- Establish eligibility guidelines for RGD Certification candidates.
- Create a method for testing these candidates that ensure they meet the standards required to be certified as Registered Graphic Designers.
- Ensure the Certification Process 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
(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).
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Adam is a passionate design educator, and the Principal and founder of Catalyst Workshop, a Toronto based design & development consultancy. His research is focused on building a seminal body of knowledge and policy recommendations to increase the physical functional diversity of post-secondary design institutions. A vocal proponent of accessible and inclusive user-centric design, Adam is passionate about creating positive social impact through the interaction of design, pedagogy, and technology.
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.
Eric Forest RGD, Toronto
Eric is a graphic designer, photographer, and researcher. He has been employed as an in-house designer, writer, and photographer by large municipalities, police services, and international law firms. As a contract creative, Eric has worked with a range of businesses, and in particular restaurants from the national, regional, and local scale. He is a graduate student at OCADU, focusing his research on facilitating design thinking and literacy for blind people by increasing accessibility in woodworking shops.
James Kuo RGD, Toronto
James is a multi-disciplinary art director, senior designer and design entrepreneur whose work encompasses print-and-digital media. Previously, James was a senior designer of Graphic Design and Digital Media at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York, as well as a freelance senior designer at Royal Ontario Museum. For decades, he has designed digital-and-print collateral projects for MoMA and ROM’s exhibitions and programs as well as design studios in Toronto.
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.
Rod Nash RGD, Vineland
Rod experienced the thrill successful communication design can bring early in his career in Australia. At J. Walter Thompson in Melbourne, Rod and agency colleagues convinced a national advertiser to integrate collateral with the advertising. What now seems an obvious design strategy was new for large ad agencies at that time. Rod is an active advisor to the RGD Board and Creative Director at Nash & Nash Ltd.
Megan Oldfield RGD, Toronto
Megan is the founding principal and creative director of Field Design Office and a design educator in Toronto. Partnering with clients in entertainment, arts, hospitality and corporate sectors, she specializes in creative direction and design spanning branding, packaging, film titling, wayfinding and exhibition design–most notably for Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh on The Happy Show in Toronto.
Victor Szeto RGD, Toronto
Victor is the Creative Director at Green Living Enterprises. Having worked in a variety of media in the graphic design field, Victor brings more than a decade of invaluable visual knowledge to the table. He is proud and fortunate to constantly be collaborating with passionate and interdisciplinary teams where he gets to create, develop and execute a variety of visual communications on a daily basis. Projects he’s been involved with include environmental graphics, campaigns, and collateral for the ROM, Cineplex, Scotiabank, TD Bank, Toronto Hydro, the Pembina Institute, University of Toronto, Eva’s Initiatives, the Green Living Show and the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression.
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, TorontoWhether 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.
Presented by recorded video by Randal Boutilier RGD at RGD's AGM on April 25, 2018
Certification is the lifeblood of RGD – and it is a hefty portion of the workload for RGD staff. From making presentations about the process and fielding questions, to organizing portfolio reviewers, to providing candidates with test results, Heidi takes the lead in keeping momentum for those who are going through the certification process while Hilary and our Committee focus on making the process more fair, relevant and valuable. I cannot begin to explain the work of the Committee without thanking them all for their constructive judgement through a year of exciting change.
2017 was a busy year for the Committee – seeing progressive change on three fronts that align with the whole certification process:
- Promotion of the Certification Process
- Streamlining the Certification Application
- Integrating RGD’s Portfolio Evaluation Standards with the GDC
The promotion of the certification process took place in two ways – with the creation of brief promotional videos and simplifying certification information through a virtual presentation.
We must thank Julian Brown RGD of On The Chase, whose brief videos help breakdown so-called certification myths. These tongue-in-cheek videos touch on the notions that certification is too difficult and too specialized in its focus. By tackling the daunting idea of certification with a touch of humour, we hope to broaden the appeal for those who are pursuing their professional RGD designation.
The RGD Certification overview presentation was updated with a fresher design and a co-presentation format with RGD staff and Committee Members. The bulk of these presentations are delivered virtually, and promotional offerings that waive application fees are getting pickup from those who attend. Work continues to refine our presentation deck, with the goal of showing a new presentation at DesignThinkers in Toronto this fall.
The application process has been vastly improved through the efforts of Umar Shahzad – who designed a much more efficient and stylish fillable PDF form, allowing us to shift RGD’s application submission from a clunky web-based interface. This updated format holds a visual standard that goes beyond the digital offering, and gives reviewers an all-access document to review the work and thoughts of those who are taking their first step on the certification journey.
Once people have gone through the initial application, they are ready to take part in the online test. RGD’s Certification Process went completely virtual in 2015 – and since then our committee has ensured that the process remains accessible and fair. Feedback from those who have gone through the process is reviewed by the committee on a monthly basis – and adjustments continue to be made to section timing, clarity of information about the testing process, and the update of questions that prove difficult for candidates.
The online test will be an area of significant development in the coming year. Professional designers are being called up on to have significant knowledge and understanding in the areas of research, digital integration and strategy. In an effort to broaden the relevance of the RGD designation to managers and others, the Committee is reviewing additional optional sections for the test. Thanks to a growing interest from select authors, we plan to develop new questions and study materials to broaden the reach of the testing into areas that focus on Strategy, UX and Design Management.
In the certification process, the online test is followed by a ½ hour portfolio evaluation. Even with over 30 Certified RGDs, it can be difficult to synchronize the schedules of 3 working professionals for all of our virtual portfolio presentations. For that reason, we continue to grow our numbers, with a consistent desire to keep a fair gender balance, and attract more reviewers whose expertise are in fields outside of traditional graphic design.
We certainly cannot present a report without mentioning the progress that has been made toward aligning the professional Certification Processes of RGD and GDC. Working closely with GDC’s Executive Director and Certification Chair, Hilary and Stüssy have taken the lead on this, with our Committee providing in-depth comparisons of our two portfolio application forms and evaluation processes.
The discussions are at a critical stage as we advance towards the GDC’s Annual Meeting in June, when their National Representatives will vote on many of our proposals. But with the continued focus on open dialogue and collaboration between our organizations, we feel very close to setting common standards that will unify the professional design industry in Canada.
This has been my first half-year on the Committee, and I wouldn’t have been able to showcase these accomplishments without our thoughtful and active members. Thank you to all of the Committee: RGD’s President, Stüssy Tschudin, and my fellow Committee Members Greg Dubeau, James Kuo, Jennifer Laing, Umar Shahzad, Christina Whitfield, Fe Wyma, who unfortunately has just had to step down from the Committee, and our newest Member Eric Forest. Also, to our Advisory Committee Rod Nash and Adam Rallo. Your perspectives and sage guidance has been tremendous for raising the bar on the standards and value of the RGD designation.
- 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.
- 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.