Why is Michael Zavacky an RGD?
Art Director/Illustrator at McMillan Michael Zavacky shares his experience pursuing the RGD certification, the events he has attended and hosted as a Member and how being part of the community continues to benefit his career. 

The reason I value being a Member of RGD is pretty simple, really.
I enjoy being part of a design community, where like-minded people share ideas, resources and more. Being a graphic designer can often be a lonely profession. For me, being part of RGD provides access to a variety of forums and events that link me to a group of designers, and I find that beneficial.


I always look forward to attending RGD's annual DesignThinkers Conference in Toronto. We usually fly down with a few people from McMillan, stay in a hotel and spend a few days immersed in the great design culture of that event. DesignThinkers inspires us with amazing new ideas and I love mingling with other creatives at the event.


This year, the speaker I enjoyed most was Michael Lejeune, a creative director from the Los Angeles transit agency, Metro. He shared some great real-world advice on how his internal creative team used design to solve a myriad of challenges. A truly fantastic talk! I also enjoyed the quirky and talented Coralie Bickford-Smith who presented her book covers for Penguin UK and walked us through her process. I bought three copies of her new book immediately after her presentation!


As is the case every year with DesignThinkers, one of the goals is to return to Ottawa and transfer useful knowledge to the rest of the staff. Right now we’re putting together a presentation on this year’s event. Attending DesignThinkers for over five years has also helped me develop my presentation skills. Watching so many presenters, I've learned what works and what doesn’t, how to keep an audience engaged and how to impart useful information in entertaining ways.

Future By Design
McMillan has now hosted many of RGD's Future By Design events, where we invite local creatives to our office and take in a live webcast and interactive discussion on some pertinent issues. It’s always great to get a chance to mingle with our local design pals, which we rarely get the chance to do, but also to hear some big-name creative professionals discuss their views in the panel discussion.

One of the most popular was the Future of Storytelling, where we had a full house and one panelist who really impressed the crowd. Jake Barton discussed the ways his firm, Local Projects uses technology and storytelling to create interactive experiences for museums. They do awesome, inspiring work!


These Future by Design events keep our design furnaces stoked throughout the year and let us introduce ourselves to new creative people doing truly inspirational work. McMillan has hosted a few of these now, where we put out some food and drinks and discuss the topic at hand. It has always met with a great response from attendees and has been a positive experience. (RGD invites Members to host their own local discussions. To find out more, email )


RGD Certification
I have always had designer friends who were part of RGD and it was always on my mind to join myself, so a few years ago I decided to make the effort to pursue my RGD designation. It’s always good to have a few RGD members at our firm, because some clients require an RGD-certified designer to be part of the team for their projects. The test (now available online) refreshed the basic design knowledge we all share and wasn't too gruelling, and I enjoyed the portfolio interview, which involved going through my work with designers via webcam. The ethics/ Rules of Professional Conduct portion of the test was also useful, helping to make sure I was familiar with all the “do’s and don’ts” and how to react should certain situations arise in my professional practice. All in all, well worth the time.


Being a part of the RGD community has been useful for me, allowing me to connect with peers from all over the country. Sometimes it’s just really helpful to reach out to a fellow designer and ask for another opinion on something.

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