GDC Fellow

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Dale Simonson, FGDC

Dale Simonson earned a Graphic and Communication Arts diploma from Douglas College, Surrey, BC, in 1977, and attained professional certification from the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada in 1982. He began his practice with employment in various design agencies in Vancouver, BC, and as an in-house designer for the Expo 86 world's fair. At the close of Expo he co-founded Studio Allsorts, and in the ensuing years built a reputation as an award-winning communication designer, with works exhibited and published locally, nationally and internationally.

His activities on behalf of the profession have encompassed action on boards and committees of organizations including Design Vancouver, Design Now, the Alliance of Professional Design Associations, Design Access, and the Alliance for Canadian Design. As well, he has served in numerous roles for the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC), including Graphex Design Exhibition Chair, BC Chapter President 1988-1989, National Secretary 1992-1999, and National Treasurer 2002-2006. Invitations to lecture at conferences, seminars, and in classrooms led Dale to teaching design at the University College of the Fraser Valley, and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. In 2000, he embarked on his full-time commitment to design education, and in 2002, joined the faculty of Kwantlen University College.

Over the last few years, he has been a member of the development team for a new Bachelor of Design program at Kwantlen, and teaching across a diverse spectrum of the program curriculum. His teaching areas include conceptual development, image development, typography, information design, interactive design, interactive and print software applications, production technology, business processes, and mentoring.

From Brenda Sanderson, Icograda:
I think it was at the AGM in Winnipeg that Dale and I figured out we'd first met in Halifax in 2001 – not at the meeting itself but over a beverage in one of the many social occasions that accompany these annual gatherings.

Since then, Dale and I have sat at the Council table in Ottawa, Victoria,Winnipeg and Edmonton. We served together on the national executive. In these settings, I gained an enormous respect not only for Dale's ability to craft a budget that saw the GDC emerge as a financially sound organisation but also for his passion for the profession. He has devoted countless hours to the GDC, even more to building a great program at Kwantlen and still more to engaging in the debate about what it means to be a designer today and imagining what that might look like tomorrow. And it is those debates that I enjoy the most. We've had them in hallways, during coffee breaks at conferences, and most often in the wee hours of the morning during AGM weekends. Not only does Dale deserve the GDC 'Energizer Bunny'; award for the one who just keeps on going, but he also deserves recognition as a Fellow – his accomplishments on behalf of all Canadian designers should not go quietly unsung. Cheers Dale.”

From David Coates, FGDC:
Where does one begin with Dale Simonson? I've had the privilege of working with Dale on both the BC and the National Executives over the past twelve years. He was involved many years prior to that as BC president and he continued long after my exit from the National exec. He is one of those individuals who doesn't make a big deal of his achievements or contributions – he simply gets things done quietly and humbly, preferring to be in the background. Besides being an excellent award winning designer, Dale's work with the educational community has helped forge valuable liaisons with the GDC, his work as treasurer on the National has brought the GDC into a position of effective, responsible accounting practices that put the Society in a position to be both audited annually and fully accountable to membership. No small task! When Dale and I worked on the BC exec, he brought continuity to a fledgling group with no experience and I owe him a debt of gratitude for that. Dale has the ability to make hard work fun and to bring a real humanistic approach to often mind numbing meetings – remember the 14 hour constitutional discussions in Windsor? I'm proud to call Dale a good friend, and glad that this long overdue Fellowship has been put forward. Congratulations Dale!

From Dalia Ibrahim, GDC Graduate:
“Dale Simonson is the teacher who you have to love; he is your buddy. The teacher that is never afraid of saying “I donʻt know” as an answer in the class but never hesitates to try his best to find the answer so enthusiastically. The teacher who will stay after class hour tutor you or give you his opinion in your work. He never hesitates to tell you his true opinion even if it is going to hurt. But he will make his best effort to let you forget about it and try for a better solution. It is enough to say that every time we send out an invitation for a reunion for our group, he will be the only teacher who replies and show up to share a good time with us: his former students who, now are somehow his peers.

From Gwen Hetherington, CGD:
In the years that I have been involved with the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, Dale Simonson has been an inspiration. His energy, his passion, his attention to detail and conscientious concern for responsible fiscal management has truly impressed me. Add to that the poorly kept secret that Dale is a bona fide 'nice guy'; a genuine and compassionate individual with a wide streak of honesty, quick to smile and even quicker to find the punchline in any situation, and you can very nearly imagine just how much of a pleasure it has been to have occasion to know him and to work with him.

Dale has really done a great job on behalf of GDC, working tirelessly and racking up a great number of volunteer hours. He has established some great accounting practices, taking the Society forward into maturity. He leaves behind a very good template for others to follow, and that legacy will have a lasting impact. I would be proud to see Dale listed as a fellow of GDC.

From Peggy Cady, FGDC, National Past President:
Dale has been passionately involved with the GDC as far back as I can remember, and we worked together on the executive during his terms as National Secretary and National Treasurer. He is a treasure trove of GDC history and lore. He always did his utmost to make sure the executive was on track, considering all sides of a question and maintaining the integrity of the society. His background and perspective as both an experienced designer and an educator were extremely helpful to both the executive and council. He could party with the best of them - what would an AGM be without him? Congratulations Dale!

From Robert L. Peters, FGDC:
Dale is a constant source of enthusiasm - at times it seems to overwhelm him (dousing those around him) as it gushes from some hidden source within his diminutive frame. I have fond memories of the years spent working with the tireless Dale while serving on the GDC's National Council - he's as good and steadfast a professional colleague as anyone could ever hope for. Go, Dale, go!...

From Sheryl MacDonald, former National Administrator:
...As Treasurer of GDC he really showed his stuff (once he got it done). He certainly brought the accounting and bookkeeping up to a higher level, which was most important. He submitted financial reports and statements and always kept in touch with the accountant and National Office to ensure GDC was operating within its limits.

Dale, you were great fun as well as a committed GDC executive member and always did your best on behalf of the profession and members as well as the many students you have influenced. You are someone that will die with his boots on, however they really don't make a fashion statement. You shouldn't be allowed out of the house with your boots and shorts on. It is a pretty scary sight. All joking aside I miss all of you and in particular I want to wish Dale all the best in the future.

From Dean McNeill, CGD GDC National Past President:
My first experience with Dale Simonson was at my first GDC AGM. He introduced himself and quietly apologized that he wasn't an accountant, hadn’t any formal training in "numbers" but was handling the treasurer position as best he could. Over the next 30 minutes I was astounded at both the level of detail he supplied in his financial report and the clarity which he provided – I actually understood what he was saying and could follow the money trail he was laying!

The financial stability that we in the GDC enjoy today is due to the efforts of many people. One of them undoubtedly is Dale. The fact that we are even talking about this would be a true embarrassment to him... which exemplifies the humbleness he brought to this key position.

From Rick Cuff, Kwantlen University College:
It's been my pleasure to work with Dale as our team builds the Graphic Design for Marketing program at Kwantlen. Dale is an excellent designer, an excellent design instructor, and an excellent friend, who I'm lucky enough to have as an office mate. An extra bonus is access to his wealth of information about developments not only in GDC, but also in other organizations in the graphic design profession.

I'm delighted that Dale is to become a Fellow, joining those other wonderful Fellows who enrich all of our lives.

From J. Dean Kulbida, President, GDC South Saskatchewan Chapter:
In the time I have known Dale, I came to the understanding that he is extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to help out in any areas concerning the Graphic Designers of Canada. He has proven that he is very unselfish with his time and is always willing to listen to others regarding not only matters of the GDC, but also on any other aspects of Graphic Design. Because of his outstanding work, sincerity, commitment and his genuine love of the profession of Graphic Design, I believe that the GDC should recognize and bestow the honour of Fellow to Dale Simonson.

From Melanie MacDonald, GDC Administrative Director:
I was delighted to hear that you had been nominated by your peers for GDC Fellowship. I know first hand how deserving you are of that honour and priviledge. Congratulations!

Many people know you as a graphic designer or as a professor. I knew you as the GDC National Treasurer, and later as a friend. The role of Treasurer requires many, many hours of personal sacrifice. Knowing this, I appreciated even more the extra hours you spent going above and beyond to ensure that I fully understood policies, procedures, and background. You made joining the GDC such a wonderful and positive experience! Thank you.

I would like you to know that I always admired your ability to perform your responsibilities with humour and patience. That, and your boundless energy! Dale, it was my honour and privilege to have worked with you!

From Matt Warburton, FGDC:
It was a dark and rainy night back in 1989 when I attended my first GDC BC event. I can't remember who the speaker was or if there was an exhibit, but I do recall being given a ride home afterwards in an ancient (but cool) Detroit-style car by this incredibly enthusiastic and animated guy by the name of Dale. Dale and I have closed down many a GDC event since that night, and to this day I'm still amazed, and inspired, by his endless reserves of energy, be it to discuss design issues at 4am, or to review student portfolios at 2pm. Dale has given so much to the GDC over the years: presiding over the BC Chapter and organizing Graphex back in the 1980s; transcribing National AGM minutes (with exquisite typography of course) from boxes of cassette tapes; organizing our financial reporting systems, etc., etc. But mostly, for me, it’s Daleʼs constant drive to make the GDC, and Canadian design, a better and more relevant organization and profession and to inspire those who have the pleasure of working with him to have a good time doing it!

From Hélène L’Heureux, FGDC, SDGQ:
Dale Simonson should be named honourary member because he deserves it! Je n’ai pas longuement fréquenté Dale Simonson. L’ayant croisé une première fois à la Biennale du design de Montréal, en 2000, nous nous sommes rencontrés lors des assemblées générales de la GDC auxquelles j’ai eu le privilège d’assister. Je ne l’ai donc pas longuement fréquenté, mais il m’est toujours resté de chacune de ces rencontres une petit morceau d’anthologie, une leçon de vie, un regain d’énergie, un renouvellement de ma foi en la vie ! Dale Simonson est un designer, un enseignant, un communicateur, un directeur financier. Dale Simonson est aussi un libre esprit, un contemplatif actif, un hippy doublé d’un directeur de finances. Il porte une veste qu’il peut retourner comme il veut, quand il veut. Quand il doit présenter les états financiers à l’Assemblée de la GDC, il porte, non pas des souliers neufs, mais des bottes de sept lieues. Car il sait où il va et il y va sans détour. Il est rigoureux, rigolo. Consciencieux, conscientisé, contestataire, il reste toujours convivial ! Ce qui m’épate le plus, c’est l’habileté, l’aisance avec lesquelles il s’est attelé à la complexe tâche de présenter les états financiers, de les expliquer, de soutenir des propositions avec la sérénité d’un ministre des finances. Dale s’est consacré à la tâche la plus ingrate d’une organisation, celle de trésorier. Il s’en est acquitté pendant plus de 4 ans avec conscience et brio. C’est pourquoi je soutiens sa candidature de membre honoraire de la GDC.