Ethics Committee


  • Review and revise RGD’s Rules of Professional Conduct to ensure they are clear and explicit on specific situations that are common in the industry
  • Advise and advocate on ethical issues addressed in RGD’s Code of Conduct, as they arise from both design professionals, educators, managers and/or buyers of design
  • Identity and advise on opportunities for RGD to help increase standards of professional conduct and ethics for all graphic designers


  • (a) Rules of Professional Conduct/Code of Conduct
    • Develop resources/strategies to promote the new joint document with the GDC

    (b) Best Practices
    • Finalize the competitions and guidelines for skills tests (with possible examples/templates for companies to use)
    • Develop best practice document for educators introducing competitions into the classroom
    • Consider additional other resources/guidelines for other areas of design with ethical implications, ie. sustainable graphic design, cultural appropriation

    (c) Advocacy
    • Promote new competition guidelines; identify opportunities to distribute these and our spec policy
    • Review and update our spec policy document/resources
    • Review and update our internship guidelines – consider advocacy initiative related to this

    Ethical Guidelines

    RGD’s ethical guidelines for designers are outlined in our Rules of Professional Conduct, to which all Members agree to adhere.


    Advocacy against Spec

    The Committee combats requests for spec and crowdsourcing of design by communicating best practices to clients and providing resources such as to designers to understand and address various scenarios when they are asked to do work for free.


    Ethical Best Practices & Advocacy

    The Committee works to develop resources and guidelines, and advocates for best practices in the areas of accessible design, salaries and billing, pro bono work, internships and other areas of design with ethical implications.


    Chair & VP: Jennifer Taback RGD, Sudbury

    Jenn is Founding Partner of Design de Plume. She is a skilled project manager whose background working in a variety of fields allows her to combine the best creative and technical practices available to create beautiful, cost-effective campaigns for her clients. She is from the Shawanaga First Nation. 


    Vice Chair: Wendy Gray RGD, Toronto

    Big-picture thinking, strategic solutions, happy clients, the discovery of young talent and the privilege of teaching, mentoring, judging and otherwise contributing to the professional design industry are what continue to motivate Wendy after two decades at the helm of Gravity Inc.


    Logan Brazeau Provisional RGD, Peterborough

    Logan is the founder of Hatch Creative, an award-winning design studio deeply rooted in branding and illustration. Logan and his team thrive on finding new and compelling paths to engage with audiences in authentic and memorable ways. Logan received his design education at Durham College of Applied Arts and Technologies, where he graduated with honours. His work has been recognized internationally for design excellence and awarded by LogoLounge, Applied Arts, and the Redgees.


    Samantha Cox, Mississauga


    Evelyn Csiszar RGD, Toronto

    Evelyn is founder and lead UX/UI designer at Collective Experience, which specializes in digital design and strategy services for  organizations serving the public sector. Her lifelong fascination with studying how people think and act has led to a deep passion for user experience design. Evelyn has worked on projects for organizations that include the University of Toronto, BMO, HydroOne, Futurpreneur, CNIB and the Ontario Science Centre.


    Ania Czupajlo RGD, Toronto

    Ania is a brand and graphic designer, based in downtown Toronto. She specializes in visual communication (print/digital) and marketing content. She's an art director of an award-winning magazine Principal Connections (a magazine for principals and vice-principals in Ontario) and a writer for her Tech Talk column, where she writes about technology that would be beneficial in the education sector. Ania is also a published poet and is currently working on her very own poetry book.


    Amy Eaton RGD, Toronto

    Amy is a disciplined and talented designer with 8+ years of experience, based in downtown Toronto. She has worked in industries including architecture, publishing, insurance, and tech, focusing on in-house marketing. She has expertise in producing captivating content, designing multi-platform campaigns and creating engaging event experiences. She enjoys taking on new challenges and is always working to master a new skill.


    Caitlin Legere Provisional RGD, Toronto

    Caitlin is known across the advertising industry as a multi-talented, adaptable designer who goes above and beyond for her clients. Working with the globe's biggest brands catapulted Caitlin’s experience to become a seasoned graphic designer with a deep understanding across a variety of verticals. Specializing in categories such as brand development, package design, web design, and social content - Caitlin is an innovative, inspired and resourceful designer with a drive to excel in everything she does.


    Kevin Moran RGD, Toronto

    Kevin Moran is an outside-the-box thinker, an all around creative, well versed in a variety of fields. He has several years under his belt as an in-house designer, illustrator, and most recently as an advertising art director, truly wearing all of these hats and more in each role. He has a knack for creating unique brand identities and conceptualizing big ideas, often seeing through his vision from beginning to end. His rotating roster of growing clients includes MolsonCoors, Lindt & Sprüngli, Meridian Credit Union, Huffington Post, Rogers, and UberEATs.


    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.


    Chelsey Stuart-Duval, Ottawa

    Chelsey is Creative Lead and PR Coordinator at ES Sports | Alison Sheri & Elena Wang, where she coordinates and oversees all print production, graphic arts, digital publishing, and web design/maintenance for two major fashion brands. She also organises seasonal photoshoots, creating and executing eight distinct concepts every year. While completing her professional degree in graphic design from Dawson College, Chelsey ran a chapter of a humanitarian organisation and competed with Team Canada for dragon-boat, winning gold in 24 World competitions over two years. This multi-sectoral experience contributes to her excellence in managing company operations while ensuring continued brand promotion and fostering engagement through advertising and social media.


    Craig Swistun RGD, Toronto

    Craig has been a partner in a design firm, a sole proprietor and has extensive experience leading in-house design teams inside large corporations. He has been a presenter at numerous design conferences and has written extensively on the business of graphic design for a number of publications.


  • Presented on video by Jenn Taback, VP of Ethics & Chair of the Ethics Committee


    The Ethics Committee was created with a mandate that includes revising RGD’s Rules of Professional Conduct as needed; advising on ethical issues and advocating against spec work.


    The focus of the Committee in the last year has been to raise awareness and take action against requests for spec, which builds on our last year goal of being more proactive when it comes to educating designers and public on the topic. More and more we see that those in our community are questioning free work and competitions, and looking for alternative approaches. Students have been especially active in questioning the work that is requested of them from private organizations.


    During the last year we completed a few initiatives that have helped RGD develop best practices and encourage designers to consider more ethical implications of working. The Committee completed the finalized PDF on the Competition Guidelines, a document that provides advice and alternatives for organizations seeking to run design contests which is now available on the RGD website.


    Last April, members raised objections to the Proposed Policies under 4.1.3 Human Rights. The Board has decided to table amending the By-Law and have the Committee conduct a review, along with an audit of similar cultural appropriation policies in anticipation of updating the policy. With the help of Emma McAllister, the committee rewrote the policy and it was approved by the board as more reflective of RGDs mandate.


    For the last 12 months the committee has been working with GDC on aligning our Codes of Conduct so that the certification process will be less confusing and unified. Originally there was only about 20% of the documents to adjusted, which was approved by the Board and is set to be ratified at this AGM. The GDC will be seeking to approve it at their own June AGM.


    As always we continue to address specific spec situations as they are brought to our attention. With the newly created resources, RGD staff have been able to provide quicker turn around on letters to organizations and provide more pro-active solutions that we’ll be able to monitor in the coming months.


    Our 2019/2020 Goals Include:


    1. Expanding on our Rules of Professional Conduct/Code of Conduct by developing resources and strategies to promote the new joint document with the GDC.


    2. Continuing to develop Best Practices documents such as finalizing the competitions and guidelines for skills tests (with possible examples/templates for companies to use). We are also working on developing a best practice document for educators introducing competitions into the classroom. And are continuing to create additional resources/guidelines for other areas of design with ethical implications such as sustainable graphic design and cultural appropriation.


    3. Continuing our Advocacy efforts by promoting the new competition guidelines and identifying opportunities to distribute these and our spec policy. We will be reviewing and updating our spec policy document/resources as well as updating our internship guidelines.



    I would like to thank all of our Committee Members for their work over the past year: Caitlin Legere Provisional RGD; Kevin Moran RGD; Rod Nash RGD; Logan Brazeau Provisional RGD; Evelyn Csiszar RGD; Wendy Gray RGD; Craig Swistun RGD; Stüssy Tschudin; Emma McAllister RGD Emeritus; Laura Sellors RGD. And a special welcome to our newest Member: Ania Czupajlo RGD. And thank you to John Furneaux RGD who stepped down this year.


  • Presented by Jennifer Taback RGD at RGD's AGM on April 25, 2018


    The Ethics Committee was created with a mandate that includes revising RGD’s Rules of Professional Conduct as needed; advising on ethical issues and advocating against spec work.


    The focus of the Committee in the last year has been to continue to lobby against requests for spec and be proactive in our approach to educating both designers and the public on the topic. This was consistent with our goals last year and originated out of a need to create awareness with students who might not be familiar with what spec work is and the dangers of it.


    We expanded on this to explain the differences between spec work and pro bono and how designers can effectively donate their time to meaningful causes. The Ethics Committee updates our 'A Graphic Designer's Guide to Pro Bono Work' to assist designers in the process of working with non-profit organizations on pro bono communications projects. It is available on the RGD website as a PDF download and gives designers information on the benefits of pro bono, how to select a client to work with, the challenges, quotes from current RGDs, and additional resources. 


    We continue to see success in addressing specific spec situations and find that a majority of complaints from designers tend to be much more minor than in previous years, save for those that are issued from municipalities. These continue to be the most harmful, especially to local designers.


    One example was the City of Guelph, which held a contest for the design of graphics to be painted on their water tower. In this case, two designs were submitted to the public for a vote, with a voting option of selecting neither. Out of a total of 2,546 votes, the majority—38 per cent—voted in favour of not displaying either of the final designs on the water tower. This is certainly an outcome that we can use as an example of why not to do spec contests when we are called up to advocate in the future.


    Another area of focus for our Committee was a thorough review of our current Rules of Professional Conduct to ensure they remain relevant and in keeping with current industry and overall business best practices. A number of the Committee’s recommendations, including the addition of Rules related to diversity and respectfulness in the workplace. Further work by the Committee on the Rules will consider the issue of cultural appropriation in the hopes of developing a new policy or best practice that is respectful of cultures without coming into conflict with the important principle of freedom of speech.


    In recent months, Committee Members have been examining the similarities and differences between the RGD Rules of Professional Conduct and the GDC Codes of conduct as part of our goal to align our two certification process. I’m pleased to report that the two documents share many commonalities and very few differences, these being more to the structure of the two documents than anything. We will be reviewing our findings with the GDC over the coming weeks with the goal of creating one unified document.


    A goal for the coming year is to develop competition guidelines that will focus on contests aimed at the general public to design a logo or related items. This document will be especially directed at government administrators, offering them arguments for why they shouldn’t organize design contests and suggesting alternatives that still offer opportunities for community engagement and involvement.


    I would like to thank all of our Committee Members for their work over the past year: Jenny Bowman Provisional RGD, John Furneaux RGD, Evelyn Cziszar RGD, Rod Nash RGD, Craig Swistun RGD, Stüssy Tschudin RGD, Julia Linda Wells RGD as well as our newest members Laura Sellors RGD and Wendy Gray RGD, and Nicholas di Cuia RGD and Ashley Smithers RGD who both recently stepped down from the Committee.

  • Criteria:

    • Interest in and understanding of RGD’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
    • Interest in and understanding of the ethical issues being faced in the industry, including with educational institutions, with clients, within in-house departments and within design firms.
    • Time to contribute to the work of the committee via email feedback, teleconference discussions and independent and group work.
    • Must be a Certified RGDProvisional RGD or Affiliate Member (Affiliates can serve for up to 1 year, during which time they are required to become Certified if they wish to remain on a Committee.)


    Get Involved:

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