Becoming a Certified RGD is a key milestone in many designers’ careers. It signifies a dedication and commitment to the profession. And it enables designers to become a part of a larger community of like-minded people who share a passion for good design, while upholding the highest professional standards.
In order for this designation to be meaningful, it is crucial that we reach designers from coast-to-coast and convince more and more talented professionals to become Certified Members. That’s why one of our goals this year is to increase the outreach of Membership across the country, so when the RGD advocates on behalf of its Members, there is a strong, unified voice speaking on behalf of all of us.
But why is it that people choose to get Certified? It certainly is to be a part of the larger design community, but it is also a validation for many of their commitment to doing good design, and so that they may be recognized as professionals of the highest standard.
In 2015, the RGD implemented an entirely virtual Certification process. This includes submitting a PDF application, taking an Online Test and presenting a portfolio virtually to 3 evaluators. The system works incredibly well and we now receive applications from across the country, and around the world! Feedback from those who have gone through the process is reviewed at every Committee meeting, and adjustments continue to be made to the clarity of information about the testing process, and the update of questions that may be problematic for candidates.
As we still endure and navigate around the protocols required in our current COVID-19 world, RGD was ahead of the curve, fully set up with a process that could be done remotely while practicing physical distancing.
In 2020, there were 43 new Certified RGDs. This year, we’ve already certified 21 new Members. This brings to date the total number of Certified RGDs to 846.
The Certification Committee continues to make refinements to the Certification Process to make candidates more comfortable and add transparency to how the process works.
One of our new goals is updating the Certification Package - everything you need to know about Certification will be in one place—coming soon!
And we continue to do the monthly info sessions virtually with Heidi Veri featuring different Members as guests.
Thank you to Naila Medjidova Provisional RGD for creating the new video in our series of Excuse Videos. It shines a light on how Certification can help you with tasks that you are already doing or need to do. Check it out on our Instagram feed or view it on the RGD website.
Last year, we implemented a comments section on the evaluation form so candidates would receive more written feedback on their portfolio presentations. This feedback has been a greatly appreciated addition to the Certification experience.
Also new to the forms is a categories section that highlights excellence in candidate presentations, which help us base the criteria for our new “Freshly Certified” webinar series. With three of them under our belt, and a fourth one underway next month, this series not only puts a spotlight on new Members, but also provides potential candidates a roadmap on how to put their Certification application together, unveiling the mystery of how to do it, and encouraging those on the fence that it’s going to be okay.
Just last year, we launched Sample Tests which lets applicants experience the actual online system they’ll be using during the official Test and try out a few sample questions from each section.
New this year: the Committee will be making updates to the Educator application and evaluation form. As the Membership expands, this is a group where practitioner tools don’t align in the same way, so we’re in the process of making improvements.
New Test sections and reading materials are underway in order to stay current and relevant.
We have three new sections that include:
- Interaction Design
- Signage and Wayfinding
- Design Management
For those of you who aren’t familiar with GDC, they are another organization that certifies graphic designers in Canada. Many thanks to Hilary Ashworth and Stüssy Tschudin’s contributions over the years, and to Nicola Hamilton for their current ongoing discussions on GDC and RGD Alignment. The lines of communication are open, and we're still focused on aligning the Certification Criteria. More information will be coming as talks continue.
Thank you very much to our 37 diverse volunteer evaluators who make it possible for us to review the many candidates and their portfolios over the course of the year. We conducted our first ever series of Reviewer town halls last August, and the Committee will report our findings in the upcoming month. We hope to have group meetings on a regular basis to check in with each other on how the Certification process is going, and to ensure that we’re creating valuable and equitable experiences.
A big thank you to Stüssy Tschudin, who chaired this Committee before passing the baton to me in early 2020. Stüssy always brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to our Committee endeavours.
Next, I would like to thank our Committee Coordinator, and the RGD’s Director of Membership, Heidi Veri, who takes applicants through the entire Certification Process and who coordinates the efforts of all our Committee Members.
Thank you to our Executive Director, Hilary Ashworth, who supports the Committee through her guidance, insight and ideas to raise the standards and excellence of the Certification Process.
COMMITTEE MEMBERS OVER THE PAST YEAR:
- Amanda Bolte RGD
- Randal Boutilier RGD
- Avinash Raj RGD
- Katherine Carney RGD;
- Eric Forest RGD
- James Kuo RGD
- Michelle Hopgood RGD
- Adam Rallo RGD
- Kathy Sigstad RGD
- Victor Szeto RGD
- Stüssy Tschudin RGD
- Christina Whitfield RGD
Finally, thank you to everybody for their contributions and I look forward to working with you for many years to come.