In 1956 four Toronto designers – Frank Davies, John Gibson, Frank Newfeld and Sam Smart formed the Society of Typographic Designers of Canada (TDC). In 1968, to indicate the wider interests of the members, it was renamed the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC). The GDC became a national association in 1974 and was granted a Federal Charter in 1976.


By 1984, other design professions - Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design and Industrial Design - had been given Acts in Provincial Legislatures recognizing the role of the respective Associations in governing and granting members the right to exclusive professional designations.


Graphic Design needed to align itself with these professions. RGD's founders put in many years of hard work and sacrifice to make this alignment happen.


By 1996 four chapters of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada had in place the requirements necessary. On April 25, 1996 the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario passed Bill Pr 56, enabling The Association to govern and grant members the exclusive use of the designation “RGD” and “Registered Graphic Designer”.


In 1999 a separate RGD Examination Board was established to administer the Registered Graphic Designers Qualification Examination.


RGD is Canada’s only accredited body of graphic designers with a government-legislated title.