Recently I saw a poster that I really liked.

It was called “Advice for Design Students”.

But it works equally well for advertising students.

Probably all students in fact.

Probably all people in fact.

The poster consisted of these words, white-out-of-black:


“Believe in your fucking self.

Stay up all fucking night.

Work outside of your fucking habits.

Know when to fucking speak up.

Fucking collaborate.

Don’t fucking procrastinate.

Get over your fucking self.

Keep fucking learning.

Form follows fucking function.

Find fucking inspiration everywhere.

Fucking network.

Educate your fucking client.

Trust your fucking gut.

Ask for fucking help.

Question fucking everything.

Have a fucking concept.

Learn to take some fucking criticism.

Make me fucking care.

Use fucking spell check.

Do your fucking research.

The problem contains the fucking solution.

Think about all the fucking possibilities.”


I love that poster.

I love the content, but I also love the style.

The way the word “fucking” is used as a fist slamming on the table.

Saying, without actually saying it “Wake up. You’re not a child anymore. Don’t sit around whingeing”.

For me swearing is like a condiment.

You use it to spice up whatever you’re trying to get people to pay attention to.

Don’t use too much, if you do it overpowers everything else.

But this is the exception.

Here, once every sentence is the right amount.

Imagine how dull that advice would be without the use of that word:


“Believe in yourself. Stay up all night. Work outside of your habits. Know when to speak up. Collaborate. Don’t procrastinate. Get over your self. Keep learning. Form follows function. Find inspiration everywhere. Network. Educate your client. Trust your gut. Ask for help. Question everything. Have a concept. Learn to take some criticism. Make me care. Use spell check. Do your research. The problem contains the solution. Think about all the fucking possibilities.”


Without the repetitive use of that word, it’s just a long list of clichés.

Just a dull litany.

I think the repetition of that added word enhances and emphasises the content.


Or, to quote John Hegarty “A great ad is 80% idea and 80% execution”.