Many of you will now be ex students.
Time to change the mindset. Time to take on the world.
You have learned how to learn. So now it is time to start thinking of yourselves in a different way. To realise that you can and will be able to take responsibility for yourself, where you want to go, and what you need to do, to get there.
Ex- student. Think of it as a badge of honour.
Is not what you are. The school has concentrated on growing itself to a diverse institution that sees strength in the differences within the student body. Billy Blue is not a factory. It is a privilege to be associated with a school that treats you as human, with individual styles and personalities. Remember that the school will keep getting better, if you maintain contact and contribute relationships back to the school.
It is an exciting time to be a designer. So much has changed, and so much will continue to change, because our field is inextricably tied to technology. In five years time, you may be working with technologies we can’t even conceive of now. The old hand skills that I learned, now only useful to show young designers how tedious aspects of the job used to be. The skills that you have learned in the last three years may well be as completely irrelevant in five years time.
But your core ability to think and solve problems, and to operate on both the left and right sides of the brain, have never been more in demand. Your ability to use a process of design to change our world in some small way, has never been closer to the public consciousness. It is an exciting time for you to be launching into the world of design, and it is an exciting time for the world of commerce and business to be taking up design.
Think of this. The potential for the industry to grow is exponential. But that means your opportunities may not lie in the traditional, service businesses that have been the standard definition of design. Web, Packaging, Identity, Publication.
I urge you to think big, be ambitious. Take an interest in the world. What is it that moves you? The profession has always been both cursed and blessed by its lack of rigid definition. I suggest you make the most of your next few years to grow as humans. To be affected by the world and to build the will and the tools to bring a ‘designerly’ approach to it.
Experience is fantastic. It can also make you learn bad habits. But it is all before you.
There are some aspects to being a designer that only experience can help you with. You can’t fake that. But you can make it your business to get as much experience as you can. By embracing the future, by making connections, making mistakes and making yourself into a fully fledged professional.
Experience is also the new model for how design relates to the world. You are in a fantastic position to exploit that. You are now in the business of creating experiences. As you continue to learn, you will get better at taking responsibility for the experience of others. That is the essence of being a good communicator.
Is the type of dancing you once would’ve had to do to earn a living to supplement your junior income. But I know that you will be able to avoid that situation as your illustrious careers grow.
While I say that the field has grown immensely, and will continue to grow, I believe it is still very important that you strive. And strive. And strive to be extraordinary.
You will need to work hard. You will need to develop a longer-term patience and you will need to learn some harsh lessons. On the way, you will need to develop a dispassionate sense of yourself, and you will need to stay open to learning, open to people, and open to changing yourself.
I would suggest that you seek out the very best to associate with, that you look to find a mentor, somebody who has wisdom that you can draw on.
And keep your eyes open for opportunities. Whether they be within a company, or on your own. People like me. We’re stuck in our view of the world. We need extraordinary young, fresh, energetic designers to threaten our comfortable, lardy-bottomed, carbon-wasting ways.
There are no excuses any more. It is up to you. You will find out, very quickly, that your colleagues, and your clients are not interested in ‘but my internet went down and I couldn’t access my file to print it out, and there was a bus breakdown and my parents were in town and I hurt my leg!
Well actually there will always be people who make excuses, they tend to be those who don’t carry much respect from their colleagues or clients. What you need to be known for is going above and beyond. For bringing answers to the problems, not for only highlighting the problems. One of most powerful techniques we have applied in our company is to always show clients energetic, and positive approaches to solving their problems.
Your tiny little, febrile minds are wonderful things. They are probably brimming with all of the work you did in here at the school, that is if they’re not completely numb already. But the amazing thing is; they ain’t seen nothing yet.
You will become better and better at the expression of ideas. You can say goodbye to preciously hanging on to your one idea, like a dried up pot plant in your bedroom, and you can say hello to the constant stimulation of being in an ideas business. Having ideas, and learning how to express them properly, is the MOST recession-proof ability you can possess.
When I meet a graduate, it is ideas are what I want to see. I know that somebody can be taught skills and software relatively quickly. But ideas are a tougher nut to crack. Ideas and their expression is a life’s work. They are a fantastic currency to work in.
Is where you will soon be heading.
Remember and relish this evening, and I hope that you all can all look at tonight as the beginning of a journey of growth that will challenge and inspire you, your families and your friends, and make us all very, very proud of you.