12 things we learned on Day 1 of the virtual Creative Directions Conference
The RGD's virtual Creative Directions Conference kicked off on Monday, April 27. Joining in from across North America, industry experts shared their knowledge and insights on various design-related topics. Keep reading for 12 takeaways from their presentations!


Find Your Personal Style

Trailblazing Stream

Presented by designer Meg Lewis, this keynote took a deep dive into how to build a personal style and brand that's fulfilling and sustainable.


1. Meg's uplifting mantra: “I'm not you, and that's cool too!”.

2. A personal brand or design style that's a true extension of who you are is a building block for your career. It can guide the kind of work you do, the clients you decide to work with and the areas of your professional development that you choose to invest in. 

3. Remember that everyone has something they're good at. Instead of comparing your weaknesses to someone else's strength, acknowledge that you bring something different to the table.


Perfecting Your Portfolio Panel Discussion

Tools & Tactics Stream

Presented by a group of industry experts, this panel discussed the ins and outs of design portfolios: how do you make yours stand out? What should you or should you not put in one?


4. Remember to tailor your portfolio for the job you're applying for. If you're applying for a contract lettering position, there's no need to include examples that aren't lettering projects.

     — Sarah Di Domenico, VP, Partner & Creative Director at WEDGE in Montreal

5. Including projects that you worked on as part of a group are great, but always make sure to state that it was a team effort and outline your role and contributions. It's dishonest otherwise, and interviewers can typically tell when a project was done by a group.

     —  Linda Nakanishi, Associate Partner at Nascent Digital, User Experience, in Toronto

6. There's no magic number for how many pieces to put in a portfolio. Strive to show the breadth and depth of your work, but there's no need to add 3 examples of the same kind of project — just pick one.

     — Laura Stein RGD, Chief Creative Officer at Bruce Mau Design in Toronto


We shared a few more takeaways from this panel on Instagram. Click here to see!

So You Wanna Design A Better World? Panel Discussion

Transparency Stream

Presented by a group of industry experts, this panel uncovered what it means to design for a more sustainable, just and ethical world.


7. If you or your company is committing to sustainable practices, it's necessary to assess all of your choices and processes to make sure they align with your new vision. This isn't always easy, but it's worth it in the long run.

     — Andrew Gibbs, Founder & CEO at Dieline in Los Angeles and Partner of A Plastic Planet

8. Ask for help, and ask questions. Admitting that you don't know something is crucial for building trust with your clients, stakeholders and teammates. There are people who know the answer, and they'll support you so you can do your job to the best of your abilities.

     — Michelle Hopgood RGD, Information Design Specialist at Hopgood Creative in Toronto

9. Share your influential ideas. If you know a way that a project can be done more sustainably, or if you have an idea, speak up and tell your team or client. You can play a powerful role in educating others.

     — Jay Wall RGD, Principal & Creative Director at RallyRally – Design for Social Change in Toronto


What Brand Designers Know

Trajectory Stream sponsored by Depositphotos

Led by a group of industry experts, these presentations analyzed what it takes to build a memorable, successful brand today.


10. Remember that designers can give life to big ideas so that the world can experience them.

     — Wilson Wong, VP of Creative Services, Creative Director at Everbrave Branding Group in Calgary

11. Help your client uncover what they really need. They might come to you saying they need a logo or website refresh, but what they're really trying to articulate is that their competitors have changed or they need to pivot their brand.

     — Robin Honey RGD, Brand Consultant in London (ON)


12. Bonus Food for Thought

Do you think technology has made our interactions with brands deeper and more fulfilling, or satisfying? 

     — Mooren Bofill RGD, Executive Director, Design at john st. in Toronto


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