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Bold & Fearless Design

Lesson 3 of 26

Why Posters?

James Victore

Bold & Fearless Design

James Victore

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Lesson Info

3. Why Posters?

Lesson Info

Why Posters?

I want to just give you a brief history of James. And, um, it's because it's kind of like white posters. Why are we talking about this? This format, it's so weird, right? Kind of random. I mean, they still exist. Print eight dead. You know, you see it all over the place. Top of cars, you know, all over the place stickers. Sorry. If it's on a sticker, it must be true. Right? Um, when I was a kid, I was reared in military, were on a military base, and I had There were two posters in my room. This was, uh this was in the late sixties, early seventies. There were two posters in my room, and one was a psychedelic poster black light poster on like, black velour, right? And all the colors were We're fluorescent and my dad made me a little seven up can lamp that had a light bulb on. And it was a black light. You could just like at night, the lights would go off, and it turned out that on and the poster would glow, and I was just like, That's and it was The image was like a silhouette of like t...

wo people dancing, but they were naked, which was like, This is there's something dangerous about that that I like. And then there was another post on the other side of the room that my father, while he was travelling in Vietnam, brought back for me. And it was this beautiful poster, smaller format, beautiful poster that had a new image of Marines storming the beach all in camo colors, and it said, travel to exotic places, meet interesting people and kill them. Vietnam. Right, right. And I think now here's the interesting thing. I don't think my father saw the irony in it. You know, he was like, I hope that's what we're doing. I'm sure, right? Right. What a powerful message. What a crazy dichotomy of images. And this inspired me to like I want to do that. I want to get little 12 year olds excited and horny like that. That's awesome. And I start by talking about this poster. So throughout this class government use examples of my work for instructional purposes. If I may, and this one, it's important to talk about for a number of reasons that you guys have to understand. One It's my first. You know, um, to I mean, we could talk about the level of simplicity in it. And actually here. If you look here, I don't really stray that far. This is the exact same thing drawing on a photograph, making, being the kid who who draws the the blacked out tooth and the eye patch. Right. Um, we could talk about the typography. Oh, James. Lovely typography. I traced it with a pen, you know, and it's actually the is actually the typeface used for a very popular reading card company of name. I'm not supposed to say aloud, right, Because it was. And you know why? It's that typeface. And this is something we will talk about because it's the wrong ist typeface to use for this. You know, something aggressive like this you want, like, step soul you want you know, you you print it out, you put on the studio floor, you cough it up a lot, and then you scan it in again. And, you know, like that kind of stuff I'm like, but so you talk about that, it's it's it's surface. Or we could talk about that. It is my first poster has no client whatsoever. There's no logos on it. There's no client whatsoever. It is my reaction to the 500 anniversary of Thebes. Discovery of America, right? And in New York City at the time, they were planning parades down Fifth Avenue and there were big, swanky parties. And there was all this hoopla. And I'm thinking, you know, I'm not an idiot, but I remember something from high school about pox infested blankets. I'm wondering, you know, we're talking about Christopher Columbus and all this stuff, and I'm like, Why didn't I go to high school with any Native Americans? Why don't I didn't know any of them. Now. You know, I wanted to. I wanted to be a journalist. I wanted to put out information the same way the newspapers were. So I designed this poster, printed this poster and it's a full size 38 inch tall thing. Um, 5000 of them paid to put them up in the street wildly expensive for I don't even you know, it was like 28 at the time. I had no money, a weight. I have money. I was gonna pay rent, so I used my rent money, right? Use my rent money. Got posters put up. Watch the cops come the day before Columbus Day and take them down. Just open up the boot of their trunk. Pulled out what looked like a mop. But it to have all the frilly stuff. It just had the metal thing on it and walk up to the posters and just, like, scrape them debt, scrape them down. Right. And I was watching this and I didn't have the guts to kind of walk up and go, Hey, uh, would you scrape down the Tommy Hilfiger poster next to it? Cause it's kind of it's offensive as well, you know, interesting. But the story that I never told about this because I used my rent money, I had no money for rent. Right? And here I am, years old. I got a teeny little studio apartment. I'm living with a girlfriend at the time, or she's living with me, and every once in a while we get a knock on the door and I go downstairs and it would be a guy in a suit and he would hand me papers and he'd say, You are served eviction notices because I had used my rent money to pay for posters, right? Eviction notices. And you know what I did? I was a jerk. I threw them away because I was embarrassed. I should have saved them. I should have saved them because four years ago, I would have beautifully photographed them and put them in my book because you know what they were. They were the cost of my freedom. They were what it takes to do this job and the and the and the risks that I am willing Teoh to take. So follow that up with, ah whole Siris of other posters on different subjects. This is this is a, uh, black white relations in Brooklyn and area called Crown Heights. That was a hit and run with a guy, a Jewish guy in a van and a little black kid and whole summer of craziness. Working with real clients like the end of the CPI and why I bring this up is because we're gonna be talking about the cliche. And here I'm just using the cliche and and what I'm doing psychologically anthropologically, is giving you enough rope to hang yourself. You know, Why? Because there are 17 words that will solve this puzzle. Common words in the English language. And what did you say? First, there's no other information. There's no other information. And you went straight to that. I didn't do that. You did that. That's interesting again for the end of the CPI. An opportunity to work with the School of visual arts, making subway posters big, those suckers air big. It's awesome. And I'm like, Wait, subway! You're a school we should teach. You know, it's not just about advertising for the school. I mean, generally, when you see if you go to visit New York and their advertising posters for S P A. For School of Visual Arts, there's usually like the whole block of text. And there's like a list, all the courses and stuff. And they gave me that text and I ignored it completely, and no one ever said a thing that's amazing. You can do this. It's amazing, but it's just an opportunity to teach. People are standing on the subway. They got time, they look behind you Go. Oh, what is that? Hopefully it doesn't look like anything else in the subway. They're like what? Does somebody just come here and paint that up on a wall? And if they take the time they're reading Rilke letters to a young poet. One of my favorite bits, which says, Don't look for answers. Don't look for answers because you're not qualified for them. You have to live the questions. And one day, if you do a good job of living the questions and this is what I'm asking you to do in these two days, if you do a good job of that one day you're gonna wake up and go, Oh, you will wake up and you will be in the answer. You'll have the answer, but no one can give them to you. So an opportunity to teach in the subway an opportunity to put up a pre graffitied poster in the subway That was always just kind of a funny idea for me. An opportunity to to, um, comment. So he made this poster when the, um, the first marches, we first, very first. Just before dares Desert Storm started going into Afghanistan, right, started bombing started and there were these huge marches. This is a number of years ago. I don't remember what years was 10 10 years ago. Bay? Yeah, 10 years ago. Um, anymore. Forget, um, marches in Washington D c. A big, huge march in New York. Think there was a big, huge march here is well and we printed then this was a big poster and we found that the group called International Answer I don't know if you guys know these guys in an international answer and they were organizing the marches and I said, Hey, I've got this poster will even make more And we sent him over time They happen to be a union square the time in New York. So it wasn't that far. So we got over there, gave him these posters, and they carried them. The beginnings of the marches carried these things. And if you watch the news, whenever there's like marches or whether, like, it's like in Seattle and the the the GATT talks going on and like, there's just like hoodlums in the street protest ing. But they're just a lot of wearing their wearing like hoodies. And they were in flannel shirts and stuff, and it really looks bad on television. It just looks bad. It looks like all those stupid kids. What are they doing? But listen to this one thing. Graphic design has one thing that's easy to teach is that thin patina of typography and color, right? And to a certain extent, that works. So if you take a march a street march and you cover the whole thing with one image that looks like a movement that looks good on television, right home, the whole Obama Hope poster thing. Amazing. Can't believe I'm giving Shepard Fairey ups. I have been really lucky to have some wonderful commercial clients. I wind what? This is a very expensive Australian wine, um, working with champagne company and again, just making these simple illusions trying to play with the cliche, right? I'm not a wallflower. Don't wait to be asked The reason I'm showing you all these posters because they're all available on my shop. James story dot Um, everything is a poster to me. Everything is an opportunity to make a big, strong, bold statement. We say we say sexy, memorable and strong. This is the watch we did for a company in Japan a couple years ago. I have no idea how it works. I don't know if you look at her knees or her feet or no idea, but it does prove that sometimes are sexier than others. T shirts are an opportunity for me, right? This is I call my my to do list. That's, uh, the only thing I haven't done today is eat, so I have yet to cross that off my list.

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.