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Bold & Fearless Design

Lesson 4 of 26

The Cliché

James Victore

Bold & Fearless Design

James Victore

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Lesson Info

4. The Cliché

Lesson Info

The Cliché

we get into the meat, and one of things that we have to talk about is for designers. Is the cliche or the elephant in the room? Why is it funny for me to use the elephant in the room? That phrase, it's a cliche. Awesome, Cleo. Awesome. Yeah, it's a cliche. Our language is cliches. That's what we speak in. But sometimes way we, um we rely on them too much. We assume they they come with their own backpack full of information, right? So if I just show you a heart, you know that I'm deeply, madly in love with you, and I wanna have your babys and I love in a blood blot right way. Sometimes we we lean up against cliches like it's like it's Saturday night and they're like, um the lamppost, Like, just just give give me a minute, right? Is like we expect them to do a lot for us. Did you like my drunk? It was good. I was up all night practicing the drunken. Um, and what I want to do right now with you guys is I'm going to get a marker and I want I want I want toe you guys. I want to work togethe...

r and talk about this idea of the world's most dangerous cliches because they are dangerous. They're great and they have meaning. But they can be dangerous. And I see them like I see them using a magazine like you go to a financial magazine. And as a is, there's an article about financial risk, right? And what you'll see is some illustrator who's not as adept as you guys are not as smart and savvy and good looking as all you guys are, Um, but it'll be like, Ah, guy in a business suit on a tightrope, Right? Right, Get here you see it And like a big long stick, right? And at one side is like his family, you know, on the other side is a bucket of money, right? But underneath there's like water, but it's not water. It's like dollar bills. And then there's like a couple of sharks in that you did. You see what I mean is just like cliche after cliche. Ethnically and all this stuff adds up to nothing. That's the thing. It's funny. Maybe, maybe funny, huh? Probably probably not. Um so here, one of the things one of that, one of the cliches that we're gonna be working with today. Is that correct, Right? Love, love. But wait, wait. Is that love? That's love, right? Oh, wait, wait. If that is love, that's really all of right. It's funny. It's funny what we can do with these things. What are some other? What are some other really terrible cliches? Dangerous cliches have been this money. Hey, happened this success just a cliche. Like the noun, almost like Like one of things I mentioned was the balance that means like the legal system. What is that thing look like? Scale? The scale. Oh, by the way, I can't draw for shit. Right? Is the balance thing. What are some other ones? Apple for health. Apple for health, particularly. That's awesome. That's an apple. Here. I'll make it an apple. That's what we do. That's for saving piggy bank for savings yet Piggy bank for saying, Let's just do that Headless piggy bank, um, puzzle pieces. You ever seen that? It's like the missing piece or a tough relationship like puzzle pieces. Puzzle pieces look like this. Oh my God! Oh, way have a winner, Scott right, lightbulb, I can draw a light bulb. Um, so a friend of mine said, Oh, my God, Have you checked out? So in his book, This is so brilliant. You're gonna learn so much. What are you talking about? Opening. There's a book on creativity. It's so smart. You're gonna learn so much. You should read this book. I'm on Noah. You know I love you so much. I want to go. I'm gonna call him is I'm gonna send it to you right now. So I get this book in the mail. It's a book about creativity. Like, where do you get your ideas? And I and I give open up and I get the box out. And you know what has on the cover? A light bulb and I'm like, Are you shouldn't be. You're gonna tell me you know about creativity and you've got a light bulb on your cover. Fe that away? Really? Because what was the light bulb mean? One idea, Right? Right. A light bulb is an idea, but we can play with that. It's not wrong. Why is it not wrong? Because everybody understands that. That's good. Everybody understands the heart. That's good at least gets you into the ballpark. Now, how do you get up home plate? Not just on the field. You know, that's like that's like having the parking lot. What else? What are some other handshake? Yeah, the handshake has a, like a business thing. Oh, boy. You're gonna ask me to drive? Yeah. Good. Cool. What else? Clover for luck. Clover? For luck. What Brain? Oh, yeah. For what? Well, thinking, thinking, thinking, right or the mind the mind, Which is like, No. And that's weird, because the mind is like, this completely amorphous idea that has no physical being so, you know, to have the you know, a brain in there is crazy. Now, watch this. These were the ones that we are that we that we work with. But we also work with other cliches. Right? You guys have watched you guys watch TV, right? I see a head shaking. No, I love you, darling. Um, big bang theory. My folks love that. I don't know what happened to them. Check for pods as crazy. And I think the only thing that makes it funny is a laugh track. The laugh track is a cliche it is. It tells you when to laugh without the laugh track. Most shit. One refund. Thank God. I have got one employed here. We use it, everyone. I can turn it on again. Watch. That's great. Um, you get out of high school. What's the first thing you have to do when you get out? What? The next thing I think next level, you have to go to reach college. Challenge. Sound like Ice Cube college? Um, you go to college, then you had to go to college. And then what you do after college, get a job? Why am I talking like that? You get a job, then what do you do? Worked return? You worked retired. But you might get married and buy a house and do all those those air cliches. It's really a cliche. And then and then And he touches on something. You work. You work your butt off to retire. To do what? T. But more specifically to do what you want. Wait, I gotta wait. How long? So I can do what I want. Get me off of this train, right? I like George Jetson, Right? Joe, get me off for this crazy, But that's a cliche. And to show you how dangerous things are Heaven forbid you step off that cliche. Heaven forbid you not go to college. Get the peer pressure. Parental pressure. What do you mean, you're going to college? You know how many people go to college, spend $60, get out with debt, and then don't even use that, you know? No, I learned a lot. Would you learn, like, social stuff? Like you get that working at ups? What? You kidding me? Crazy crazy. Um, another cliche that we don't think about type type. You guys are choosing typefaces. I bet if I if I go home with you and you could be nice dinner and maybe we have a little bit of wine. How could that be Cool? I got a couple days left in San Francisco just saying, um but if I go home with you when I look at your computer and pull up the type list, how many people just it just goes and goes and goes. You have all those typefaces because you're looking for the right one. The right one that has its own. It says something, right. Crazy So anyway, where's my clicker? This is a photograph of the kitchen in my house, right? And, um, this is called these or coffee notes. So whoever wakes up early in the morning, it makes coffee. Whether my wife or I do, we leave a little note, and all it is is just an act of saying, I love you. It's also practice. Just practicing with graphic design catalog comes in the mail. We cut it up and put it in there. Maybe it's just a goofy, tired Post it note, but this is practice, and quite frankly, a lot of these images have actually made it into my work because I'm like, because they're actually pretty funny. They were actually pretty good, cause I'm not trying, right? But what this is is just bending the cliche. It's just taking this and trying to make it knew all the time, right? I want all of my work to be like this. I want all of my work to be love notes if I can. If I can wrap my head around it and understand that there's an audience, a very specific audience out there who I can talk to

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.