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Bold & Fearless Design

Lesson 7 of 26

Answering the Client Brief

James Victore

Bold & Fearless Design

James Victore

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Lesson Info

7. Answering the Client Brief

Lesson Info

Answering the Client Brief

So this part is jam packed. There's like a a bunch of things that we want talk about in here and this is really about kind of getting started. Its when the rubber hits the road, it's like, How do you come up with ideas? How do you answer the brief? What is your opinion about clients and the brief and all that kind of stuff? I'm gonna have to really rely on my notes here, so be cool with me. And the first thing we talk about is the brief. Because this is like, this is for me. This is how all jobs come to me. I don't work in house, so I don't have somebody comes and says, Hey, could you do this thing? Um, I don't know how you all get, whether it's, um uh, call RFP EZ or if you get a brief or you get I just get an email or I get a phone call and we just start the discussion. Um, but I got a funny story. Tell you, so I an assistant for four years, awesome guy, he's and he's and he's in. He's in Nashville right now. Seems Chris Thompson, Nashville snatched that guy up. Talent food. Amazing.

But when he started with me, he was kind of fresh out of school. Right? So, um, we would get a job, say, say a job would come in a cover for a magazine or something. And he would He introduced me to this idea called the worst question ever. Right. So we would get this job and he would ask me every time. He's like, Oh, Esquire magazine cover. Oh, he'd say, What do they want? No. Worst question ever. What do they want? Do you guys do that? Is that is? You ask that question of the client? They called me. They want me. What did they want? How do I know? How do I know what my client wants? Right. And they want something specific, They will tell me. And then usually my response is Oh, excellent. I see you want my left hand, not my heart. That's okay. I can do that, you know. Worst question ever. What did they want? You guys have got to get get an understanding of of your role in the process. You are not a cog of You're not a cog. You're not a puzzle piece, right? It doesn't work like that. Um, it doesn't work like that. So when you get a brief and I get briefs in a number of different ways, I get him in packages of six There, in fact, no getting I can't. It's hard not to make the brief joke. Um, sorry. The biggest thing is like what to pay attention to So I don't about you guys, but I don't know if you guys have worked on, um, movie posters or theater posters or or or convoluted articles, but, um, whenever there's long like a Shakespeare play, for example, if you guys have designing for a Shakespeare play is extremely difficult, because there's like in any Shakespeare play. There's two lovers, but they never just two lovers are there. It's like and she to get close to him dresses like a guy. And then there's this other guy who turns into a donkey halfway. There's like all this stuff that's going on and you have to pay. You have to make a two dimensional image of, you know, have to choose, and you gotta be careful when reading the brief, like when I have a brief if I get an article for same Esquire magazine, and I've got to read through this and figure out where I get in, right. Um, it's like, um, kind of deciphering, and I sit down with a pan, a big, big Sharpie, and at the end, things brief. Looks like a road map of downtown Los Angeles, right? Stuffs all across. I'm searching in there for the truth. I'm searching my way in to this thing. Um, I remember a bunch of years ago I was working, doing doing a lot of theater posters and I had a meeting for, um um, a poster. I had a meeting to show opposed to give me a play. It was Neil Simon play. So I read, I'm reading through the play. I'm trying to understand what the plays about. I'm trying understand the relationships and what it all means. What is it about? Is it about dystopia? Is it about unrequited love? Is it about you know this because Neil Simon stuff is very, very talking very about relationships. So I'm sitting there in the meeting, nervous as what they say. Long tail cat in a room of rocking chairs, right and I'm sitting there waiting to go in. I've got my little post one one little poster because I never spoil the client that much. I never bring two or three or four, and I about to go in the meaning of the door Opens and some guy leaves and he's got his posters under his arm. So he's another artist going in because they look at a lot of stuff and I go and I sit down the conversation and the guy the art director says, says You can't load that guy So what do you mean? He says, You know what? He shows me. I don't He says his poster was a hamburger. I said, and I'm like, going Is it the same play? Like I read the play and the guy chose a hamburger because there was a conversation that took place in a diner, and that was that was he. That's what he glommed onto, you know, So there's a lot of traps and knee jerks when you have a lot of information to decipher through, and we have to be conscious of that and not just glom onto have to kind of search the real meaning of the thing that saved the way with love. Love is just a mess, right? Because it's not even a brief from the outside. I'm just asking you what your opinion is. But when you're looking at a brief from the outside, you should be looking for your opinion and that as well. Like the great thing to work with The New York Times. The op ed page, which is like the page of kings and Queens is they do not want you to read the article and decorate the article. They want you to have an opinion on it. It's a great way to think about it. You know your comment on that? So how you read the brief how you how you find your way in is extremely important. At the end of at the end of the process my, my, my, my, my briefs again, my briefs look like, you know, like John Lennon. C I a file. We've ever seen that. Like all this stuff all crossed out, you know? You know, um, I'm searching through there

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

An empowered designer is a truly creative designer. Let designer, author, artist, and activist, James Victore show you how to trust your instinct and embrace imperfection in Bold & Fearless Design.

When you follow the trends your ideas stagnate and you don’t create the kind of memorable pieces that get you noticed. Victore knows the antidote to that creative rut. Victore has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and is represented in the permanent collections of museums worldwide. His commercial work continues to wow by being sexy, strong, and memorable.

Learn how you can make work that is captivating and uniquely you by taking a behind-the-scenes look at this renowned designer’s method, thinking, and inspiration. Victore will talk about playing with different tools (not just digital ones) and rethinking the role of a designer. 

You’ll learn:

  • Exercises for generating concepts and design solutions
  • How to incorporate your hand into your work
  • Unexpected image-making tools and techniques
  • Software strategies for turning the analog into digital

Poster design inspiration is the perfect blank canvas for experimentation. Posters can be adapted for anything from a book covers to dinner plates. In this class, the poster format provides a launching point for discussing by-hand design and reimagining creative possibilities.

Don’t be boring. Watch Bold & Fearless Design with James Victore and energize your unique creative spark.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

James Victore - 10 Type Rules

bonus material

James Victore - Bold and Fearless Poster Design Course Supplies.pdf

James Victore - Litter Poster Client Brief.pdf

James Victore - Suggested Reading List.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I am not a graphic designer, I'm an artist, but this class translates beautifully. James' teaching style is nothing short of delicious - fresh, alive, fun, exciting - while being full of depth and poignant, valuable content, much of which transcends medium and brings value to any creative individual. I found particular value in the lessons around tools (and altering tools), the criteria for good work, the need to infuse your opinion into your work, the value of abandoning perfection, paying attention to cancer that is one's ego and that we are meant to be creators, and not 'the help'. More than anything else though, I benefited from being reminded, with such a burning passion, that we are not put on this earth to pay a mortgage and support a family, but to identify our true work and to bring it into existence in this world. So nice to reminded of something I know but forget on a regular basis. One of the best online classes I have ever taken - a real home run.


I loved this course! Exceeded every notion I had. The design, concepts and principles were fun, funny and insightful. But James went so far beyond the "poster design" and into the philosophy, thinking, inspiration - huge! I am so glad I watched this course not only for the quick wit and fast humor (Jame's is smart! Sharp... And Really Funny - compliments his teaching and design), but the reading list he suggests, ways to nudge your creativity and the fashion with which he gets you thinking... Invaluable! Organic, Rich, Impact and message - this course has the design "how-to" covered, the real pearls are Jame's humble experience and generosity. Great Course... Oh, and check out his book! "Victore! or, Who Died and Made You Boss?" Inspiration and fun!

a Creativelive Student

Came to this course (and site) via Anna Dorfman's blog. Loved the motivational and philosophical aspects of the course. Very entertaining and inspirational. Also loved listening to Victore discuss his own work and process-- the stories of how he got specific ideas, tinkered with them, perfected them, etc.. As for the critiques of student and online work, I didn't find them very useful. I would love to see him pick out a few of the very best, and then give his own short and sweet-- and specific-- insights into how HE would improve them. Or just abandon the critiques entirely and instead show and discuss more of his own or other successful designers' work. Overall, fun and inspirational, with some helpful tips.