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Bold & Fearless Design

Lesson 5 of 26

Show Me the Critique

James Victore

Bold & Fearless Design

James Victore

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Lesson Info

5. Show Me the Critique

Lesson Info

Show Me the Critique

So now we move into we should have music done, done, done the creek cause there's some really funny things that I think we should talk about really interesting ideas that you guys have brought here. And I gotta start by telling telling you this funny little story. So there's a book. There's gonna be a reading lesson the out of this. So anything any, any authors or any artists or anything, I maybe I mentioned, will be on there. There's a book that I really love, and it's actually about the art and craft of writing. And it's called Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont. Brilliant, brilliant book and I don't care if you're not interested in writing. Read the book. You've got to expand your horizons here and the attribution is to her son, Sam, who is probably five years old at the time. And she says, the attribution says this book is dedicated to Sam. It's the dedication. Excuse me. The dedication to Sam. Um, she says. The other day, Sam told me he loved me. 10. Toronto Saurus Rex is on 10 mountaint...

ops and I love him the same Look it, My heart is gone. The heart. Sam, a five year old, is trying to express love a very specific kind of love, and he uses imagery, and he uses the biggest, most powerful thing you can think of, which is a Toronto Saurus rex. And then he's like, um, puts it at the highest place he can think of on top of a mountain. And then he goes, Makes multiplies it to the biggest number he can come up with to express his love. And you guys have done that. You guys have done that. Remember like, Oh, man, I love you. I love you this much from this finger tip to O to that wall like you keep like Oh, no, no into the next two older sisters. That was a battle until one of them just said Infinity, and we're like, uh, you win. Infinity times 10. Uh, there's no such thing, Uh, but it's about expressing, and that's what I want to do. West. What? That's what. That's what the This crit is with love. That's what I'm want from you specific, and there's two basic questions that we're going to have to address all the time. What do you think you're gonna show me an image. I'm gonna say, OK, tell me what you think to me, What you want to say. What's your opinion? What is your opinion? The other part is is it true? That's important. It is not true. Becomes not believable, right? We don't trust it. And the second question is, is it interesting because you could just put a red heart up here? And you, you're like world says love anybody. So I love love. Love is an interesting That's a big question. And the truth part How we figure out if it's truth is because we put it through the sphincter of truth, right? And what that means is that we we see if there are precedents for what you're trying to say. The love that you're trying to express has Shakespeare written about it. This this particular type Is there a movie about it? Is there? We just We see if there are precedents, have been poets, poetry been written about this idea. And you know what? I don't know if you know this, but this assignment isn't technically, it's not an assignment to me. You know what it is. I don't know if you guys have felt this when you were working on him. You know what it is? It's a trap. It's a trap. It's so hard. It's so hard because there's so many answers out there. There's so love is like, Oh, my what? Huh? Right. Crazy. And I'm gonna use room me, One of my favorite authors, Persian poet, 900 years ago to remind you this is what we're doing. This is what I want. Forget safety. Live where you fear toe live, destroy your reputation. Be notorious, don't work towards safety. Don't work towards the right answer cause there ain't none. Right? I'm gonna take a real quick look at a few online stuff that were sent in. You guys are awesome. Thanks for I was up all night like 42 million different assignments were sent in from the online audience. It was crazy. And I had to like It's 12. Listen, I'm gonna be honest. I'm a nice guy. I'm like your stern dad, you know, but cool with nice shoes. A g I joe lunchbox. Um but what what I want from you? I don't want success. If there was something here that was really great and just worked. It was like Could be a movie poster. I just would throw it away because it gives me nothing to talk about, right. I'm looking for universal mistakes. Beautiful universal mistakes. Okay, so here this is was sent in by Ahmed. And it says, Love is a dance. OK, two things. One is words, words, words. Do you know that line? It's from Macbeth, Hamlet, Hamlet from Hamlet and and on Polonius Hamlets. Girlfriend's dad walks into the library, and Hamlet is reading a book, and Polonius says, Ah, young Hamlet, What are you reading in Hamlet says words, words, words, right? Get rid of everything and just put love is a dance because it still doesn't mean anything. It's not specific right way. If we get rid of this, that we just have a dancer and then and then what do we have to do? If we just looking at the dancer, then you have to guess right? And then and and I can't talk too much about this online stuff because we can't really have the conversation the way I'm gonna have with you. I can't say What do you really want to say? What do you really mean? Because we don't know, but and then I can see they've chosen a typeface. And my question would be, How long did it take you? And would that time be better spent sitting under a tree having an idea? Green day Right now. Here. Here's an interesting thing. Also, because of the resolution, it shows up pixelated poorly. Right? You guys, you gotta follow directions. Simple things like that. You know, if someone says meetings at seven and you show up at a like you lose, right? But there was a lot of kind of angry stuff, which is, I think is really interesting, but we can't We can't even guess what this is. Is this? Here's another thing. This is a good thing or a bad thing. If it's a bad thing, is that this batters at this bed? If this is a good thing, is that good, or is it this good? Remember, we're talking about cliches. This has got a couple of them in their key key. The heart. Um, the Is this a good thing or bad thing about love? That Yes. Yes. Unless you are one messed up person this is gonna be pretty bad. Interesting, though the use of cliches Right again, this is a really sweet idea, and I look at my head. I'm like, Oh, man, I could make this sing. I could make this so good but again, low rez. So it's hard to see I even put in smaller. So it's basically math, and then you'll notice that it equals part. I'm not sure what they're trying to say. I have an idea. I think we can all guess complicated, which is just like a human way to say it. Or you could do it in math terms and saying, Love is you know, the answer. Or but that's even then I think the end result is not that sexy is not the kind of love I would actually want to have. And here is a piece that actually is kind of beautiful, kind of bizarre because there's imagery. There's cliches that we're not really sure of. Is that a Madonna right is that's not just a standard woman. So there's these. There's these cliches that we have toe. We have to kind of do math and add them all up and see if they really work, right? If it adds up to what we're looking for, you know, this is kind of a very sexy thing, and it's it's kind of difficult to see, but these two pieces here seem to be kind of male flesh with hair on it because they look like they have kind of, like, cut out of a magazine or something. That's there's something interesting about that. So So we move on, I'm gonna were gonna go through these, and we don't have time to choose all of them. So you're gonna have to have questions and learn from other people. That's really important again, like sitting on the subway and learning that way. It's important. Um, I don't want to know who is. This is I don't care. It's not important. What do you guys think? They understand that this is this rare atmosphere, meaning in the real world, Mr Victory, you know, they would be type on it. We would know it was for a movie or for a play or for a TV show, and it would be type probably too much if it was a TV show or a poster, a movie poster or something. via logo, blah, blah, blah. But we have this rare atmosphere that we know that this says some aspect of love. What do you think? Guesses. What's your take on it? Easygoing, phenomenal. Franco, where did you get easy going? I think it's going because of the of Ah, jellyfish. Jellyfish are easy going. So your thing got like your notion. So love Is Sisi going smooth? I like swimming in the ocean like jelly, like Greece, Grace, but also poisonous. Okay, awesome. That's super. But you're all lying. You're guessing everything beautiful that you said came from you? Not from that, you know, that is It's a noun. It's a jellyfish. There's nothing in here to indicate love. Right? So now is the interesting part. Whose is it, darling? Juliette, don't tell me anything about jellyfish. I don't care about jellyfish. I care about you. Tell me about love. Don't look at it. Don't tell me about love. What love means to me is something that is mysterious. But, um Ken Sting can hurt. Um Ah, that is a little bit further away from me. It's not mine. I'm gonna cut you off there. And are you actively in love right now. Besides me? No, I am No. Well, if with people in my life. But not romantic, not romantically. Yeah. Interesting. Because what I'm getting from you is is kind of this non specific glowy idea. And I want what we really want is, you know, you're not inactivity in love. And I've been, um, married and had a kid and then been divorced. And now I'm amazingly married with an amazing woman and pregnant and like So, I have a different understanding from love than you do right from from from all of us. You know, I get 20 year olds who like their, like making these statements about love. And I'm like, Wait, I got a question. Have you ever been in love in there like a little parents, You know, it's like we don't you know. And the thing is, I want very specific and and you understand that all I'm getting here is a is a jellyfish, And what we'd have to do is basically take those words. It's a wiggling process. Take those words and go, OK? Tell me what you mean. Tell me more because you stop. What you did is you stopped at jellyfish. When? When? When? You should have just kept. Kept crafting those words further and further. And have someone say what happens in in in theatre or when you're studying Improv is yes. And which is Ah. Huh. I got that. Explain further. Okay, I got that. Explain for this. We're getting tighter and tighter and more specific and more specific and deeper and deeper and honest. And the truth? Awesome. A whole chicken out. It works if you work it. It was a heart and a cog. Tell me. Come about love. What does this person want to say about love? This should work it. Okay. You ready? Good job. Like a job. Like a machine. Oh, job. Yeah. Yeah. Getting off work. I got to go home and be in love. You need to be an active participant. That's yeah. That's lovely. I like that. You know how you doing? Arm and love. What else? What else? Why is the heart yellow? We were curious. We want to know. Why is the heart yellow? What's yellow? Meaning the world of cliches. Colorfully scared, glowing, bright, bright house. It's a jaundiced, but it is good to whose is this Mr Rato? Tell us what? You don't tell me anything about that. Tell me. Tell me about love. Your in love Newly in love to tell me about low. Uh, well, uh, let's see. Putting you. Let's see, I just heard here. Yeah, brimming with it. Wow. I'm freezing up freezing up. Okay, because I just got critique, so I'm like, Ooh, All right. So, um, I love when I what? I mean, what I mean, I don't tell you about that. Okay, Um, it's the relationship for me. So, um, to me, if you know, if I'm not in the relationship of a lot like a working relationship, if I'm just showing up, um, the love dies basically. So you have to be an active participant. It's a full time job. It's a Why's that work? Why the work thing? Well, and and you've done it. And you did. You did two things. One. We have words. Yes, there was. It was in the assignment. Don't tell me. Show me. So if we get rid of the words, we still get work and some version of a heart. So it works if you work. It was for me if from from a personal experience I've had. So, um, it seemed to play into what I was trying to say with the symbolism May not say love with the words. Yeah, I'm just curious whether we would get close to that. If it just, you know, I think we would get fairly close if it, you know, I don't think we get the participatory thing. If it was just the yellow heart and the other thing so interesting. Interesting. Quick. A comment online. The chat room about this is people are watching their kind of coming up with some ideas. But Mad Panda says, Could the yellow Heart represent maybe love for your craft or passion for work and kind of appreciating the work that MSM for May? Yeah. Yeah, I would. I would like to keep this assignment about relationships and not kind of love of craft or love of a pet or love of you know what I mean? I mean, when I say you know, are you currently in love? You're gonna go? If I said Hey, Lauren, how you doing? You know, you How's your love life? You don't go. I love my job. right, Right. So So. Thank you, panda. And thanks, Chris, for watching. Keeping an eye out? Yeah, absolutely. No. People are really enjoying this. Lots of great comments. OK, hold on. Gestalt reaction. If what's behind me is a movie poster I want you to do If what is behind me is a movie poster, what kind of movie is it? Some way to heaven. What kind of movie? Uh, it seems a little maybe like a Ah, a little bit like a scifi. A little bit like, uh, like, uh, right. Like like like they're alive or Yeah, which is It's interesting. That's interesting. Again. You guys were so addicted. And here. Now here, Andy, this author. Ahmed, I know why you put words on because you don't have confidence in the images that you're making. And what you're doing is you're using the words to describe to tell us, right? But this is not a writing class. This is a powerful image making class. So think about that. So this is just literally literally attacked on there. Although there is nice space left for the typography. Um curious. Whose is this? No way. A woman. I didn't think a woman made this. I kind of think about this stuff. Tell us, darling. Well, I kind of I have a big issue with the concept of the one and people who think there's a 11 out for every out there for everybody because I feel like there's one's enough. I mean, there are so many potential matches out there in the world. And every little choice you make along the way influences where you're gonna end up and who you're gonna meet and who you're gonna fall in love with. Um, and there's no, like, one correct match. Awesome. Awesome. And like I said, everybody is gonna have their own thing. This is a particular one. This is a very interesting one. The one that doesn't come up that often, Which is like, Hey, wait a minute. What, you mean one? Are you currently in love now, in a relationship now, um, kind of beginning one. Okay, Okay. Don't tell them that. So here's my overall idea about love. Okay. Over a candlelit dinner. This is really sweet. But, you know, I think if I went to Ohio, I could probably about 50 guys just saying, Be happy settle down. But why? This wide is gray veneer. This this look Well, you said if you need a color, add color. And I didn't feel like I needed color, so I okay, but But it's just funny. Um um but how they're how they're they're shaded and their bathroom signs, which is really funny. It's awesome. Again, The cliche. Very cool. That's awesome. I love it. Go up. Who does you? No way! I'm open. I'm a player. Wow. Okay. What I like to do sometimes with these is say with say, with this one is is count the things on the page, right? Because I'm a wiggler. I like to I like toe trim stuff down or or condense things a so much as possible. So we've got words. We've got a yellow heart and we have the the cog. Right? So here we've got the mouth And not just the mouth, this tongue sticking out. I don't know if you guys can't see it, but there's a Band Aid on the tooth just as faras Truth goes, uh, anybody raising him last time you had a band aid on your tooth, Anybody just saying I haven't had when I was thought it was a cool new thing that I'm missing out on broken tooth. I can't tell what that is. There's a little drawing. Their gold tooth and a tongue sticking out with Was that heart, is it? What is? What can be? What do you think Stephanie is? That candy? Is that it's a heart. Heart, heart candy, hard candy. Okay. Okay. So what do we get? We add all those things that what we get love. Is that a good thing or bad thing about love? Bad? Yeah. It looks like it looks like I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And when we moved in, they were like Like we moved in, got our stuff off the truck. And the next morning, there was like a SUV on blocks that have been burnt out. It was like broken windows. And now it's like, Now, now it's too expensive for me to live there. But it looked like this, right? Um, possibly a bad thing about love. Anybody? Anybody guess it's positive colors like it's fun to. So it's not that bad, Scott. I get the kids, you know, it tastes good going in, but ultimately bad for you? I don't know. Interesting Like like most candy. What's that? Ruins your teeth, Ruins your teeth But but But love doesn't mean, you know Are they saying love ruins your teeth? Love, candy Love his candy. Well, here like again We're looking We look for precedents and song lyrics are full of precedence You know, Not that songs are always true or not. You know what love is like Oxygen or love is the drug or love is all you need I woke up at four o'clock in the morning. Love is all you need is only being coming thinking about love a lot. Whose is this? Frank? Go dig a main. Okay. Ah, well, we were thinking about this poster with a beer. So I was thinking a lot like What is love? Really? What is the effect of love? So everyone who is in love with always smiling most of the time so say like, not really hopeless romantic. So I tried to put it like you always get loving as well. You ended up in a good relationship and the band aid and the cracking tude and everything. So I was like a You find love in different forms, but you still taking appeal. So you steal. I mean hard. Interesting. Okay, now, here's something interesting about the cliche and about these tools that we're using and sip specifically the ones Franco is using. So he's coming up with these ideas and associating them with, like, things like a pill or things like a band Aid and stuff. And what what? What we ultimately end up doing is we let we let the cliches push us around. You know, we come up these thes knee jerk responses, you know, a knee jerk. You know, you like, you go to the doctor and he hit you here and you go like this. It's like it's a non conscious response. They become. These knee jerk responses were just like right. Crazy. It's a beauty. It's oddly enough, it's a beautiful image. And, you know, if all a sudden there's a reveal like you put this out in the street, you're going to get a lot of people going, huh? What? No one's gonna know Give me a lot of questions, but it's a teaser poster and then all of sudden it comes out and it's like this big type here in big type here. And everybody just goes, Oh, I get it then. I don't really get it, but they haven't anus OSI ation with ah Chris Farley movie or something. I don't know. Yeah, um, interesting. It was like the bad bad. Tell us again. I'm like, I'm still confused as hell. I'm still like, I don't know, You always have love. And for example, if your first love do you have you always get out with a broken heart? So in order to put it like that is like you always find, like, uh, getting into love. But, you know, this is true love or not. Always have this relationship till you find the one or sometimes you would get hurt. But you still have hope on love. So you still take the pill. So you say, like a cold. I have enough with a broken through, but still smiling. I see hoping for love, So Okay, okay. I finally understand so that, like, love makes this crazy stuff happened to you. But you still that's see now see, through this conversation, we can get some place. That's interesting. And now this brings me to an interesting point. What happens is I go with and then I go, Franco, tell me and we start having this conversation. I'm like, Oh, we get it. All of sudden, I see head start nodding when you're talking and they're like, Oh, it sucks. But you're going to go into it again and again and again, right? And then all of sudden every goes, Oh, that's awesome, because what you're saying, what you want to say is beautiful. Well, you're showing is ludicrous. Well, we have to do in this process is focus, right? Tighten up, tighten up. What you want to say is this and what you're doing is this, and what we want to do is bring them a little bit closer. So that's awesome. And the great thing for you and Andy and anybody else whose work has been up here. Juliet, what you want to say is awesome. That's the important part. If you can figure out how to whittle it down to some honest truth, cause that's a beautiful thing to say. That's you know, like now I gotta go home and teach my 18 year old that do you know? I mean, how do you do that? So But this is crazy. Good, crazy. And don't ever change. Stay crazy, Franco. What do you see? Come on. A shoo! Shoo! Um, come on. A shoe. Heart stumped. What? Heart stumped. What's that? Like you stop on the heart. Where do you get that? Looks like guts of a heart. Sort of to order record. Yes, darling. Sticky. Sticky. Okay, you guys, there is a Yes, Scott. If it is, it says love. Okay, The reason I chose this one to talk about and this is a very big idea and it's really important that you guys understand this and this is why we want to talk about the truth as much as possible. There's probably something in here with the gum and with the kind of the messiness, frankly, right. But the fact that it wants to say L O v e there's a word that's used that we use is called contrived, which means forced and contrived and forced never works. It just it's not truthful. People see it. They go, it's it might be cute. You might fall in love with the eventual eventually. Oh, talking. Get, go! How charming. Right Whose is this important to remember that Forced? Okay. Gestalt. Again. What is this? What was his best for exactly? Exactly? Greeting card greeting card. That means nothing. It means love. And then you open it up and they'll be like poetry inside. Right? And do you read the poetry? No, you don't. You know why? Because it wasn't written for you. Somebody who had a 9 to 5 wrote that it's meaningless, but yes, perfect for a greeting card and very drawn, very labored. And again, I would say, Take that time and sit under a tree and think about it, right? You know, it's just it's just a It's a glowing, extremely happy And I understand I understand something of what you mean. Yeah, I had a hard time with because good. I usually work with words. So it was really me. Not great. And I get that this is nothing but charming, exuberant, happy love to be in love. Puppy love first love the whole body. But I'm doing all the work. You just show me this completely happy, happy, happy. Right? So it's a focus problem. Um awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

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.