Winter 2018 Mentors
Thank you to Dominic Ayre, Caroline Bruckner, Evelyn Csiszar, Raj Grainger, Wendy Gray, Nicola Hamilton, Norm Lourenco, Rami Schandall, Iliana Sergeev, Eduardo Trejos and Elliot Vredenburg!


If you have any questions about the program or you would like to be a mentor, email .




"As your Mentor, I want to act as a guide to help a designer shape the course of their career. That guidance come from over 20 years of experience, with highs and lows, wins and losses, tears and laughter and a passion for the craft and business of graphic design that only gets brighter with every year."

Dominic Ayre RGD

Dominic has worked in Toronto as a designer for more than 20 years. At Hambly & Woolley, Dominic focuses on high-level strategic initiatives with clients such as the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, SOSCIP, RGD, Harry Rosen, OCAD University, CIFAR and Quadrangle Architects. Currently on faculty at OCAD University, Dom is an enthusiastic mentor to new designers and is well known within the design community for his expertise in typography, web platforms, design trends and popular culture.


"As your mentor, I can provide advice and help you navigate the many sides of creativity including working with clients, building the portfolio you want and some of the differences between in-house and agency environments. A mistake I made early on was thinking hard work and a good portfolio was all one needed to succeed as a designer—while those form an important foundation, there are many other skills to master."

Caroline Bruckner RGD

Caroline is the Creative Director for Deloitte Canada, leading the Design and Video studios. She helps to clarify client goals and objectives and leads design teams to execute the plan and deliver results. Over 20 years in corporate design, Caroline has worked with private companies, professional services and non-profits to develop strategic, creative communications. Caroline has been the lead creative on projects for clients including Yamana Gold, TransAlta Renewables, TMX Group and Tim Hortons. She also led the introduction of Ernst & Young’s new brand identity across Canada. A multiple award-winning designer, Caroline has been recognized by the International ARC awards, Canadian Regional Design Awards, Unisource Canada Design and Print Excellence Awards, International iNOVA awards and RGD’s In-house Design Awards.


"As your Mentor, I would share my knowledge and experience of UX/UI design and share insights as to how user-first design thinking can be applied to any design project to help maximize efforts and ensure success. I would also offer advice on how to become a freelance designer and provide insights on what it takes to be your own boss and run your own business."

Evelyn Csiszar RGD

Evelyn is the founder and lead UX/UI designer at Collective Experience. Her lifelong fascination with studying how people think and act has led to a deep passion for user experience design. She believes that you can only create successful products and services if you build it around the needs and wants of the people who will use them. This guiding principle applies to everything she does, regardless of the medium. Evelyn has had the pleasure of working on projects for organizations like University of Toronto, BMO, HydroOne, CCRM, Futurpreneur, HEQCO, CNIB and the Ontario Science Centre.


"As your Mentor, I would share my insights and experience as both an independent freelancer and as in-house designer. I would offer advice on how to be a good designer, and make good work in any situation."

Raj Grainger RGD

Raj is a multidisciplinary graphic designer who lives and works in Toronto. After dropping out of architecture school, he studied conceptual art and media design. Raj now focuses primarily on print- and identity-based projects and likes to collaborate with cultural and educational institutions, non-profits and other creative types.


"As your Mentor, I would share my approach to charting your unique design path. If you’re interested in eventually running your own design business, I can provide insight on how to get there and then how to carve out niche markets that are both strategic and interesting over the long-haul."

Wendy Gray RGD

Big picture thinking, strategic solutions, outstanding design, happy clients, discovering young talent, the privilege of teaching, mentoring, judging and contributing to the professional design industry are but some of the things that continue to motivate Wendy after 20 years of building Gravity into the full-service, multidisciplinary firm it is today. Designing for social good is one of her passions and in 2004, she made a commitment to service the non-profit sector in equal part to all of her other clients. Today, she is proud to have worked with over 50 non-profit organizations.


"As your mentor, I can share insights on the industry through the lens of an editorial designer. I can help you identify your goals and be your guide as you work towards fulfulling them."

Nicola Hamilton RGD
Nicola is a total magazine nerd. She's the Art Director at Studio Wyse, where she designs editorial and marketing products, collaborates with photographers, illustrators and filmmakers and helps run the business. Nicola's work has been internationally recognized by the D&AD, the Society of Publication Designers, the Society for News Design, and the Canadian National Magazine Awards.


"As your Mentor, I will share my knowledge and experience to assist you in your creative process. I have a wide range of practice areas, from magazines to branding, and as a studio owner & creative director, I and am happy to share my experiences to help you choose an area of design to focus on."

Norm Lourenco RGD

Norm is Creative Director and founder of Toronto-based K9 strategy+design. Norm has 25 years of experience in creating strategies to execute branding and publication design for many of Canada’s small independent to large multi-title publishers and countless entrepreneurial, professional and non-profit clients with their design and communications opportunities.


"As your Mentor, I will share insights I have gleaned, running a small business while sustaining a creative practice. What structures and tactics will help your creative heart thrive? What kinds of work or networks of support will free you to grow into your full potential as a designer, and build upon your strengths? Whether you aim to work as a solopreneur or in a team, these questions are ongoing, and great to keep exploring."

Rami Schandall RGD

Rami is the principal designer and owner of Visual Creative, a multi-faceted Toronto studio founded in 2005. She works with diverse clients — institutional, corporate, and nonprofit organizations, small businesses, artists and professionals — to illuminate their communications with clean, unique, and functional design. She offers support beyond graphic design. As a multi-disciplinary artist and writer, Rami draws on her work across media for both solutions and inspiration, building a flexible and sustainable practice over nearly twenty years.


"As your Mentor, I would offer assistance building and refining portfolios to show design thinking across disciplines and offer tips to junior designers as they look for their next career moves."

Iliana Sergeev RGD

Iliana never lost her child-like drive and endless curiosity. As the founder of a multi-disciplinary design studio, IS Design Labs, Iliana’s passion for problem-solving and communication is not bound by definitions, as she pushes the line where graphic design meets dimensional experiences. She is a visionary designer with years of work spanning across numerous industries.


"As your Mentor, I would share my insights on branding from a holistic and strategy-based perspective, designing for accessibility, identifying and maximizing your strengths as a designer, and how to refine your portfolio to have a successful transition from school to professional work."

Eduardo Trejos RGD

Eduardo is a highly creative soul with a natural drive toward exploration, yet he has the business acumen and technical know-how to deliver on his vision. While his formal academic training is in advertising design, photography and animation, his creative interests and explorations have led him to build additional expertise in web design and video. Eduardo has worked, both locally and abroad, as a multimedia designer and web front-end specialist. His diverse client base includes CBC The National, WestJet, Bank of Montreal, Canada Post, Canadian Cancer Society, OLG Corporation and the University of Toronto.


"As a designer who thinks a lot about the impact me and my work have in the world, I hope to discuss both the specifics of graphic design and its larger influence on society."

Elliot Vredenburg RGD

Elliot is from Toronto and lives there sometimes. At others, he is in LA or western Europe. For over ten years, Elliot has worked as a designer and writer across many fields, ranging from fine art, academia and the nonprofit sector; to advertising, web design and boutique design studio practices. He has exhibited, taught and held residencies in Canada, the United States and Europe. Today, he's working as a freelance designer and engaging in critical design research on topics including the weird intersections of marketing and social control, nature made by people and how bad design may actually be good.