CGD Certification

The CGD certification mark allows designers to demonstrate that their services have met a rigorously defined standard.

About CGD Certification

CGD™ Certification is a mark that indicates that a GDC Member has been assessed within their area of proficiency (Designer, Academic, Leader), and has been determined to be of a professional standard. This standard includes a high degree of competence within their area of proficiency, compliance to a professional conduct code of ethics and a commitment to sustainable practice.

The CGD certification mark is Canada’s first, and only, certification mark for graphic and communication designers. CGD Certification assures those seeking design and marketing services that the provider has met a rigorous and professional standard of services.
We believe the CGD Certification mark is a beneficial designation that serves its professional members as well as those seeking design services.

Why Certify

  • A means for businesses and designer buyers to more readily discern who to seek out for consult.
  • A means for CGD Certified members to distinguish their services from the competitive landscape.
  • An opportunity to elevate the role of design in society and allows the implementation of strategic design solutions to have positive economic, social, cultural, and environmental benefit.
  • An opportunity to elevate the importance of the role of design education to the profession, as well as the intrinsic value of design education to business and society.
  • An opportunity to elevate the importance of sustainable considerations being applied and integrated into design strategies and solutions.
  • A resource to business about where to source qualified, ethical design services that have met a rigorous standard.

As businesses and organizations in need of professional design services continue to become more aware of the importance of design to resolve marketing & communications challenges, a method to distinguish those most qualified for the task becomes increasingly valued. The GDC's CGD Certification mark serves as Canada's only Nationally recognized mark for Graphic/Communication Design Professionals.

Why is CGD certification important to educators?  Because GDC established national standards for the profession, certification of services, internships and ethical practice. GDC serves as a benchmark for program development and curriculum.

How to become Certified

CGD Certification assures those seeking design and marketing services that the provider has met a rigorous and professional standard of services. It is recognized across Canada as a mark of professional services and ethical business conduct.

The CGD certification mark provides designers with an opportunity to prove the standard of their services and differentiate themselves in a competitive marketplace. It indicates a commitment to ethical practice and adherence to the GDC’s sustainability principles. CGD Certification is available for practicing designers and professional design educators.

CGD Certification is licensed to any Canadian who has completed at least seven years, in total, of combined graphic/communication design education and/or professional practice, and whose work and professional integrity are of acceptable standards. CGD Certification is also granted to non-Canadians who are living and practicing within Canada.

To become CGD certified, applicants are required to submit an application form and curriculum vitae. Designers also undergo a confidential case study/portfolio review. Case study reviews are generally held quarterly by each chapter.

CGD Application Form (2015)


Designers Educators
  1. Application Form
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. 7 Case Studies
  1. Application Form
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Letter from recognized design
    program confirming teaching
    commitment and role


GDC membership is $200 per year. If you have received CGD Certification, annual fees for licensing the CGD Certification mark are only an additional $100 ($300 total per year). Membership fees are paid annually on the join date anniversary. You can set your membership to renew automatically, pay the dues in a single payment, or have them divided into 12 monthly installments.

For details on where to send your completed CGD certification application, please contact your local membership chair (For Members at Large, applicant's work samples are sent to any one of the nine local Chapters):