RGD's Jury identifies top case studies submitted by RGDs in 2016

Each week, RGD features a project case study by a Certified RGD Member in our RGD Word e-newsletter and on the website. After reviewing those submitted in 2016, four industry professionals with a business/media background have identified the case studies they feel best articulate the design process and demonstrate the value design can bring to business. 


RGD's case studies highlight the thought, research and insight involved in developing a project, providing details on challenges, solutions and results that often occur through the design process. By establishing an archive of case studies that cover a wide range of projects, RGD's goal is to build understanding and respect for the role of design in business and put a spotlight on the specific objectives and deliverables that can be addressed through the power of design. 



Todd Falkowsky, Publisher of The Canadian Design Resource

Mark Higgins, VP of Creative at Audience Communication and Events

Amelia Roblin, Director of Brand + Digital Design at Trend Hunter

Kristina Urquhart, Editor at Applied Arts Magazine


Selections were made based on the following criteria: 

  1. The project is well-designed and represents strong execution of fundamental design principles
  2. The write-up illustrates the design process in a way that is easy for non-designers to understand
  3. The case study clearly articulates how design translates into project deliverables and contributes to the achievement of the client's goals
  4. The project and write-up are interesting and relatable for a diverse audience


Top Case Studies of 2016


Restaurant branding from Blok design captures personal philosophy of top Canadian chef.

Authors: Vanessa Eckstein RGD & Marta Cutler, Blok Design

Read the case study.

"The richness of this project is born from its highly collaborative roots. Award-winning chef David Lee presented his designers with the opportunity to remodel an existing, successful restaurant, providing covetable creative conditions for interior design firm +tongtong and the graphic designers at Blok. To begin, Blok Design learned Lee’s stories, dug down to discover his deepest connection with food and cooking and identified unique cues for the new brand identity. A consistent visual theme was established by both +tongtong and Blok alike, guiding a strong and authentic collection of imagery, textures and typography that appear across everything from the menus and the stationery to Nota Bene’s website.

The case study for Nota Bene affords a thorough and engaging account of the design process, right from Blok’s conversations with David Lee to the VIP event at which the redesigned restaurant was unveiled. It depicts and describes the artwork that went into the finished products, having involved Canadian artists and inspiration from +tongtong’s interior work.  

A warm, earthy palette beautifully complements the woody motifs and the connection to the land and seasons that is so important to the chef. Each organic form is distinctive and detailed, contributing to a natural variety of compositions that complete a coordinated suite of pieces for Nota Bene. This truly fruitful project is a compelling example of the beauty that can come from collaborative creative work."

- Amelia Roblin



Acme Art & Design captures the spirit of a unique cultural experience with visual identity for Against the Grain Theatre.

Author: Michael Barker RGD, Acme Art & Design

Read the case study

"A powerful graphic and clever visual device that tickles your brain and pulls you directly into the purpose of the client - clearly demonstrating what against the grain looks like and invites you to learn more. You want to jump into the folds and discover how being different equals innovation and creativity. I really thought the process and discovery was thoughtful and bright...giving the client a real doorway into how fans would see their brand and business, helping the client think less about their own aesthetic and step back. The journey in making is typically so style driven and repetitive, most contemporary work only reflecting the taste of the designer or parroting present styles, but Acme discovered a way to bring something unique into the mix and gave it a real concept and tone. Lucky client, and we are rewarded too with another lovely piece from our industry".

- Todd Falkowsky



Accessible design from Reich+Petch helps create unique work environment for Deloitte's Montreal office.

Author: Edmund Li RGD, Reich+Petch Design International
Read the case study.

"In its comprehensive office overhaul for Deloitte Montreal, Reich+Petch has established a new baseline for accessible environmental design. The firm created a consistent system for a work environment that isn’t always consistent because employees don’t have permanent workstations. The wayfinding is organized and clear, and the attention to detail paid to the tactile, Braille and bilingual signage is impressive. Throughout the case, it was evident Reich+Petch repeatedly exceeded inclusive design expectations, going so far as creating an encyclopedia of universal pictograms to identify spaces. From a purely visual standpoint, I loved the playfulness of the sculptural numerals and the pops of Deloitte’s signature green. This case proves accessibility standards should not be seen as stringent rules forced upon designers—in fact, they will improve the design rather than compromise it."

- Kristina Urquhart



12thirteen uses community involvement to deliver strong new logo for Toronto health centre.

Author: Randal Boutilier, 12thirteen Design Inc.

Read the case study.

"I’m a big believer that if you don’t understand – and I mean really understand – your audience, then you’re missing the entire point of communication. The 12thirteen Design team was working with a range of audiences, not all of whom were warm to the idea of a new identity for such an important neighbourhood hub. The case study shows that the team didn’t just talk to the community, they provided ways for that community to be actively involved in the design process.
We know that fewer voices usually make things easier, but this team actively sought more opinions and more perspectives. They knew that this was the only way to capture the real beating heart of the place and of the community it serves. It was no doubt frustrating at times, but the results speak to the power of listening, and to the power of asking in the first place."

- Mark Higgins


Honourable mentions:

Tom & Sawyer branding, packaging and website design by Jay Eckert RGD, Parachute Design

The Visual Medium (TVM) identity and website design by Anthony Furia RGD, Furia

UofT Engineering grafitti installation by Raymond Cheah RGD, UofT CEIE & SKAM

TunaCam Android App branding by Evelyn Csiszar RGD, Evi Designs

Evergreen Brickworks signage and wayfinding by Debbie Adams RGD, Adams + Associates Design Consultants

QUBD identity design by Mark Buchner RGD & Yousuf Afridi, TBD Studio

Boulby Weinberg LLP company branding by Scott Christie RGD, Adler Brand & Marketing



Interested in submitting a case study? Download 'Guidelines for Contributing Content' and email