James Victore Presents: Take This Job & Love It

In case you haven’t heard, James Victore is hosting a day long conference on September 29th.  To get everyone as excited about this as we are, we asked James a few questions about the conference and about himself.  He obliged, and here are the results:

Photo by John Ellis

HOW Magazine: What made you want to host a conference? What spurred the idea and what has the process been like for putting together the conference?

James Victore: I had been teaching and lecturing around the world for awhile, then my book (“Victore or, Who Died and Made You Boss?”) came out and changed everything. I found on my book tour I was no longer talking about or even showing my design work, but I was talking about ideas like perfection and bravery and risk. The response has been awesome, so now I have a new role part teacher, part ass-kicker, that I love, and I want to teach about how to live a more creative life to the many designers , artist, creative people not living up to their creative potential . Voila, symposium! And because I am certifiably crazy.


HOW Magazine: Can someone with a steady design career who is reliant on a paycheck next week take the risks that you say they should?  How can someone be bold within the confines of nine to five.

James Victore: The fact that we use the term “the confines of 9 to 5” is crazy. I wish our jobs were 9 to 5! More like 9 to 9, or 10 or more. Jobs like these are where boldness and courage are needed most. I don’t want to attract folks whose greatest reward in life is a paycheck, if all you want out of life is a paycheck that is all you’ll ever get—I want people who believe that a paycheck isn’t enough. I want people who want to be received for and paid for what they bring to the party, who want success on their own terms and who even understand that failure is necessary for success. I believe that this “risk” is no risk at all—it’s opening yourself up to new opportunities and killing “the usual way of doing things.”


HOW Magazine: Your phrase “your work is a gift” is pretty self explanatory.  Where were you in your career when you decided to work/live by that mantra?

James Victore: It may be self explanatory, but it’s generally not practiced. When you think of your work as a gift it changes how you approach it, it changes the game. You understand that your work goes beyond merely making your client happy—it’s about serving your audience, creating beauty, telling the truth and demanding greatness from life. I’ve always been a dreamer, always felt that the possibilities we have in this field reach far beyond what we are “allowed” to do. I’d like to think I’ve always lived by this code. I have always made the decision to live my life a certain way so that I could put the important things first.


HOW Magazine: Could you briefly describe what people will walk away with from the conference?

James Victore: Of course, I’d like everyone to leave inspired, but that wears off too soon. What I’d really like them to take away is a new way of seeing, new skills to eliminate bad habits, confidence in their work and in themselves, an understanding of how to deal with fear, and a commitment to incorporating more creative play into their work and lives.


The conference is being held in New York City.  Get your ticket before July 18th, or they will cost $100 more.  Regular tickets are $499 and VIP passes are $899.  Tickets can be purchased and more information can be found at the conference web page.

 ***James Victore headshot by John Ellis***

Revolutionary writings Robespierre would be proud of:

    • Damn Good” is a book by Tim Lapetino and Jason Adam that features various artists who have embodied many of the concepts that Victore touches on.
    • Citizen Designer” is a collection of debate-stirring essays and interviews that aim change the design industry for the better.