The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) is proud to announce the election of Mark Rutledge CGD™ as its 34th National President at the annual general meeting that was held in Vancouver on June 1, 2018. Mark is the first president elected from the Arctic Chapter where he was president from 2014 to 2018.
Mark resides and works in Whitehorse, and is confident that leading from the Arctic will ensure a broader awareness of the GDC for designers in Canada’s north.
“When I look at the diversity of our membership and the uniqueness of each chapter, and how each chapter is woven into the beautiful tapestry that is the GDC, it makes me proud to take the leadership role as the National President,” notes Mark. “And as an Indigenous person, I've always made a concerted effort to raise awareness of, and about Canada's first peoples, not only in my private life, but also as a professional. In my new role, I will continue to do so. I’ll look for opportunities to ensure that all of Canada's voices are heard and included.”
Recently, Mark founded a GDC scholarship at the GDC Foundation, honouring his mother Cheryl Rutledge, to encourage indigenous youth to pursue a design career. “I’m not here to do this for myself,” says a humble but passionate Rutledge about his craft, “I’m working for the next seven generations. I keep moving forward for youth, taking with me their spark of potential because that ember can become their fire of creativity and opportunity.”
Mark graduated from Toronto’s Seneca College graphic design program. His career began in 1996 at the now defunct magazine “Aboriginal Voices” where he was Creative Director and Lead Designer. He then moved on to agencies like Hangar 13 in Ottawa, where he quickly built a reputation for innovative work for non-profit and grassroots organizations, as well as with Fortune 500 companies Royal Bank, Xerox and Bell Mobility.
A proud Ojibwa from the Little Grand Rapids First Nation, Mark currently leads the design team at Animikii, a 100 per cent Indigenous-owned web services company. The firm uses technology for social, economic and cultural initiatives with a goal to achieve better outcomes for Indigenous people. Although based in British Columbia on Coast Salish territory, the company works with groups across North America.
Before being picked up by Animikii, Mark worked as a freelance designer on projects with Yukon-based companies and organizations, Yukon Quest, Carcross/Tagish First Nations, the Yukon Wildlife Preserve, Gwaandak Theatre, Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre and others. In addition to Mark’s private and public sector design experience, he is one of the few designers with deep roots and experience designing for Canada’s Indigenous communities and organizations. While his portfolio is rich in annual reports, corporate brochures, research reports and book cover designs, Mark’s real passion is branding and visual identity. He’s worked with many organizations to design robust visual identity programs.
He’s well supported by his peers. “We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Mark’s calibre step forward to take the helm,” says Johnathon Strebly, outgoing GDC President. “Mark’s natural ability to lead from within will provide an inclusive future in Canadian design we can all be proud of.”