Volunteer of the Month for August 2023
The RGD thanks Chris Dickert RGD for his contributions to the RGD community.
"We are so thrilled to be able to benefit from Chris’ writing abilities, particularly his expertise with grant writing. I look forward to working with Chris on many more projects in support of creating a more inclusive and accessible design community." — Hilary Ashworth, RGD Executive Director
How long have you been volunteering with the RGD and in what capacity?
After three stickers on my RGD Certificate and many years designing before that, I thought that it was time to give something back to the profession. I started volunteering this year on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. At my last job, I was the lead communicator for Indigenous health programs, which reignited an interest in social justice issues. It’s been a great experience so far.
What contribution are you most proud of / What experience/memory stands out for you?
I’m really proud of the updates to the Code of Ethics the Committee has been working on about cultural appropriation and Reconciliation. There’s still lots of work left to do on that, people to consult, but it’s progress that we can all be proud of as a profession.
What is the most surprising/unexpected thing to come out of volunteering with the RGD?
They say you get what you put into it. I was surprised by how much more connected I feel to other designers and to the profession. I’m a self-taught designer and I’ve never worked in a studio setting with other designers, so I’ve often felt quite disconnected and joining the RGD was partly motivated by that feeling, so volunteering has really helped with that.
What have you learned about the industry since volunteering for the RGD?
Since I started volunteering I’ve been able to connect with other designers who care about accessibility and inclusive design issues and I’m really happy to see that the industry cares about getting it right. Maybe it’s just because I’m on the D&I Committee, but I choose to be an optimist.
Based on your experience volunteering with the RGD, how would you describe the role of the organization in the industry?
The RGD has a really important role to play — setting standards, sharing knowledge and best practices and advocating for the profession as a whole. But more than that and especially in the post-pandemic era, it connects designers, many of whom are toiling away at home in front of their laptops, talking to their pets. Maybe that’s just me, though?
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?
I would recommend it to every designer in the organization, even as a student. We all have something to offer to the profession and by volunteering with the RGD, you can make a real impact on design across the country.
Do you have thoughts on what you might like to do as a volunteer with the RGD in the future?
I’m not sure. I really enjoy the D&I Committee and I’ve met some great designers from across the country, but I think it could be fun to contribute elsewhere too. My grad studies were in history, so I would love to be able to spread the word about Canadian design history in some way. Does the RGD need a historian in residence?
Chris Dickert RGD is a graphic designer and copywriter, specializing in editorial design, branding and data visualization. He studied philosophy and history at Simon Fraser University, where a chance request for a poster introduced him to the wide and wonderful world of graphic design. Since then, Chris has been combining his love of the written word with design, first for over 10 years in corporate communications, and more recently at Visual Capitalist. At the same time, he is principal for his own design studio, with clients in the tech, culture and post-secondary education sectors. When not designing or writing, Chris can be found playing the banjo, working on his chess game or chasing after his dog.