Why is Neli Nenkova a Provisional RGD?
Recent graduate of Cambrian College in Sudbury, Ontario, Neli Nenkova shares the resources, opportunities and moments of inspiration that make her proud to be a Member of RGD. 


I find inspiration in listening, sharing and interacting with other designers. I believe we can always learn from each other and I feel privileged to be a part of the RGD community. One of the best places to meet designers (those both senior in and new to the industry) is RGD's DesignThinkers Conference


DesignThinkers played a major role for me as an aspiring graphic designer. I attended the conference for the first time in 2013 when I had just commenced my graphic design studies and I have been to all three annual conferences in Toronto since then. DesignThinkers is an excellent venue to meet other creative people and find inspiration. Many of the speakers share their personal experiences in the industry and discussions cover a variety of topics and disciplines. Most importantly the conference is a hub that offers attendees the opportunity to expand their professional networks. DesignThinkers is a remarkable resource, and my recommendation is to visit it as early as possible in your career. You never know how it may affect your life.


Two designers who especially inspired me at DesignThinkers were Christopher Chapman (a designer at Disney) and Morag Myerscough (environmental graphic designer from the UK). I still remember Morag’s advice: “Don’t be afraid of colour. Be careful, but don’t be afraid.”


It was at DesignThinkers 2013 where Nicholas Felton shared some incredible infographics. It was his ideas that influenced my own infographic projects later in my studies.


Some of the other designers I look up to that I first encountered at DesignThinkers include Mary Lewis, Aaron Draplin, Paula Scher and Erik Spiekermann. I also highly recommend checking out Annie Atkins. Her work for the movie The Grand Budapest Hotel is stunning.


An archive of past presentations from the DesignThinkers conference is available for RGD Members in the Members Only section of the website, along with other great resources. 


As an additional resource, I would greatly recommend RGD’s Future By Design series of webcast discussions. In this series, design experts are invited to share their experiences and thoughts on a variety of topics, including the future of design tools, the future of making, the future of storytelling, the future of human-centred design and more. 


RGD also provides webinars from industry experts, which can be quite instructive. Most of the videos are practical, viz. interview preparation, what creative experts are looking for in young designers, or most common mistakes and how to prevent them. 


As an individual interested in the well-being of our planet, I value and support sustainable design. I believe that design must be simple, less decorative and non-invasive; design must also be elegant and user-friendly. One of design’s objectives is to improve people’s lives and also to educate them. RGD shared a case study by Debbie Adams RGD from Adams+Associates which highlights the importance of wayfinding using sustainable signage for Evergreen Brickworks and demonstrates how good design is equally important to people and the environment.


RGD has allowed me to connect with and learn from the design community in this rapidly-evolving field. The social opportunities and various resources provided to its members are invaluable to my journey as a growing designer.