What is RGD?

Through RGD, Canadian designers exchange ideas, educate and inspire, set professional standards and build a strong, supportive community dedicated to advocating for the value of design.

The Association of Registered Graphic Designers is a non-profit, professional Association that represents over 4,100 design practitioners, including firm owners, freelancers, managers, educators and students. 

RGD was created by an Act of the Ontario Legislature (Bill Pr 56) and is the only graphic design association in North America to have this type of legislation. Bill Pr 56 "enables the Association to govern and discipline its members," and also states, "Every member of the Association who meets the qualifications and conditions as set out in the by-laws of the Association may use the designations 'Registered Graphic Designer' and 'RGD'."
Registered Graphic Designer and RGD are Official Marks adopted by the Association (advertised in Vol. 48, No. 2460 of the Trade-marks Journal on December 19, 2001) and it is an offence under federal trade-marks law to use them without the Association's written authorization.
The RGD and Registered Graphic Designer designations are signals of quality and competence to the profession, public and government. Successful candidates have met a rigorous set of standards that includes documented levels of relevant, professional education and experience as well as competence in the areas of business, design principles, research and ethics demonstrated through the successful completion of RGD's certification process, which includes an online multiple choice test and a virtual 1/2 hour portfolio presentation.

Our vision is for a graphic design profession that is broadly valued for its contribution to life, commerce and society.

  • 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.

  • Founders

    RGD Founders

    Pauline Jarworski
    Michael Large
    Ivy Li RGD Emeritus
    Helen Mah
    Rod Nash RGD
    Albert Ng
    Rene Schoepflin RGD Emeritus
    Robert Smith RGD
    Philip Sung RGD Emeritus


    Outstanding Founding Contributors

    Catherine Didulka RGD
    Colleen Lander
    Don Newgren RGD Emeritus
    Joanne Radford
    Dianne Semark
    Tiit Telmet RGD Emeritus
    Shelley Warsh RGD