Yes, it’s a shirt. And yes, this is a subject I’ve delved into a few times on the blog in the past in the context of my approach to home renovation and my own self-image (side note: I need to re-read that post today), but James Victore—designer, artist, teacher, truth-speaker, all-around hero—nails it on a regular basis:
“Designers are too concerned with the idea of ‘perfection.’
“Perfection is the death of creativity. Perfection lacks spontaneity and surprise, instead it assumes ‘knowing’ and certainty. Creativity is about being OPEN and curious but perfection is closed tight in its search for an answer. ONE ‘right’ answer—but creativity is not math. Perfection also assumes that you are smarter than your audience because you know the ‘right way’ and the ‘rules.’ But this attitude leaves no room for your audience to be involved in your process. Creativity, like a good joke, slowly pieces together in your audience’s brain until it explodes with ‘A-HA!.’
“Perfection stops you from starting projects or even relationships because you are not ready or perfect. And it stops you from finishing or shipping projects because they are not ready or perfect. The weather, the economy, the atmosphere will never be perfect, your timing will never be right, you will never be perfect. But you know what’s better than perfect? Done. Done is better than prefect.”
I’m currently taking James Victore’s Bold & Fearless Poster Design course at CreativeLive, and it’s FANTASTIC. I don’t care what you do for a living, what you wish you did for a living, or how much experience you have in whatever it is that you do: This course is for everyone. Highly, highly recommended!
UPDATE: I just got an email alert letting me know that Bold & Fearless Poster Design is now 25% off! Use the code Victore2015 before 2/1/16 to get the discount. Nice!!
I took his Radical Typography course on Skillshare last year, too—also incredible. Sometimes you just need that push toward fearless imperfuction!
This class sounds amazing and just what I need! Thanks, Anna! I have a big history of not starting things because of feeling like something won’t be perfect. I’m just starting a new business and the last thing I need is my fear of perfection holding me back and derailing what I want to create.
I watched the class live and it was great! You had posted (on Twitter?) about one of his videos awhile back and I’ve been following him since. I’m kind of in love with his philosophy, process, straight-forwardness and just him, in general.
Oh, and I forgot to add: Is the class influencing your awesome re-design ideas?
It’s having an influence on how I think about EVERYTHING in life (really), so…yeah. But really, the other typography class I mentioned was instrumental in getting me to stop fearing my own handwriting. It was a HUGE obstacle for me to overcome.
Feckin A. Thank you for this!!! I have been thinking about this for a while and you just nailed it on the head. I have lots of ideas but usually don’t start a project because I think my execution will be sh*t. I have a new saying its Fuck it… say it load say it proud and get on with it.
This class sounds incredible. I love the idea of feck perfuction – a lot of times we don’t live up to our tastes, so we just quit. Wise words, my friend.
Thanks for this Anna! I am hopelessly lost in perfection right now! Just the process of finding the right Logo has me lost in a loop of indecision and never finding the right look!….when the whole point is just to get out there! I am going to check out his class!
Oh, I want to take this class or the typography one… would you recommend one over the other for general purfunction?
This one, Sarah! The typography one is also great, but it’s more geared toward experimentation with different writing implements and learning to “loosen the hand.” I honestly believe EVERY person—artist, designer, or banker—can benefit from the Bold & Fearless course.
Love this! Particularly the part about perfection being the death of creativity. I just wrote an article on my blog about the perfect post being the published post and it was inspired by a conversation about the “perfect” post not being very shareable… there’s nothing to discuss if it’s perfect.
How much of this course is focused on digital design? It seems from the course description that this is a component, but how much? I ask because I am totally inept at digital design (like even basic photoshop tutorials escape me because people start talking about layers and I’m like, huh?), and too heavy a focus on this will just frustrate me. But I’m dying for some sort of creative class right now, and this is actually something I may be able to afford. Thanks for the feedback.
Hi Jen, 0% of the class is focused on digital design—it’s not even about technique, really. In the context of the class, computers are present more as a means to display work and slideshows than anything else. It’s more about learning how to express ideas, narrow down concepts, achieve the reaction you want, and, most of all, how to let go of rules and preconceptions and get in touch with your own voice and vision.
I honestly meant it when I said that this class would be great for EVERYONE, from math teachers to painters to lawyers to teenage dreamers. Go for it!
Thanks, Anna! I’m sold. As someone who loves to do art recreationally, but sometimes feels like I’m not creative enough, this sounds like just what I need!
Thank you so much for this. 🙂
Thank you for sharing with us this online course by James Victore. I am inspired just by reading this “Feck Perfection” post. I just signed up for JV’s Creative Live course today. Although, I love binge-watching tv series like Parks and Recreation on Netflix, this online course will be a nice break from that. 😉
So many thanks, Anna!
Thanks for posting this, I saw that class come across my radar but didn’t realized it had more to offer than directly discussing posters. I was hesitant to look into it as I do make art prints and try not to be influenced too much by what everyone else is doing.
I’m knee deep in trying to make a new leather collection “perfect” before I start sharing it online and it’s a fine line between endlessly fussing with it versus calling it a day and just going for it.
Take home messages from this and linked posts
– Done is better than prefect
– ALL women are “real” women
Definitely, Marta. 🙂
james victore is just the best. i loved seeing him speak, too.
Hi Anna, Just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this. I have had a half completed chair in my garage for a year because I wasn’t sure of the techniques to go further or if the fabric I bought was right…but NOW I figured out that shit all on my own and the fabric looks amazing! It’s not perfect but it’s DONE!!! I may well have created the first sale-able item of my upholstery career. Thank you xxxxx
Thank you so much for this Anna,
I had to wait for a pay day to purchase this course, but I’m hoping it will re-inspire me to continue along with my job search and get a job that is really deserving of my hard work and dedication. It’s so easy to get down on out skills, and personally I’ve been having a real issue with creativity lately. I’m still working hard outside of work hours, and will continue to do so, but hopefully this can give me that push I need to become confident in my skills and get that job I want!
I am forever indebted to you – because of this post I signed up to receive an email from Cotton Bureau if the Feck Perfuction tee ever came back — and today it did!! And I got one for my very own! Life goals!!
Thank you Anna. Just finished the class. Loved it.
I’ve been wanting to take this class! I love James and would pay for any class he’s offering up.
I was wondering Anna if you ever consider writing a post on what tools you like to use when creating, either both digitally or just the old-fashioned way? I am trying to get into painting to create my own textures and resources so I don’t have to rely on stock and typefaces for all of my design projects, but I’ve never really worked with any paint. You seem to do so a lot, and I would love to know what kind of tools you like, especially when hand lettering. Your technique is beautiful!
Melissa, I use anything that’s available to me! I pretty much always take the most direct route. In other words, when you see something in my work that looks like paint…it’s probably paint (or ink, or some other tangible substance). I don’t even own a digital tablet! I paint, let the paint dry, scan (or if I’m feeling lazy, I take a photo), and select by color range in Photoshop to isolate the artwork from its background. Then I can use the brushwork for whatever I need.
I also use ballpoint pens, old markers, new markers, pencils, oil crayons, China markers…whatever is around, honestly, and whichever tool will give me the kind of mark I’m looking for. I also scan (or photograph) textures I find all the time to use in collages, and I have a huge collection of halftone screens in various dot sizes and patterns to layer on top of photos or type.
Also…there’s nothing wrong with stock! I don’t personally like using pre-fab hand-lettering, but hell…if you’re paying for a license, use whatever you want! I think a lot of designers worry about whether or not they’re creating everything from scratch. Frankly, I don’t think that matters. It’s all about using whatever resources you need in order to create the best-looking thing for your client. It kind of ends there, IMO. 😉
Thank you! That’s such a wonderful answer. And yes, I worry so much about creating everything from scratch, and it’s overwhelming. I need to realize that sometimes (or often) the best work I make is when I also learn to utilize tools and resources created by others to get my vision across, and that matters more than whether I created everything from scratch.