"Olivier’s efforts translating the RGD materials — from the Design Educator to Ultrabold Awards, the Code of Ethics and so much more — has helped the RGD to reach Canadian designers in both official languages. We are so grateful for all of his help!"
— Hilary Ashworth, Executive Director, RGD
How long have you been volunteering with the RGD and in what capacity?
As a Member of the RGD and SDGQ, I volunteered to translate and adapt RGD's communications for the Canadian French-speaking audience. It has been about 3 years now. I believe it is important that announcements, competitions and communication be accessible from coast to coast in both official languages. And, as a graphic designer, these communications are my business!
What contribution are you most proud of / What experience/memory stands out for you?
The Code of Ethics
was clearly the most comprehensive and strategic document I had to translate and adapt (Code of Ethics in French
). In addition to guiding the work of Canadian designers, it represents a pan-Canadian harmonization effort. Endorsed by the RGD, GDC and SDGQ, it allows all graphic design professionals to share the same rules to play the same game. This may sound very theoretical, but it is a welcome initiative and it has very concrete effects.
What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
Although some of my designs are meant to be high-profile, my work as a translator is generally kept unnoticed. However, it is this modest and solitary work that allowed me to connect with my Canadian colleagues, become a Certified RGD and answer these questions today!
What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
The challenges we face, the questions we ask ourselves, the things that unsettle us or inspire us, all of these resonate outside of our bubble! Volunteering for the RGD is like opening a door to a new but familiar landscape. Also, it is very satisfying to feel that thousands of people are pushing in the same direction, with the same values.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
I can only speak for what I know best: the position of a freelance designer. For us, professional organizations like the RGD are the links that give us power as design pros. How could we defend a cause if we were each on our own? Some issues only become clear to each of us when we talk about them as a group, others already have solutions that we would ignore if we didn't have this community to rely on. And of course, there is a vision that underlies all of this, the one that gives design its relevance and function for society as a whole.
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?
It's all about that sense of community. Don't be intimidated; you will find people who have a lot in common with you and will seek to include you without judgment. Being a Member also provides opportunities to break out of the isolation that can sometimes swallow up your creative energy. And it allows us to see and understand what our peers are doing.
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
My two favourite things are creating design and talking about design! I'll do any work that could help make design more familiar, especially for people outside the creative field because design is still perceived as a marginal and sometimes elitist discipline, but it touches us all everyday, in thousands of different ways. So I don't know exactly what I could do with the RGD but I'm always ready for the unexpected!