A post about my Registered Graphic Design (RGD) certificate came up in my Facebook feeds the other day. It was a pivotal moment in my life and career when I received this designation and I thought I would share some insight into this journey. 5 years ago, I decided it was time to prove (more to myself than anyone else) that I know my stuff. It was a personal goal that I knew would benefit my career. I embarked on the journey to becoming an RGD and have never looked back.
There are a series of steps to become registered. First, I had to submit an application to be accepted into the program. Once accepted, the applicant has to meet several levels of criteria and it is not guaranteed the applicant will be successful. I had to prove that I had seven years of professional experience, take a test, submit and present a portfolio including 6 pieces of work to a panel of three senior practitioners. Although I am confident in my work, it is still nerve-wracking to present to your peers. It took me 6 months to complete my designation and it was well worth the time and effort.
Anyone can learn design and sell those services however, there are a lot of unethical practices in web and graphic design. Becoming an RGD gives me and all of my clients that assurance that what I provide is ethical and backed by an association. It also proves that I know my stuff, I have the experience and I am proud to be part of a bigger design community. Our entire team at Green Monkey adheres to these practices too.
The RGD website explains how the association is governed. “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’.”
Once a candidate receives their designation the education doesn’t stop. I’ve been in this industry for 14 years now but being a part of RGD allows me to connect with like-minded professionals. They offer many resources, workshops and conferences to keep designers current. I have enjoyed many of these opportunities that benefit our team and clients as well. I am so glad I pushed myself five years ago to go after this certification, ok I will say it, I am proud of myself! It was the right time in my career to get that extra level of validation for both my personal and professional aspirations. We feel it helps our clients and team too.