Certification Committee


  • Establishing and updating the eligibility process for taking the RGD Certification Process.
  • Creating a method for testing these candidates. A method that makes sure they meet the standards required to be certified as Registered Graphic Designers.
  • Ensuring the assessment is professionally credible, feasible, defensible, affordable and fair.


  • (a) Align RGD's Certification Processes with GDC


    (b) Communication of Process

    - Review information on RGD website with goal of simplifying / clarifying

    - Update Info Session presentation with goal of increasing attendees becoming RGD

    - Create a simple checklist for applying and going through the process


    (c) Accessibility Guidelines - Revise and integrate content into one document to be printed for DT2018 TO


    (d) Preparation Materials / Support

    - Develop helpful materials to assist those going through the Certification Process

    - Revisit Study Group and identify plan to initiate something sustainable long-term


    (e) Alternate Sections - Develop 1-2 alternate sections of the Online Test for User Experience (possibly sections that would be more valuable/relevant for design managers and/or design educators than the existing sections (not to test their overall competence).


    (f) Follow-up

    - Draft letters for successful candidates to get permission for testimonials / case study examples.

    - Gather experiences of successful candidates while the process is still fresh.

    - Identify ways to congratulate/promote newly-Certified RGDs

  • Reviewing the Eligibility Criteria & Application Process

    RGD's Certification Committee works to ensure candidates have an appropriate amount of relevant work experience and/or education to ensure they can and will succeed through the RGD Certification Process. The Committee also works to ensure the process is smooth, rewarding and not too time-consuming for candidates.


    Online Test 

    The Certification Committee monitors success rates for all 5 sections of the 75-minute open book, multiple-choice test that must be taken by candidates. The sections currently cover Business; Accessibility; Design Research; Design Principles; and RGD’s Rules of Professional Conduct. The Committee updates questions, reviews suggested texts and alters passing marks based on past candidates' success rates. The Committee is also working to ensure the relevance of the process, particularly as it pertains to the results that candidates' receive.


    Portfolio Presentation

    Candidates present 6 portfolio pieces virtually to 3 senior professionals over 30 minutes to demonstrate the successful application of strategic design principles to marketing and communications challenges. Certification Committee Members approve new Portfolio Evaluators and participate as Evaluators themselves.  


    Study Group

    The Study Group helps candidates prepare for the RGD Certification Process. Meetings take place weekly and are scheduled based on participants' availability. The Study Group shares resources, reviews notes and provides support through discussion, practice quizzes and peer-to-peer practice portfolio interviews.

  • Chair: Randal Boutilier RGD, Toronto

    Randal is founding principal of 12thirteen, a firm focused on serving the non-profit and performing arts sectors. Word-of-mouth promotion has grown his client list from small businesses and independent artists to York University and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.


    Greg Dubeau RGD, Halifax

    Greg is an art director and graphic designer with degrees in both graphic design and illustration. His illustrative approach has been used in branding, marketing and advertising campaigns for both national clients and small market entrepreneurial ventures. Notable clients include McDonald’s, Ronald McDonald House Charities, PGA TOUR Canada, Canadian Institute of Forestry, Business Development Bank of Canada, Lakehead University and the National Post.


    James Kuo RGD, Toronto

    James is a multi-disciplinary art director, designer and design entrepreneur whose work encompasses print and digital media. Previously, James was Senior Designer of Graphic Design and Digital Media at the MOMA and freelance Senior Designer at the ROM. For nearly 10 years, he designed digital and print collateral projects for all of MoMA’s exhibitions and programs. 


    Jennifer Laing RGD, Toronto

    Jennifer is Design Director at Skylight Communication. Her over 15 years in the communications industry includes art direction and design for branding, print and digital media. After a number of years honing skills in the agency world she started an independent graphic communication studio in 2006. 


    Umar Shahzad RGD, Markham

    Umar’s experience has led him to work with many small businesses, organizations and startups. He works closely with his clients to deliver a full range of services from branding, web design and development, to print collateral. He has worked for many organizations as an in-house creative, as well as for himself as a freelance designer. As a Student RGD, Umar served as as an Advisor to the RGD Board. 


    Stüssy Tschudin RGD, Toronto

    Stüssy is a Founding Principal of Forge Media + Design. Born and raised in Switzerland, he originally was a Swiss banker by day and a graffiti artist by night. He soon realized that his passion for the creative needed to be nourished more and decided to go back to school to become a graphic designer. Stüssy's roles range from creative direction, to quality assurance, to managing various client accounts such as Apple.

    Christina Whitfield RGD, Pickering
    Whether developing creative for international brands such as TRESemmé and Dove, or maintaining brand integrity while bringing the new Milton city logo to life, Christina delights in the variety that graphic design offers. In her 10-year career, she has worked in both print and web. She is currently working to maintain the integrity of Milton’s rebranding and redefine a community’s perceptions through its visual identity.


    Fe Wyma RGD, Harrow

    For more than 20 years, Fe has worked with a range of public and corporate clients across Canada. She is principal designer of Kapwa Communications whose work is founded on the belief that communications is about the power of ideas and the ability to affect positive change in our community through responsible, creative practices. Fe was a design professor at Algonquin College and Georgian College, and this, along with her experiences in Canada’s most northern and southern communities, fuel her desire to stay curious and keep learning. 

  • Exam Board Report presented by Michael J. Young RGD at RGD's AGM on April 27, 2017


    Our mandate is to:

    1. Establish and update the eligibility process for those interested in becoming Certified RGDs.

    2. Create a method for testing RGD candidates that ensures they meet the standards required to be Certified.

    3. Ensure the assessment is professionally credible, feasible, defensible and affordable and fair.


    In 2015, we transitioned RGD’s Certification Process to be completely virtual. A candidate takes a multiple-choice Test online with a virtual live proctor monitoring them. Then they present their portfolio virtually to three RGD Examiners who each, along with the RGD candidate, participate from their own remote location. Changes to the process over the past year include extending the multiple-choice Test by 5 minutes, refining questions in the various sections of the Test and revising the application form and criteria for candidates applying as Managers.


    One of the main focus’ for the Committee this past year has been working to increase the numbers of those getting their RGD designation. Surveys of successful RGD candidates confirm that their experiences going through the positive are extremely positive. They repeat phrases like “I wish I had done it sooner” and “I just needed to find the time”. To address this, in 2016, we created quarterly incentives designed to give prospective candidates the push they need to make the time. We began with an invitation to go through RGD Certification by Association of Registered Graphic Designers AGM Minutes Apr 27, 2017 5 a date in August to get a free registration to DesignThinkers. This was an overwhelming success with many candidates applying in advance of the deadline. We then added an incentive to complete the process by the end of the year to get free dues for the following year. Again, the result was a significant increase in applications. Now we have quarterly incentives, which will be promoted heavily on the website and through email on an on-going basis.


    Given that we have more candidates becoming Certified RGDs, we now need to work to make the process as efficient and manageable as possible. One important goal is recruiting more Portfolio Evaluators. Currently we have a roster of about 20 active reviewers. Given that every Presentation requires 3 Evaluators and we have on average 1-2 a week, there is a definite need for more! I encourage all of those RGDs here today to talk to me after the official meeting if you would like to get involved in this way. I have been participating as an Evaluator for several years and I can tell you it’s an amazingly rewarding and enjoyable experience.


    Finally, as Stussy mentioned, the coming year will see us working with the GDC to integrate our two processes for Certification into one consistent system with one common designation. This will inevitably present many challenges but we know that success is in the best interests of both our organizations and all graphic designers across the country and even internationally. The Committee alongside the RGD Board will be working diligently over the coming year to see this goal accomplished and we look forward to having much to report on our successes at our 2018 Annual Meeting a year from now.


    And finally a thank you to all of the Committee: our President, Stussy Tschudin, and my fellow Committee Members Randal Boutilier, Greg Dubeau, Jennifer Laing, Umar Shahzad, Christina Whitfield and Fe Wyma. Also, to our Advisory Committee Annette Blum, Lionel Gadoury, Terry Hill, Rod Nash and Adam Rallo.

  • Criteria:

    • Must be a certified Registered Graphic Designer
    • Time to contribute to the work of the Board via email feedback, videoconference discussions and independent and group work.
    • Prior or current experience on the RGD Board is preferred.


    Get Involved

    • Those interested in joining the Committee should fill out the online form: Get Involved with RGD.
    • Those interested in coming Portfolio Evaluators for Candidates for RGD Certification should fill out the online form here.
    • Click here for a list of initiatives and other ways to get involved with the Committee's activities.