Once in a while I’m asked, “Has getting your RGD designation been worth it? Should I bother becoming a member?” Without hesitation my answer is always, “Yes.”
The ways I have benefitted from RGD have changed as I’ve moved through my career. I first learned about the Association as a university student and became a Student Member along with most of my classmates. Around that time, I attended my first DesignThinkers Conference and started receiving communications on other industry events and networking opportunities. In my last year of school I attended a portfolio review event put on by RGD in which I received constructive and honest feedback from senior designers who had volunteered their time. Those few hours on a Saturday afternoon completely changed the way I presented my portfolio and no doubt helped me with future job opportunities.
In the 10 years since leaving school, I have become a Certified RGD Member and continue to use the resources the organization makes available to designers. In 2009, I made the decision to leave Toronto to take an in-house job three hours away from the city in rural Ontario. Not only was I far removed from the design community I had come to know, I was now the sole designer in a company that previously hadn’t had a traditional design department.
It was at this point in my career that I benefitted from RGD the most. The regular email newsletters kept me connected and up-to-date on what was going on in the design industry. Events and seminars geared towards in-house design helped me learn about best practices. The RGD job board helped us with our recruiting needs as my team expanded. Entering design awards programs run by RGD allowed me to gauge how the work we were producing compared to others in the industry. These things all seemed small at the time, but they have added up to a successful, award-winning in-house design department that now has three full-time designers. Without the support of RGD, this all would have been so much harder.
I would encourage other designers to get involved in the organization and to use the fantastic resources made available to them by RGD. I would also encourage those who are considering becoming a Member to finally just do it! I’m so glad I did.
To find out more about becoming a Registered Graphic Designer, click here.