Skip to main content

art & design

Bold & Fearless Design

Lesson 2 of 26

Let's Start Unlearning

James Victore

Bold & Fearless Design

James Victore

staff favorite art & design

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

2. Let's Start Unlearning

Lesson Info

Let's Start Unlearning

Awesome hey you guys out in tv land so sorry you're not here this is very groovy beautiful people in this audience handpicked we checked him for weapons it's awesome first day of class guys like did you get like like new school clothes maybe you got like new sneakers anyway new sneakers no I got I got a lunch box my mom my mom my mom my mom bought it for me it's got g I joe on it it's kind of cool I'll show it to you later I swear so, um I'm from brooklyn, new york and we always say how tio like chris mentioned I'm james victoria um and any way you slice it I'm james victoria weigh all have like ats and hashtags stuff in front of our names george orwell is coming true nineteen eighty four is coming true it's crazy I prefer this spelling of my name now I put an explanation point over it because if you can put a hashtag in front of it why can't you put something after it? So I'm putting an explanation point after it you can reach me through twitter through instagram and that is my brand ...

spanking new website and only took forty eight million dollars and ah year and a half toe to put the thing together so listen guys, I'm really excited about today and tomorrow we've worked really hard to get to this point and there's so much to do I mean, I've taught weeklong workshops I've taught at universities for for for semesters there's even then there's so much to do and we can't get to everything we couldn't possibly I couldn't possibly teach you everything about even just post resign in such a short time so it's really important that we just like we have a conversation flowing between you guys here and the awesome people online I don't know if they're there or if they're over there over there over here way have a limited time here and even even with this simple tool it would take me ten years to become good at this and an additional ten years to become a master at it can you imagine imagine what you could do with this what damage you can do with this? I mean hell pretty much any tool imagine if you took this seriously for ten years and this was your tool imagine what you have where you could get and how far you get in twenty years with just black tape it's crazy you guys this is an awesome opportunity I'm really looking forward to this and there's so much to do and so much to do what we say after so much to do so much to do that's right we say brave and scared shitless because this is how it works this is how it works right we have this in the studio we have this youtube channel that we do it's called burning questions I'm assuming you all know about burning questions if you don't you're going to get whupped later so we get a number of questions on this topic james how do I do get do great work I'm so afraid of taking these chances I'm so afraid of doing blah blah blah and my answer has to be all the time brave and scared shitless that's how it works so I want you guys here I know I can feel the fear in here I can feel the tension and we're going like whip that out of you because this is supposed to be fun it's going to be hard but it's going to be fun but that's unfortunately how it works you have to move into this bravely and you're gonna be shtick shares shared skit lous so don't forget to breathe crazy you feel the tension because you're so scared and so funny I take it back online audience you're better they're comfortable stay in bed get cozy um so what I want to talk about I don't I just give you a little kind of ten minute kind of up front say, listen, these are the things that we're going to talk about and then we'll go and then we'll get into it okay and I find through teaching, I find that I do a significant amount of unti ching of unlearning because even as children were given rules things we can and can't do. I have this crazy story. I had this amazing assistant amazing in turn this summer, and I won't tell you where she is from the water in her name is or anything because I'm not important, but she told me this story about when she was a kid. She wanted to be an artist, she wanted to be a designer. So what she did was in her room, on the wall. She drew the most beautiful picture she could of her parents. She wanted to show them how much she loved them, and she wanted to show them her craft. She brought her parents in and guess what they did. They freaked out. They freaked out. You did what on my what? Brian, could you imagine that if you guys hadn't had any experiences like this been told you can't be creative, be told, don't do that even professionally. Mohr right? Crazy to have your dreams squashed right in front of you, right? So we have to unlearn all that stuff off because we have to take chances we want to make beautiful things. And there's all these rules out there if it seems like I'm reading or checking my notes is because I'm reading and checking my notes because there's a lot of stuff we want to talk about and I can't possibly memorize it all okay? But one of the things that I found in this kind of this topic of unlearning yeah if it's crazy I will get more comfortable, but I'm like glued to this point it's crazy, I know they can't you know camera guys are cool I could walk over here saying this guy was going on giving it was, but if I got there is like marks on the floor and I'm wearing this weird this chris put this weird belt on me before if I walk too close to this a scottish mother, I was like, I'm invisible fence they didn't they took I told him they couldn't put the barking collar on me, that was like that would like that's just too much. So what was he saying? Eh? So I'm what my process has been is that I found that over the years I'm doing a lot of on teaching a lot of untrained ng from really bad habits these learned uncreative safe habits and the other part is in school say you guys went to university to study design or to study harder to study whatever or you go into the business where there are a lot of rules you know one of the things that we talk about professionally is you know we're we're graphic designers we haven't objectivity every project we do a website a poster anything has an objective right and the objective is get butts in the seats sell tickets the objective is uh sell more socks the objective is get more twitter followers the objective is right even you guys tell me what it's a process jobs that you've worked on it ahead specific objectives to get people to act get people to push a button get people to reply all that kind of stuff that's the object of and we learned that and that's great that's doing our job but we don't learn the subjective that's important and the subject of is how you do it so the object of his get people to push a button get people to buy socks the subjective is how you do it you do it with poetry you do it with sex appeal you do with humor empathy right is what it's what it's what I call it's not what should do with the way what you do it right this is from this is from an old jazz song he says hey what you do it's the way to do it you know it's not what you do it's, how you do it and that's really important that's the subjective part we don't learn that it is not coaxed it has not endorsed you know clients wants you to do the job do the objective love it I will always do that but I always feel free to put in the subjective and that's what we're going to talk about you know um the subject of part is difficult and the subject in part is difficult because it involves you you have to do it quite frankly no one's going to ask you to and that's scary no one's going to ask you you're just gonna feel free to put empathy into the thing and therein lies the problem right so what's the problem the problem is a number of things the problem is you don't get to make work that makes you happy because you're so concerned about the object of and no one's asking for the subject of right is anybody here like that anybody here have a burgeoning career and then you're like I went to the university I got good grades I made everybody happy can now I've got a job and I city on a typewriter and watch tv all day like that that process is not exciting anybody in this situation a couple of hands outside can hands one two three four million crazy right not making work that makes you happy I've been there I'm transitory I've been there it's ok the other part is working life the balance you know how many people here have a nine to five job that kind of squeaks into dying to seven nine to ten nine to eleven nineteen next frickin morning nine to I keep close it work right? That kind of stuff that happens and we have to be concerned about that no one's going to ask you you know we got this letter the other day from some guy who's like who's like it was about one of the burning questions and he was like I'm supposed to leave it for on friday its contractual but everybody's days till six you know how what do I do? And I'm like your dick because you know you're giving away a lot of time and energy and money or and I know andy here has had has a new baby in the house my wife is pregnant we're gonna have a baby in the house you know, like you know, I know a lot of designers who have to choose between whether they goto work really early in the morning and miss the morning and so they can come back and possibly have dinner or do the other you know, cheating both things that's tough that's a problem seeking permission that's crazy that's a problem? This is a huge part of actually in burning questions this is a siri's of the bulk of the questions that we get the work life balance seeking permission you know they would they way we want to be free but we're waiting for someone to tell us we can, right? The other last part is fear and self doubt. Fear and self doubt are the greatest detractors of success, the greatest detractors of greatness and we all have it remember brave and scared shitless that's how it works. So what do we do? There are three things that I want to accomplish while we're here, and one is to make you question your ideas about graphic design about your industry graph resign post design web design question your ideas about it how you think about it question your role in this business, you know, are you just a cog? You just show up and do your thing and you know, is it a creative field that you got into or are you there to get a paycheck, right? Is that what life is about? And here's, the biggest part is to make you question yourself making question who you are, who you were born to be and are you doing it that's important and crazy idea. So how are we going to do this? What are some specific lessons? There's these were kind of like when I was when I was preparing for this there were like, james, you have to say what's the problem how are you going to solve it? One of the tangible takeaways you know it's like so these are these air them this is this is my contractual duty filling my obligations take that one off so specific lessons we're gonna be talking about some really practical in interesting stuff like answering the brief like clients the cliche, the tools when distractions things like this you know, it's funny I was at dinner the other night and they said this is what we're gonna talk about clients you're going tell people how to you know, work with clients and get along and I'm like yeah, kind of but again that's the objective what's the subjective the subject of is if you didn't have to worry about money or failure what would you be doing also known as what do you cry about in the shower? Because I know you do you know why you know why I know you do because I do is I do because he called in the particular lies the universal that's something we're gonna talk about a lot here ok, that is a squirrel on day three what were you going to walk away with? And this is a two day class obviously right? So on day three what are you going to walk away with? Tellem jams tell him what they've won um we're gonna talk about the new tools possibly give you some new techniques obvious obviously there's no idiot box is in here you know there's no computers I can't help you with computers computers they're awesome oh my gosh the internet woo whatever I'm sorry online guys you rock you are so sweet so we're gonna talk about tools we're going talk about the truth and it will come up when we're doing the crit when recruiting the first assignment the truth that's important um better access to ideas idea generation moto important new freedom to create and play we all seek freedom everybody everybody on day three you will also learn the james likes helvetica um a wider perspective of what this business is and your relationship to it take the blinders off a little bit give you some of the renewed thunder right and new freedom to create and play this is extremely important I love my job I take it seriously but I play for a living I have to I have to because if I'm not then it just looks like work and it smells like work and when you put it on paper people gonna go home it's work right also what we're doing is on day three after this very important to share your newfound information with your friends your job your boss your clients because you guys are heroes you guys are the leaders and what our heroes do after the quest they bring information home and share it with the tribe why to set the world on fire I love my job I love the power that we're capable of with ink on paper it's crazy it's crazy what you can do it's crazy the the life that my work has taken on by itself and I see it in other people's work it's nuts we could set the world on fire and of course the last thing was like why me why james victoria's teaching this thing right um I'm in an interesting point in my career I've realized I'm a pretty good graphic designer at least the museum of modern art thinks so right but what I've learned is I'm a much better teacher you know had a book come out a bunch of years ago I don't have to I don't have to tell you you got it for christmas right forty dollars in the bookstore twenty four ninety five on amazon amazon dot com think they like with the girls coming up soon james story uh who died and made you boss um wait um um so the book came out I was blessed to go on a book to her I was everywhere from from from cape town south africa shout out to cape town to anchorage alaska shout out to anchorage, alaska so um and I spoke with designers and architects and writers and creatives literally all around the world and the level of victimhood in our conversations was astounding and from that point on I have kind of changed my career I am I am still a designer I'm still in this business but I need to be the teacher I need to be doing this unlearning because you get out of school or you get into this business and you think it's creative and it's just it's this's just not inherently there are great jobs out there I love my own my clients I love all the jobs that we do um but it's just not inherently creative and well paying and we can fix that you can fix that for yourselves because no one else is going to do it right um one of things that we have to understand when we're going through this is, um what graphic design the rial meat of what we're talking about I went to school actually I actually went to to unify actually fail out of two universities fail out of a really university after high school and then I went to new york to study the school of visual arts and I was asked to leave right and then I went and taught there for twenty years but what I learned is when I left school is I learned all of sudden I had a fire under my butt, right? I'm like oh, now what do I dio right? I still want to be a designer but what do I do? I don't have an education, so I had to go out and educate myself, and I did it by riding the subway. I did it by riding the subway and looking at the posters and go oh, that's socks. Who believes this? Who wrote that crap, right. I still do that constantly, actually, I but I have ah, I have ah, eighteen year old son luca. Luca, you do instead, um he's. Awesome. But we go that we go to hotels, you know, they have tv. We don't keep tv at homes. We gotta hotels, there's a tv and it's like he he's like dad. We can't watch tv. He didn't wanna watch tv with me. You know why ads? Because I just start yelling at the tv he's like dad it's an ad like yeah, but with their teaching, this is important. Look, listen to me like a conspiracy theory, dude. Um, but what I learned by looking to the subway posters and looking at ads and understanding how they work and what their languages this stuff is, you know, we learned graph design, and we learned the tools. And we're so busy, almost to the point of distraction, learning. Photo shop and learning howto do all this like now as a designer we have to wear is responsible for all the lettering tightening these little spaces between him and were responsible for like, color correcting and all this stuff that I am an idiot about that stuff I don't know what how that stuff works and that's all important but the meat of what we're doing is sociology psychology anthropology because our audience are just human beings and we have to figure out who they are what interests them why they're so similar to me and it's just like when I said earlier the you are the important part is the mohr honest you can be with yourself the more authentic your communication is gonna be you know why me because I'm fearless and I'm fearless because I'm willing to take risks and I'm willing to fail and I want you to do that because that's the only way you know what they say the only way the only way out is through and this is important you know I want you to be fearless I want you to be willing to take chances I also want to inspire greatness and you of course this kind of my job you know I'm I'm I'm now not just a teacher I'm a cheerleader that's cool I like school colors aiken herky you know I don't want to inspire you but remember here's the rule inspiration without action his bolshoi, right, you have to do something. You have to act that's. What I'm I'm designing that button for you today, that, but I want you to push it act.

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

Related Classes



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.