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Bold & Fearless Design

Lesson 8 of 26

Working with the Client

James Victore

Bold & Fearless Design

James Victore

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Lesson Info

8. Working with the Client
Designers often imagine that clients won’t value creativity or experimentation, but that simply isn’t true.

Lesson Info

Working with the Client

how many? How many you have in house jobs in house in house? How many? You work for yourself for yourself online. How many work for yourselves? 20. Okay, so and I can only do that Joke treat 23 times. Um big, hairy and ugly. The reason I say it like that it's not true. It's funny. That's not true from teaching for a number of years, I found that, like having 19 year olds and 20 year olds in class, they have this. They will often say to me, You know, I'll push him toe to take chances and I'll push him to fail and push him to make images that really skate on the edge of ledge Ability readability the edge of making sense, and they'll say, they'll they'll in their in their 19 year old wisdom. Say, Well, you know, Mr Victorian, the real world. I'm like way What? Ha! What do you mean, how many jobs have you had? None. How clients have you talked to? None. But we prognosticate that the working world out there is gonna be big, hairy and ugly way forecast for ourselves. Clients that you know th...

at just like pushes around. Tell us what to do. It's really crazy. It's crazy and it's not like this at all. I had a a talk. I gave it the Art Treasures Club in New York a couple years ago. At the end of my talk, it was a talk on D. I. Y was talking doing yourself. It was me. It was Milton Glaser and it was just a health. And it was his fancy pants designers, right? And at the end, this guy raises his hand. This kid raised his hand and says, I have a question, James and secure. What's your question? He says. I understand what you're saying about taking chances and taking risk, he says. He says, But I haven't. I have rent to pay And I said, What's your name? He said, Thomas, I said, Thomas, here's your tombstone. Here lies Thomas. You would have done good work, but he had rent to pay. Here lies Thomas. It would have done good work, but his boss wouldn't let him. Right. You guys understand this idea. This is true. We're again seeking permission. We love our clients, but we don't even call them clients. We talk about comrades We want to work with people who who are intelligent and people who we trust relationships. And we whenever anybody ever nobody but that when anybody talks to me and ask me about dealing with outside people, dealing with clients or dealing with suppliers, it's very easy to talk to to to to suggest ways to to deal with these people because it's just relationships. It's the same thing, the same way you talk with your friends. We always say to talk is to love. This is what Kim is my wife and I very happy, very argument free. And we do the same with our clients. When we see things coming up, we talk, we don't go. Hey, you know, we don't we don't let things slide like that communication you guys were going to be great communicators. Be great communicators. Talk to talk is to love is extremely powerful. Do you guys have boundaries? Have you guys set down and written down your boundaries? Things you will not do things you won't let clients tell you to do it. Push you around to do you should Why don't you? You probably do. You probably do in a relationships he won't let your wife or husband or boyfriend or girlfriend do certain things right. You should have the same thing with their clients. That's just healthy, you know. And it should include how much you will. It will not work. It should include, um how many crazy revisions you need to do all these things? I mean, it's just kind of practical. Common sense, right? Boundaries are important. To talk is to love. Also, something else about clients is we get a lot of freelance clients are lit up like a lot of independent companies who come and ask us for something particular. And I have to be smart enough. Teoh, look at what they would say. They want a logo. Let's say something as simple as a logo and I have to say, Well, what do you want? This? Look, what do you think this logo is going to do for you? And they say, Well, we need X and Y and Z, and I have to say I have to say, maybe you don't want a logo. Maybe you want a party. Maybe you maybe you want a party where you can invite potential clients. So you can, you know, Because that's what you're looking for. Or maybe you do. Maybe you don't want a logo. Maybe you want, Um, maybe I've dealt with your company. Maybe you need better service. You know, it's just stuff like that. It's just again again the same way you kind of figure out the brief. You need to figure out the client relationship and what they're looking for and make your end just a suggestion. I mean, you know, I showed you my I showed you my book that the book cover is pulled out to a big poster. The publisher didn't ask me for that. I said, Well, you know, a poster designer, that's what I do. We should make a poster on it. They said, Oh, that's that's That's awesome. You know, we bring the party. That's the other thing. Do you bring the party? You're like you should be here. Should be the guy like they should say. They should say we called Scott over to get for a meeting. This is gonna be awesome. He's Ah, he's, like, always so fun to talk to, right? We bring the party. Um, the other part, unfortunately, to talk about with clients because we're talking about relationships. Right is often when our in our burning question Siri's. We get people who write in and they talk about this kind of horrible situation they're in. And they say at my job x y z bad, bad, bad. And I have to re frame it for them. And I have to say no. You see, it's not your job. It's someone else's job. You happen to be sitting in their chair. You it sounds like you need to leave, you know? It's like it's like it's like they're in a job and that security, they're unhappy. But they're so afraid of making the move they have. You guys have to understand not all situations air great. Not all jobs or just well paid and creative. We have to understand that. Um, also, has anybody ever been fired from a job? Just one person. Are you kidding me? Just one person fired or lost a client or any of that stuff. Oh, yeah. Okay. Yeah, well, that, um Okay, here's the other question. How many people here fired a client? 23 Okay, good. This is important again. It's relationships. You are not going to use a cliche. You're not puzzle pieces. We just don't fit with everybody. It doesn't work like that. It doesn't work like that. And you should feel free to Oh, my gosh. So we have this thing called this workshop that we do once you're called the dinner Siri's. And we invite, um, six or eight designers from around the world to come and work with us for a week. And it's awesome. And the first time around, we had this amazing gal from from Corpus Christi, Texas. Her name is Amanda and Amanda. I love you. You're amazing. And she came to us and she was completely stressed out a tiny little studio. And then she ran the design department for the for the For the university. There is a tiny little student, and she had, like, all these clients that were basically she had him all for money, was all money, and she hated him there. All these tiny little pain in the ass, little things. And in the dinner Siri's I get I'm like with you for five days, four days, and we really get to know each other. And I can really call you on your shit, right? So we had a comment. We had a tough conversation about this. She left the dinner. Sure, she went back to Texas. She fired half our clients again. She realized that they were only there for money. They were only there because she needed and wanted the money. So what happened? Because she fired those clients. She was so proud when she called, like a month later. And then she called a month and 1/2 After that. She said, James, guess what I said. What? She said. The big fish walked in. I said, What do you mean? She said I had made a hole in my life because I left the head. Those left those clients and the local aquarium called and said they want her to work. And she said if I had those clients, I would have had to say no. The universe hates a vacuum. You guys listen brave and scared shitless all the same time. It's really important. And it works. Um, I have a publishing client that I work for that I love and they're in England, and they're the do books. Have you guys ever heard of the do lectures. They have a really great set of of, of, of videos online to the do lectures, and they're out of whales and they're out of Northern California. They're amazing, amazing people. Um and they said, James, we have a publishing arm that we're gonna start It's called Do Books and we want you design our books when we need a Siri's look and we we need at the end it's gonna be like 40 or 50 books. And I said Awesome And they said, Um, the problem is we don't have much of a budget And I looked at the budget and I was like, Wow, you did not have much of a budget. That's amazing. And I said, Listen, I like you guys. I want you to have good work so I will do the job which of course, presumes that if anybody else does it, it won't be good work, right? So I said, Listen, I will do the job. I will give you a Siri's look and I will design all of your covers for that fee and you get no say whatsoever and they said that scares us, but we'll do it and after they saw the 1st 5 covers that we the format in the 1st 5 covers Because there's no changes, there's no nothing. Um, they wrote on their blawg. James Victory asked us to trust him, and we're glad we did. And then I was further inspired because of that to write an article for the blogged 99 you to write an article called Trust as inspiration. I need that you can pay me a lot of money, but if you don't trust me, you're not gonna get good work. Your second guessing me? If you're asking about why this Why this? Why did you put this here? When I move, this is just not gonna be good work. If you trust me, you're gonna get awesome work and you pay me with American dollars. Or or you know, Euro is really great too. But anyway and it's an opportunity for me to really test the cliche, right? What a gardening books look like They have plants on him. They all dio So is mine. You know, I don't know what the child birthing is. Just seemed to make sense of times

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.