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James Victore :: Don't Be A Design Zombie

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Photo by Jonathan Velasquez on Unsplash
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ames Victore is a man of action. He believes that knowing about jazz and wine and auto-racing can make you a better designer. That graphic design is about experiences and stories and using your hands. That the best designs punch you in the gut – or, at the very least, stop you in your tracks.

Re-posted from Jocelyn K. Glei The 99%

James Victore has always been one of our favourite graphic designers, students learn about his iconic works throughout our graphic design courses. This article written by Jocelyn K. Glei for Behance has only made us love him more. Below are a few excerpts from the article that we think reigns so true in the world of design education. Please take the time to read the full article.

James Victore.png "Racism." Social poster. Self-authored. Silkscreen. 26" x 40" 1993. © James Victore.

So you like time away from computers. Do you do all of your sketching and writing on paper?

Paper, and not in the studio. I'll go to a bar or a restaurant. When I did the book, I left the studio every morning and I went to the park and sat for an hour, hour and half. I brought an idea, and I wrote longhand in one of these big sketchbooks. Then I would come into the studio and work during the day. Afterwards, at 4 or 5 o'clock, I'd go to my bar, sit with a beer or two, and refine it. Or write on a new idea. So it became this really nice process of every day. And it became a habit.

I can't do the think-work in the studio. The studio's for putting stuff together – for work-work. And if we're not doing work-work, then we leave. How many great architecture ideas have been drawn on napkins? Because they're free, they're not thinking about work.

And it's fast, right? We're obsessed with efficiency, and sometimes we forget how much faster drawing is.

My third students [at SVA] aren't allowed to use computers. It really frustrates them because they don't know how to use their hands. But I say listen, I know how much time it takes to boot up a computer, and open InDesign, and you get a box, and you type a letter in it. And you make it this big. Then you make it this big. Then you make it this big. Then you make it this big. Then you move it over here. Then you make it red. Then you make it this big. And it's like: You're not designing! You're organising. That's easy. Worry about that later.

And this is stuff I learned from heroes. It's the work you do before you ever put pen to paper. That's the important part.