RGD celebrates 2015 accomplishments and reveals plans for 2016

As we get ready for another exciting new year of RGD programming, we review our successes in 2015. 



RGD Accomplishments in 2015:


1. RGD receives extensive media coverage.

With our response to the Canada 150 logo contest and subsequent #MyTimeHasValue initiative, RGD received coverage via TechVibes, Huffington Post (in an article that was liked by 13k on Facebook), ico-D, CBC Radio Halifax, 570 Radio Kitchener and other local outlets. RGD was also contacted to provide experts who could speak on car logos for a piece in the Globe & Mail and on the colours of popular apps for a piece in Canadian Business. Our 2015 DesignThinkers conference, speakers and associated activities received coverage in a variety of media outlets including: two pieces in the Star (see here and here), a CBC Arts interview and videoGlobe & Mail, TrendHunter, Format Magazine and more (see a complete list here). 


2. 16th annual DesignThinkers Conference breaks records.

With more than 2,000 participants over 4 days of activities, this year's DesignThinkers broke our attendance record for the 8th consecutive year. Highlights included the branding by Overdrive (including an installation) and social media engagement with our hashtag #rgdDT which trended across Canada on Twitter and reached over 2,200 posts on Instagram.   


3. RGD creates video content to promote value of design to business.

This year's DesignThinker of the Year Award-winners, the CEO of Allied Properties REIT and Cumbrae Founder, were profiled in videos produced by MediaFace, a new Gold Sponsor of RGD. In addition, MediaFace also produced a vide of a roundtable with executives from Second Cup, MEC and 500px on how Canadian business can best leverage design to be innovative and competitive. All three videos are part of RGD's on-going efforts to contribue to a dialogue on design and its value to business.


DesignThinker of the Year - Award Winner 2015 from RGD on Vimeo.


DesignThinker of the Year - Award Winner 2015 from RGD on Vimeo.


4. RGD Certification focuses on relevance and transparency.

In January, RGD transitioned to a virtual certification process. Updates were also made to the Online Test, replacing the History section with a section on Accessibility and developing new questions for the Business section. Sample questions and sample portfolio rationales were posted and info sessions and virtual study groups continue to be offered.


5. Launch of The Business of Graphic Design, 3rd edition

With contributions from The Office of Gilbert Li, authors, artists, photographers and sponsors, RGD launched the 3rd edition of the Association's Handbook. All Professional Members received copies and 500 copies have already been sold, primarily to colleges and universities across Canada.


6. New Designer's Field Guide created.

In early 2016, Professional Members of RGD (certified RGDs, Prov. RGDs and Affiliates) will receive a new RGD publication designed by Forge Media + Design, highlighting important dates, showcasing resources, programs and opportunities and featuring quotes from certified RGD Members.


7. Expanding offerings through RGD partnerships.

In 2015, RGD's programming, reach and engagement were enhanced through numerous partnerships. Design Partners helped us communicate, Organizational Partners (TIFF, Rotman School of Management and George Brown College) assisted with programming, Community Partners helped amplify our messages and our Corporate Partners supported all our efforts.


8. RGD's virtual programming reaches communities across Canada.

In addition to our weekly webinars which are free and accessible to Members across North America, RGD's Future By Design series had screening locations in cities across Canada including St John's, Halifax, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, and featured design visionaries such as Jessica Hische, Jake Barton and Ellen Lupton. All told, RGD presented 44 virtual events in 2015 with over 900 participants.



9. RGD Membership reaches across Canada and around the world.

With over 3,000 Members, RGD is the largest graphic design organization in Canada and one of the largest in the world. With our virtual programs and other benefits, the Association continues to grow with Members in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec, the Yukon, as well as outside Canada in California, Michigan, Kentucky, New York, Washington and even in Brazil and Saudi Arabia.


10. RGD completes Web Accessibility Initiative
In cooperation with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO), RGD finalized our Web Accessibility Initiative with the release of resources to help shape best practices for accessible web design including the new Web Accessibility Handbook, updated website and creation of a new mandatory section in the Online Test portion of RGD's Certification Process.

Web Accessibility Initiative 

In cooperation with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario (ADO), RGD launched our Web Accessibility Initiative with October's Web Design Accessibility Conference and the release, in early 2015, of related resources to help shape best practices for accessible web design including the new Web Accessibility Handbook, updated website and other tools. 


- See more at: http://www.rgd.ca/2014/12/15/rgd-celebrates-10-accomplishments-for-2014-and-what-to-look-forward-to-in-the-new-year.php#sthash.mSo1c6Jo.dpuf


Things planned for 2016

1. RGD's first In-House Design Awards
RGD will take a year off from the So(cial) Good Design Awards to recognize the best creative work being produced by designers working in-house for corporations, government, institutions and charities. This new program will celebrate an under-recognized but extremely important segment of the design industry.
2. New National Salary Survey for 2016/2017
RGD and Creative Niche will launch our 7th biannual national survey of salaries and billing practices in the creative industries, CreativeEarners. Presenting a financial picture of Canada's creative industry, this tool helps creative professionals define where and how they fit within the industry.
3. Expansion on Social Media 

In 2015, RGD expanded our social media platforms with significant growth for RGD's followings on Twitter (7,000+ followers), Facebook (3,000+ followers) and LinkedIn (7,000+ group members). Our goal is to continue this expansion into 2016.

4. Further updates to the RGD website anticipated.
In 2015, RGD introduced a responsive web design and the Designer Directory design increased visibility for project images and improved search functionality. In 2016, we will introduce simplified site navigation and other  modifications to improve user experience.
5. Creative Directions Conference changes to accommodate attendees from outside the GTA
On March 5, RGD's career development conference takes place at a new location within walking distance of Union Station and the downtown airport: Toronto's Harbourfront Centre. The event will begin at 10 AM to accommodate travel time. Members from outside the GTA will also be eligible for Scholarships to fund travel / accommodations.
6. Ask an RGD Program for Emerging Professionals
RGD recently launched the Ask an RGD video series, offering personal responses from RGDs to questions submitted by Prov. RGD Members. Throughout 2016, video advice will be posted to help emerging designers address career development and business challenges. 

Ask An RGD with Stussy Tschudin RGD, Principal of Forge Media + Design from RGD on Vimeo.

7. New initiatives to advocate against spec work
RGD continues to offer assistance and to advocate against requests for spec by Canadian companies, government departments, institutions and non-profits, but there remains confusion on what constitutes spec and how requests should be addressed. RGD is developing an interactive resource to help navigate spec situations and provide responses across a variety of situations.
8. Further refinements to RGD Certification
Improvements to the RGD Certification process are ongoing to refine this integral component of RGD and our efforts to raise standards across the industry. In 2016, we will develop new questions and prep materials for the Rules section of the Online Test, review the submission requirements and evaluation of Design Managers for the Portfolio Interview and integrating other RGD prorgrams into the submission of rationales for Certification applications
9. 'What is Graphic Design?' Resource
RGD hopes to spread a true understanding of graphic design and its value at the high school level with the development of a PDF guide to the profession that can be easily and effectively distributed to guidance counsellors, teachers and parents.
10. DesignThinkers West
With the success of DesignThinkers in Toronto, and given the difficulty for designers to travel from Western Canada for the event, RGD is beginning the process for organizing a special two-day DesignThinkers West Conference! Stay tuned for details!