Highlights & Takeaways from Creative Directions 2017 Presentations, Panels and Portfolio Reviews

On March 5, emerging and professional creatives gathered in Toronto for RGD's annual Creative Directions Conference.


The event included portfolio reviews, speed mentoring, panels and presentations exploring opportunities for individuals pursuing careers in the design industry. Attendees shared a variety of insights offered during our various career-building panel discussions and presentations.


Tips for starting out, including insights on strategic job-hunting, successful interviews and more: 

  • "Avoid being a generalist. Become a specialist. People are looking for experts and are willing to pay more for it." - Nico Taus RGD, Studio123
  • "We're always evolving. It's important to understand yourself & where you're going. Your strategy needs to evolve with you." - Isabel Urbina Peña, letterer, graphic and type designer
  • "Action builds confidence - just keep doing!" - Cathy Ledden RGD, Ledden Design iT
  • "It's not just your work that you're selling; it's YOU." - Brent Long RGD, Fusion Design Group
  • "We are watching everything. Everything you present is a signal of value." - Bob Hambly RGD, Hambly & Woolley
  • "Presenting your work on a laptop can be tricky. Tablets are closer to traditional portfolios." - Gilbert Li RGD, The Office of Gilbert Li
  • "In an interview, be confident but don't let an ego get in the way. Be genuine and authentic." - Panel
  • "Let go of the concept. Let go of what things 'should be' and take it into your own hands." - Isabel Urbina Peña, letterer, graphic and type designer
  • "When looking for a Partner, you need someone dependable and committed to your business." - Nico Taus RGD, Studio123
  • "It's okay to say no. You need to filter your clients even when you're just starting out." - Cai Sepulis, Ballyhoo Media
  • "I recommend not starting a business until working for someone else first. You need to understand process & project management" - Glenda Rissman RGD, q30 design
  • "Define what is 'successful' for you." - Cathy Ledden RGD, Ledden Design iT
  • "Embracing 'I don't know' opens the door for new experiences and creativity." - Jillian Adel, The Office of Jillian Adel
  • "Working with a mentor can help you find your path. They can help you understand what fits with your interests, skills & opportunities." - Mark Buchner RGD, TBD Studio
  • "You need to collaborate, partner and learn from people. Not everyone is out to steal your work." - Brent Long RGD, Fusion Design Group
  • "Avoid internalization of oppression. Speak up. It is very important to address your concerns in the workplace." - Diversity and Inclusion Panel
  • "Do more listening than talking with a client. Clients trust people who make them feel like they are being heard." - Cathy Ledden RGD, Ledden Design iT
  • "Integrity and delivery will get you far more clients than beautiful work." - Anthony Furia RGD, Furia Branding & Design
  • "You don't have to try to make unique work - your work will be unique because you made it." - Isabel Urbina Peña, letterer, graphic and type designer
  • "Design consultants aren't usually paid for all their thinking. But they should be." - Doug Dolan, communications strategist and writer
  • “Always discuss budget and schedule before agreeing to the project." - Cathy Ledden RGD, Ledden Design iT
  • "You need to bounce ideas off your partner, you need support." - Glenda Rissman RGD, q30 design


RGD was also thrilled to receive positive feedback from conference delegates...

  • "Creative directions was a incredible experience with great advice! I recommend it to every designer looking for valuable feedback!" #rgdCD - @CiarasMethod
  • "V impressed with the talented designers I met today at #rgdCD. Gives me hope for the future of design in Canada" - @ttcdesign
  • "Love looking and exploring all the different materials that I got at Creative Directions this year. Getting inspired!" - @vjddesigns
  • "Attending @RGD Creative Directions Conference was such a valuable experience!" - @OMontagnese
  • "Really enjoyed reviewing work @RGD #creativedirections this year. Some bright minds and talent." - @derekvaz
  • "@RGD thanks so much for the goodies and the fabulous day!" @aprilstweeting
  • "An incredible day of presentations in Toronto #rgdCD. Thank you for having us @RGD." - @ocdagency
  • "Amazing day full of design, inspiration and creativity! Fave part: @ocdagency talk. Thank you to @RGD for making this weekend possible!" - @vjddesigns
  • "Awesome day at the @RGD Creative Directions conference today! Thanks for continually running great events #rgdCD" - @Jordan_AJackson
  • "What an inspiring group of talented #CreativeDirectors, senior design professionals and young designers @RGD #rgdCD" - @JKuoo
  • "Did 5 #UX portfolio reviews at #rgdCD this weekend. It's fascinating how your fave project may actually be the weakest piece when reviewed!" - @JemRosario


See more insights from conference delegates and speakers by searching #rgdCD on Twitter. Also check out some photos from the conference and from Studio Open Doors. Recordings of the presentations and panels will be available in the Members Only Section shortly.