DesignThinkers Toronto Scholarship student winners reflect on their conference experience

This past November, six $500 scholarships were awarded to emerging designers who expressed interest in attending RGD's 19th annual DesignThinkers Conference in Toronto.


As part of RGD's effort to foster the career development of Student and Provisional RGD Members, helping them to attend DesignThinkers encourages exploration of what the industry has to offer, highlighting possible career paths and offering the chance to build connections with fellow designers. A special thank you to the program sponsors for making this possible.


Watch the winning application videos here: 

Shannon Wilson Student RGD, McKenzie College (Sponsored by Blue Ant Media)

Students of Red River College (Sponsored by Pound & Grain)

Alaura Gallagher Student RGD, McKenzie College (Sponsored by Fusion Design Group)

Rowan Bell-Marusich Student RGD, Cambrian College (Sponsored by Design de Plume)

Morgan Wilbur Student RGD, McKenzie College (Sponsored by Glenn Davis Group)

Christine Langille Student RGD, Conestoga College (Sponsored by Arcane)


RGD has FIVE $500 Scholarships confirmed for DesignThinkers Vancouver 2018, which takes place on May 29-30. Student RGDsProvisional RGDs and Junior Affiliate Members who wish to be considered are invited to post a 1-minute Instagram video expressing your enthusiasm for DesignThinkers Vancouver and why you want to attend. Click here for full details.


DesignThinkers Toronto 2017 Scholarship winners shared the following highlights from their conference experience: 


Alaura Gallagher Student RGD
This was my first DesignThinkers experience, and it was seriously amazing. To raise money for our class of 6 we started a Go Fund Me, sold pizza every Thursday, participated in a face painting at a local Rotary event, sold T-shirts and more. But one of of the biggest contributions to our fundraising was the DesignThinkers Scholarships provided by RGD sponsors.

Upon arrival, our first stop was the Studio Open Doors tour where we got to explore Toronto and check out some amazing agencies, which were all twice the size of the agencies in our hometown! Shout out to Taxi, Grey and One Method for showing us your space and teaching us about your creative processes!


Timothy Goodman was an amazing start to the conference. It was very inspirational to hear him talk about about the implications of his large social media following and how he uses that platform talk about real issues in the world.

I also really enjoyed the DesignThinkers Delegate Party at Brassaii. Food, drinks and networking. We had a chance to meet speakers from the conference, play giant Jenga, take fun photos at the photobooth and make some new friends! We even discovered some awesome murals on our way back to the hotel after the party.


Another exciting aspect of the conference was the exhibitor booths. One of my absolute favourites was the Monotype booth where you could take a quiz which decided what font you are, and then you were given a beautifully designed t-shirt with featuring your font type.


DesignThinkers Toronto was extremely inspiring all around. Meeting so many successful designers and industry professionals made me confident in my decision to become a designer. It also made me extremely excited to start my design career and continue to do what I love. Thanks again to RGD and Fusion Design Group for the scholarship and inspiration!


Christine Langille Student RGD
During my time at DesignThinkers 2017, I had the most amazing opportunity to learn new techniques and draw inspiration from designers from far and wide. It was so encouraging to listen to well-known designers share their experiences on how they got their start, on their failures and their achievements that have led them to be where they are today.


After listening to each presentation, my friends and I would have lengthy exchanges on what we liked/disliked, what interested us the most and inspired us to do better. We agreed that it was inspiring to see some of the designers' actual work they completed for the real world. It was so great to go home after the conference and see Emily Oberman's motion graphic title sequence in the “Ready Player One” movie trailer or watching “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” or “Saturday Night Live” and explaining to everyone that you got the chance to see the designer who made those popular brands.



Every moment of the long days at the Conference was worth it. Experiencing first-hand knowledge of the deign world and having opportunities to ask designers your own questions is all a design student could ask for. I want to thank RGD for offering these scholarships to graphic design students like me who wouldn’t of had the chance to go while I’m still in school. It was an honour and a fantastic experience. I hope I will be able to come again in the future!

Rowan Bell-Marusich
DesignThinkers was such an inspirational trip for me. It was a reassurance that I have chosen the right profession that will allow me to create a positive global impact.


While each speaker at DesignThinkers really solidified my feeling that this is the career I should be in, Timothy Goodman was by far my favourite speaker to watch. Mainly, his presentation inspired me to be more honest in my work. I avidly follow his Instagram and get choked up at 8/10 of his #memoriesofagirlineverknew posts. His vulnerability in design showed me that I too can show some of my own vulnerabilities in my projects and perhaps create better results because of that.



My other favourite speaker was definitely Sarah Hyndman. Her views on typography were so refreshing, and the humanization of type opened my eyes to an entirely different side of typography that I was vaguely aware of but could never put into words.


Maria Doreuli and Ekaterina Kochkina, who own their own type foundry were really interesting as well. I loved their views on typography and the originality in so many of their designs - playing to the stereotypes surrounding Russia. They also made a couple of points about how long it takes them to design a typeface and how they've had complaints about it before, but designing an entirely original typeface and all the respective characters with finesse is a long process, and I was encouraged by the fact that they make this point to their clientele and assure them that if they want the quality, they have to wait the time. It's good to know that people in the industry (and myself eventually) are allowed to say things like that to clients, instead of putting out sub-par work.


Being a semi-mature student and starting college at 24 is a bit difficult, but it gave me the time I needed to decide which avenue I wanted to go down. DesignThinkers reminds me that this is the perfect field for me and keeps my aspirations for my future career (perhaps unattainably) high.



Want to apply for a scholarship to attend DesignThinkers Vancouver 2018? Click here for details.