Society of Graphic Designers of Canada

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Society of Graphic Designers of Canada
Abbreviation GDC
Founded 1956 (1956)[1]
Founder Frank Davies, John Gibson, Frank Newfeld, Leslie Smart[1]
Type Professional Association
Registration no. 0994952[2]
  • Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Area served
Official languages
English, French
Key people
President Adrian Jean CGD
Affiliations Icograda[1]
Formerly called
Society of Typographic Designers of Canada[1]

The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) is Canada's national professional graphic design society.[3] The GDC is a member-based organization of design professionals, educators, administrators, students, and associates in communications, marketing, media and design-related fields.[4]

GDC was Canada’s first distinct group to professionalize graphic design as a distinct field.[5]


The GDC was founded in 1956 as the Society of Typographic Designers of Canada,[1][6]:14 with a statement mission “to build up a professional status by accepting professional responsibilities”, “to encourage printers, publishers and others to help them in their efforts towards higher standards in printed communications“, and “to increase public awareness of the benefits which we all derive from good design and craftsmanship”.[7]:57 In 1968 it changed its name to the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada[1][6]:17, note 7 and created the MGDC (Professional Member[8]) certification.[7]:57

By the early 1970s, several other design associations had been founded and the GDC was no longer truly national. In 1974, with the help of Design Canada, GDC in Ontario called a meeting in Ottawa to meet with the other associations to discuss establishing a single national presence,[9]:10 and the Council of Regional Representatives was formed.[1] It joined Icograda in the same year,[1] then in 1976 it was incorporated by federal charter.[2][7]:57[9]:11

In September 2010 the GDC adopted membership changes to replace the then-current MGDC and LGDC (Licentiate Member[8]) certifications[10][11][12] with a new CGD (Certified Graphic Designer) certification[11][13] in order to reduce confusion over the meaning of the MGDC designation.[10] The CGD certification mark was registered in 2011.[14]


The GDC has been an advocate and resource for Canada's graphic and communication design profession since 1956. The GDC maintains a national certified body of graphic designers and promotes high standards of graphic design and ethical business practices, for the benefit of Canadian industry, commerce, public service and education.

Through the media, publications, seminars, events, conferences and exhibits, the GDC builds awareness of graphic and communication design and its essential role in business and society.

Since 1960, the GDC has been recognizing as Fellows those designers who make major contributions to Canadian graphic design. Designers who have received the honour include Allan Fleming (1960), Burton Kramer (1975), Chris Yaneff (1983), Paul Arthur (1996), Jim Rimmer (2007), and Mark Busse (2014).[15]


As of July 2014, GDC consists of nine chapters across Canada, facilitating a national, ongoing exchange of ideas and information for designers and students:[16]

  • Alberta North — Amanda Schutz CGD, President[17]
  • Alberta South
  • Arctic — Mark Rutledge CGD, President[18]
  • Atlantic — Larry Burke CGD, President[19]
  • BC Mainland — Johnathon Strebly, President[20]
  • BC Vancouver Island — Aaron Heppell CGD, President[21]
  • Manitoba — Adrian Shum CGD, President[22]
  • Saskatchewan North
  • Saskatchewan South
  • Members At Large (including Ontario and Quebec)


GDC is a professional member of Icograda (International Council of Communication Design), the worldwide non-governmental body representing the graphic design profession.[23] This provides GDC members with the opportunity for international recognition, professional development and a global perspective on graphic design.

The Société des designers graphiques du Québec (SDGQ), representing graphic designers in the province of Quebec, has a formal relationship with the GDC.

CGD Certification[edit]

The portfolio review portion of the certification process, called a “case study review” by the GDC, is carried out quarterly in each chapter with a rotating team of CGD-certified examiners called standards officers. The review process is a single-blind setup where only the GDC membership chair has knowledge of the candidate’s identity. In additional to the case study review, candidates are required to be members with a minimum of 7 years of combined work experience and post-secondary design education, and are required to abide by a strict code of ethics and also respect the GDC’s sustainable design principles. The goal of these certification process and requirements is to enable a designer with CGD certification to be recognized across Canada as a highly qualified professional with an excellent standard of work and ethical business conduct.[24][25][26]

Unlike Association of Registered Graphic Designers’ RGD certification process, CGD certification does not require a written examination.[7]:58

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "About GDC". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Federal Corporation Information - 0994952". Corporations Canada. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Information for foreign-trained graphic designers". Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials. 2011-10-18. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ Bostic, Mary Burzlaf, ed. (2011). 2012 Artist’s & Graphic Designer's Market (37th ed.). F+W Media. p. 623. ISBN 978-1-4403-1418-6. 
  5. ^ Duncan. "Graphic Art and Design / Robert Stacey". Modern Canada (Weblog post). Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Speller, Randall (2012) [2006]. "Hidden Collections: The Invisible World of English Canadian Book Illustration and Design." (PDF). Essays in the History of Art Librarianship in Canada. ARLIS/NA Canada. pp. 13–28. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d Brooker, Kevin (November 2013). "Professional Differences". Applied Arts Magazine 28 (5): 56–65. ISSN 1196-1775. 
  8. ^ a b Lin, Danny (December 30, 2010). "GDC Alberta South Sustainable Design Survey". Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "50 years of Canadian design" (PDF). Design Edge Canada: 10–14. Jul–Aug 2006. ISSN 1718-0643. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Roodenburg, Rod (September 17, 2010). "GDC Adopts New Designation for its Professional Members: CGD". gdc (Mailing list). Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (September 17, 2010). "GDC Adopts New Mark: CGD". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  12. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "GDC Certification". Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  13. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (October 19, 2010). "GDC Adopts Membership Changes in Historic Meeting". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  14. ^ "CGD" (PDF). Trade-marks Journal (Canadian Intellectual Property Office) 58 (2962): 220–221. August 3, 2011. ISSN 1701-4751. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "GDC Fellows". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  16. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "About GDC Chapters". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  17. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "Alberta North: About our Chapter". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  18. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "Arctic: About Our Chapter". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  19. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "Atlantic: Executive". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  20. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "BC Mainland: Executive". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  21. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "Vancouver Island: About Our Chapter". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  22. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "Manitoba: About the Manitoba Chapter". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Icograda Members". Icograda. Retrieved July 16, 2014. 
  24. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "How to become CGD Certified". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  25. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "Case Study Review Criteria". Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  26. ^ Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. "CGD™ Certification". Retrieved July 16, 2014. 

External links[edit]