RGD Members now have access to .design domain
Written by Andrew Merriam, Director of Business Development at Top Level Design, LLC

Your domain name, often understood as your URL, has been the most important part of your online branding for well over a decade. If your domain doesn’t identically match your brand name, or is not a memorable or creative shorthand, then it isn’t doing its job.


RGD has recently partnered with .design to give its members unique access to a new domain option for professional designers.


Many start-ups and new freelance designers go about getting domains one of two ways. They either name their company first and then find the best possible domain to fit the new company name, or they cater their company name to what domains are available. This can be a stressful experience, and folks often end up sacrificing their brand identity one way or the other.


When talking about domains, short and memorable are the two most important factors, as they make the destination more brandable. People won’t remember where to find you online if you add extra words to your domain that are extraneous to your branding. If you have to add qualifiers in order to get a good domain, such as the city you live in or a hyphen, it is no longer snappy and memorable. A subpar domain looks unprofessional on business cards and it’s a worse vehicle for your website, your email address and, well, YOU!


The .design domain is clear and simple, just, YourName.design, YourBrand.design, with no .com or anything else. What seems like an elegant and intuitive switch is actually a revolution in online branding. Its debut in 2015 is the biggest online naming shift in over 20 years.


Every RGD member has been sent a unique claim link to register and secure any .design name they want (a small set of premium names, e.g. toronto.design, excluded). The domain is free for the first year as is an email address of your choosing. You can point your existing site to your new domain name or quickly build a portfolio via .design’s connection to the website builder Weebly. If you didn't receive the email, details of the special offer for RGD Members can be found here. Questions? Email .


As we start a new year, take the time to focus on your business and branding with a .design site and email. Securing your .design name before someone else does means you’ll be on the leading edge of this innovation and give your website, email, business cards and branding a new level of polish and professionalism.


To learn more about the role a customized domain can play in your business, check out this case study featuring Seattle-based firm Transom Design: