Remembering Arlene Gould RGD

The design community remembers Arlene Gould RGD who passed away earlier this month. Arlene was an active Member of the RGD who wrote the marketing section for the first edition of the RGD Handbook.


In her career spanning over 35 years, Arlene championed design's essential intersections with sustainability and urban planning at organizations as the Watt Group, the Design Exchange and the Design Industry Advisory Committee (DIAC). Arlene served as the Strategic Director of DIAC from 2001 to 2023. She also worked as an educator at York University and TMU. Her invaluable contributions to her field were recognized by an ARIDO/IIDA Leadership Award, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Sustainable Buildings Canada and by her appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Arlene will be remembered for her remarkable creative drive, sharp sense of humour and, most of all, her boundless devotion to her family. 


We’ve collected thoughts from the community below. If you knew Arlene and would like to add your memories of her to this page of tributes, please email


"For several years, I was honoured to sit on the DIAC Board, where Arlene served as Executive Director. It was easy to be inspired by her vision of a unified voice for the Canadian design industry, a hugely ambitious goal she pursued with passion and determination. Arlene's work went well beyond government or industry advocacy; she truly cared about and supported practitioners. Her commitment was visible in the numerous projects and events she organized, the community she fostered and her work as an educator. For Arlene, design was a true labour of love and I'm among the many designers who she went out of her way to support. While Arlene's passing is a great loss for our community, we should celebrate her many accomplishments and impact on our profession. As designers and as friends, we're all better off for having had her in our lives."

— Vincent Galante RGD, Head of Product and Design at Yuhu


"Today, we mourn the loss of Arlene Gould, a fellow Member of the RGD and a collaborator on various projects for the DIAC. Arlene was meticulous and professional in her work, always ensuring that every detail was addressed. She brought an enthusiasm to her work that was both unique and inspiring. Above all else, she never lost sight of why she was doing what she was doing — the advancement of design. Arlene's legacy will live on within the communities she touched with her work." 

Denis Leclerc RGD, Principal and Creative Director, Costa Leclerc Design Inc.


"Arlene became an RGD quite early on and we were excited to have someone with her background be a part of the community we were building. She was great at making connections and she always used her many connections to bring together people to collaborate. I remember she convinced Pentagram’s Alan Fletcher to speak at a DX event in 2003, when he rarely ever did. Arlene also played a pivotal role in promoting design, particularly in Ontario. As the Strategic Director of DIAC, she helped bring creatives together to work on extensive projects that included research, charettes and events, to which she helped garner governmental support to help ensure their success. The projects were aimed at designers but they also they promoted the value of design to people outside of the design professions. Representing the RGD, I worked with Arlene at DIAC for almost a decade. She was tireless. Thank you Arlene." 

— Rod Nash RGD Emeritus, former Creative Director, Nash + Nash


"Arlene was one of the kindest and most upbeat people I’ve had the pleasure to encounter over the years. She always had a very positive attitude and outlook, while being an energetic, highly ambitious and organized person, who would advocate for all of us to contribute and give our best." 

Stüssy Tschudin RGD, Principal + Creative Director, Forge Media + Design