Volunteer of the Month for June 2023

The RGD thanks Sigrid Albert RGD for her contributions to the RGD community.


"It was an absolute pleasure to work with Sigrid at this year’s Design Educators Conference at Vancouver Community College. Sigrid is a true professional and an exceptional problem solver, helping to accommodate everyone’s needs with a smile on her face. We couldn’t have asked for a better collaborator for the conference." — Diana Varma RGD, VP of Education on the RGD Board of Directors and Chair of the RGD's Education Committee.
How long have you been volunteering with the RGD and in what capacity?
I started volunteering with the RGD in 2022, by co-hosting facilities for the DesignThinkers Conference at Vancouver Community College where I work in the Digital Media Design department. VCC is across the street from the Vancouver venue. I was able to secure rooms at VCC again this year, as well as host the Design Educators Conference at short notice. I also volunteered to review the abstracts for the Design Educators Conference which was a great learning experience. And I serve on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
What contribution are you most proud of / What experience/memory stands out for you?
I'm happy that I was able to move the Design Educators Conference to VCC at a week's notice — it took a lot of forms and convincing of my administration that this is a valuable partnership for VCC, the Digital Media Design department and for our instructors and students.
What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
I discovered what a great organization the RGD is, how dedicated and professional the people are who work there and was surprised how inspired I was by both the DesignThinkers as well as the  Design Educators Conferences.
What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
I have made contacts "behind the scenes" which enriched my connections with other design educators as well as other designers across Canada.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
The RGD plays a vital role in the design industry. They support graphic designers in all professional aspects, they organize conferences, events and awards, provide information on ethics and contracts, involve and mentor students and new designers and provide a platform to publish and present design research. Perhaps most importantly, the RGD helps connect designers with each other, which fosters a friendly, supportive community of design professionals.
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?
Volunteering with the RGD gives me a chance to step back from my day-to-day studio or teaching practice and instead to think about design as a bigger picture and then to actually contribute to that vision. Knowing that I am actively contributing to my profession's community is a reward unto itself. But on top of that, I have met great people who run the RGD, I have increased my network of both design and design teaching colleagues and I have been inspired by others who are volunteering for the RGD.
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
I would like to secure space for the RGD events at VCC again in the future since my job allows me to do that. Plus as a design educator, I would like to help with initiatives that specifically benefit design students and new designers. I was a self-employed designer for 27 years, so I have a lot of experience to pass along.
In fact, I can pass along some advice right now: Don't let the client define your terms of engagement. Charge a professional rate. Do a proper signed contract. Get a 50% deposit. Once the client is onboard, hold up your part of the deal: Always communicate. Deliver good work. On time. Easy!
Sigrid Albert RGD has been the principal of her own design studio since the 1990s, specializing in publication and book design for both print and on-screen media. She enjoys organizing complex information into a visually pleasing format. She has also been a part-time design educator for 14 years and in 2022 she became full-time Department Head of Digital Media Design at Vancouver Community College, where she is trying to befriend schedules, spreadsheets, being an administrator and curriculum developer. And of course, she still works with a client or two.