Volunteer of the Month: Julian Brown RGD

Julian is the designer and entrepreneur behind the motion design studio ON THE CHASE! Just under 10 years young, OTC! has won international awards and collaborated with diverse clients ranging from retailer Shoppers Drug Mart to video game maker Ubisoft. Julian has been profiled in industry magazines as a rising young talent. He is a graduate of the York/Sheridan Design Degree program.



Q: How long have you been volunteering with RGD, and in what capacity?

A: Being involved with the organization for almost 10 years, I’ve had the chance to contribute in many ways. I’ve designed motion graphics for DesignThinkers, the So(cial) Good Design Awards, and RGD’s refreshed brand. I’ve hosted discussion panels and given talks to recent design grads. I’ve reviewed portfolios and judged awards. Most of all, I’ve sat in truly enjoyable meetings with RGDs new and old, exchanging ideas and learning nonstop about my chosen industry. I first volunteered with RGD as a Provisional RGD Member in 2009, shortly after graduating from York/Sheridan. I headed the Provisional Committee in 2010, and in 2012 as a newly-minted RGD, I was elected to the Board of Directors. I recently completed my maximum tenure on the Board but I continue to volunteer in a variety of capacities.


Motion graphic design for Social Good Design Awards 2015: 


RGD's refreshed brand: 


Q: What made you want to get involved with RGD?
A: Although I was aware of RGD's programming when I was in school, I didn’t understand that there are more amazing opportunities if you actually get involved. Once I’d graduated, that realization clicked. I wanted to network with other designers. I had a job, but I was looking for better! I admit that early on, it was as simple as that. They say there’s no such thing as a selfless act, and my decision to begin volunteering with RGD was no exception.


Q: What is your most memorable experience as an RGD volunteer?
A: As a young motion designer, I had a somewhat unique skill set to offer as a volunteer. I had noticed a lack of motion graphics at the annual DesignThinkers Conference, so I simply asked if there was a volunteer opportunity to help with the next one. Within days, I was having a brainstorming session with two of the town’s hottest Creative Directors at their Queen West studio. I had barely been out of school for a year but since we were all volunteering our time, I was there as a peer. It was a great vibe—one that can’t be recreated in a portfolio review or sitting in a job interview. I went on to work on DesignThinkers graphics with five different amazing studios over five years. I’ve had the same awesome experience over and over again when collaborating with other RGDs—either volunteering or working with them on client projects. 


DesignThinkers 2010


DesignThinkers 2012


Q: Of the RGD initiatives you have contributed to, what are you most proud of?
A: I’m very proud of the work I did on the spec work guide: "Free, Fee or Flee?" I was VP of Ethics for several years and saw how spec work dominates the headspace of young designers early in their careers. As any designer can attest, finding problems is easy but proposing actual solutions is hard. It was a large undertaking along with Hilary and the RGD staff to conceive of the format and initially draft all of the content for the guide. Unpaid work is such a complex issue and there are so many subtleties that aren’t easy to see when you’re new to this industry. It’s a beast, plain and simple. Trying to tame it, make sense of it and create a useful guide was a very rewarding experience. Then, seeing the design sponsor, Nascent Digital, run wild and create such a fun piece made me so proud to be involved.



Q: What have you gained from being an RGD volunteer, and why would you recommend it to other Members who might be thinking of getting involved?
A: I’ve gained so much from being involved with RGD. Running a solo design business, it has let me gain colleagues and friends. As a young designer, I’ve gained "valuable experience" but also had wonderful experiences. To each and every young designer: don’t just work at your desk and think the industry will come to you. If you get involved, if you contribute, the industry will open up—and you may even have some fun.


Interested in getting involved with RGD? Fill out our online form