Presentation matters.

"Present your work in an original, well-designed portfolio. Exercise editorial control (8-10 projects are enough). Have a link to your digital portfolio listed on a business card that you leave with reviewers; after the event, I will revisit portfolios that caught my eye." Irina Khvalova RGD, Principal, Colourphill Design Inc.


"Dress professionally and be well manicured." Shelley Gainer RGD, Director of Creative and Branding, Shoppers Drug Mart


Know your stuff. 

"Come open minded, and prepared to talk about the objective of each piece, not just about the visual elements." Ryan Nunn RGD, Senior Designer, TD


"To fully understand if your work does everything it needs to do, you need to be able to explain how and why your solution is a great answer to the given design/communication problem." Damon Crate, Senior Art Director, TAXI2


"Be ready to talk about the goal of the project, your process and role." Tina Mackenzie RGD, Manager of Creative Services, City of Mississauga


"Bring an open mind, and positive attitude, along with a solid selection of your work. Reviewers are here to give you honest, constructive input aimed at honing your book." Megan Oldfield RGD, Creative Director, Coolaide Design Field Office


"Make sure you can clearly and simply articulate what you were trying to achieve with each piece of communication. Who is the target audience and what did you want them to think, feel or do? What was the insight you had that lead to the approach you took?" Lynn Ridley RGD, VP Creative, Jan Kelley Marketing


Be proud of your work. 

"Try to make each piece equally strong, memorable and reflective of your strengths, interests and career aspirations. The weak spots can easily derail the impression you’re trying to make – like going to a great, cool new restaurant and being given a dirty fork." Gary Ludwig RGD, Principal, Hark Ideas


"Only include the work that you’re proud of - the projects that you feel give a good representation as to the type of work you do." Russell Gibbs RGD, Creative Director, Russell Gibbs Design


Think about the bigger picture.

"Give some thought to your career goals — what kind of work do you want to do? And for whom? With a goal in mind, the reviewer will have a clearer framework within which to define the strengths and/or weaknesses of your portfolio." Michael Barker, Creative Director, Acme Art & Design

"Make a point of asking for a card from the reviewer. After the event, be sure to send along a note of thanks. I’ve been a reviewer for the past several years, and have only had two people reach out with a note of thanks afterwards. So few people do this - and a little bit of courtesy goes a long way!" Randal Boutillier RGD, Principal, 12thirteen Design Inc.


"Bring your personality. Your portfolio isn't just about the work that you were instructed to do for school, but it's also an opportunity to tell us your story in your own words which gives reviewers insight on what you're capable of doing and whether or not you're somebody we want to work with. Show that you were enthusiastic about the process. Did you make an epic fail? Tell us what that was and what you learned from it." Victor Szeto RGD, Senior Designer, Green Living Enterprises


Click here to see the full schedule and register for the Creative Directions Conference on March 7. Also check out the Creative Directions Windows Into the World of Design event on March 6.