To the graduates of 2015

Congratulations to the graduating Design and Communication students of Newcastle University 2015.
Thank you for having me and congratulations on your achievements! (special mentions at the end)


I will start with some excerpts of the great wisdom from a well known ‘doctor’.

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.


Thanks Dr Suess


Here we are in Australia and you’re about to go into the wild unknown. There is actually very little stopping you from doing ANYTHING that you want to do or achieve. You’re well educated, you’ve got the power of endless information, loads of resource and you’re surrounded by amazing support. Any limitation you think you have is likely just an idea in your head.

And much like a brief with no boundary, you’ll no doubt be feeling a little lost.

That great plan, life’s grand roadmap you’re supposed to have? Like a business plan that takes longer to write than to become irrelevant, don’t be hung up on having one.

Simply be expectant and hungry and be aware that you don’t know everything.

The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know. So be soft, be open. Absorb from those around you with an open mind.

Here are 6 mindsets I’ve embraced that have helped me to continue to learn and grow and embrace the adventure:


What matters most? What are your guiding principles? Focus on these, know what you won’t change, then stay flexible with everything else and you’ll spot the opportunities. Make sure these opportunities are true to what you believe in and what you think matters most. Then your life can change in an exciting way without losing your direction.


Question what people say. ‘Why does it have to be this way? What does it mean? What if? Why?’ It will help you have a deeper understanding and it will bring fresh ideas to the plate. There are no stupid questions. In our business we embrace naivety. We’ve always questioned why marketing is like it is. ‘Is that the best model?’ ‘Is that the way to get the best for the client?’ ‘Why can’t business be purposeful and profitable without it being at the expense of the customer?’


You could argue that there is no better way to learn. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re either not trying hard enough or doing anything outside of ordinary.


But don’t expect to walk out the door and be that hotshot gun designer, changing the world without hard work and sacrifice. Don’t rush, give yourself time to learn. You will never value what you have or find the joy without having the fight to get it. Give it time and keep at it.


With whatever you have or whatever you have to fight for, do it with all you have, to the best of your ability. Make the most of everything, the biggest and smallest of things. Make the most of the resources, time and support you’ve been given and you’ll be entrusted with more.


You’re not entitled to anything but you’ve been blessed with just about everything. Don’t take it for granted. Be generous and go the extra mile with your time, your money and your God given abilities. We’re all in a place of privilege and we have the opportunity to serve those around us. Give and it will be given back to you.

Now with all you have, make your world a better place for everyone around you and those that follow. Your problems, this city’s problems, business problems, the world’s problems will not be solved with the same thinking that created them.

Be thoroughly creative. Challenge yourself to grow and do something meaningful.


And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!


Congratulations all graduating students.

Thanks for making me feel welcome and for the engaging conversations we’ve had throughout the year.
It is my hope that you will go on and be all you can be.

Special mention for Amelia for winning the award for embracing these attitudes. Your focus, diligence and service go well beyond what was been asked has not gone unnoticed.
I’d also like to give special mention to Myf and Amanda for producing work at the highest level that I’ve seen from graduating students;
Emily and Angela for my favourite business cards (and great work);
Kat for amazing digital illustration;
and Chris for the amazing print experimentations (good luck with your Kickstarter).

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