Drinks with… Radim Malinic

This is part of a series where I talk to designers from around the world, getting an insight into their design process, what inspires them, the tools they use and more, over a virtual ‘drink’ of their choice!

As this is a design blog after all, each designer also provides a graphic representation of their chosen drink to accompany the interview. Enjoy!

Meet Radim Malinic

Based in South-West London, Radim Malinic is a freelance creative director, graphic designer and speaker, with over a decade of experience in the creative industry. He’s also the author of the brilliant Book of Ideas.

[I am not my pixels] What shall we order Radim?

[Radim Malinic] My favourite drink, aside from the comfort food champions like tea and coffee, must be Shaky Pete’s Ginger Brew. Whoa, what a belter of a drink! A friend of mine who’s worked for the Hawksmoor group introduced me to it. It’s one of those drinks that just blows your mind and senses. It just ticks so many boxes. It’s refreshing, sweet and sour and ominously potent. Love it.

[IAMNP] What are you up to at the moment?

[RM] I’m a creative director at Brand Nu, my own little design studio based in South West London. There’s no specific label to what I do produce, I run Brand Nu as a multi-disciplinary agency producing engaging work for a diverse range of clients. My background is in graphic design and I see the work through the viewpoint of someone who solves my client’s conundrums.

[IAMNP] What are your top go-to digital or analogue tools for designing, and why? 

[RM] I have been firm Adobe user since the very beginning – there’s no magic to my use of software, in fact I use it in very simple way. No plug ins, no fancy stuff.

I pretty much enjoy all the benefits of Adobe Creative Cloud and use quite a few applications for the day-to-day projects. The main focus is on Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign for 99% of what I do.

[IAMNP] If you had to give a piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

[RM] When I look back, I’m glad I acted impulsively as I made a lot of spontaneous decisions that lead me to where I am today.

When I wanted to do something, I just gave it a try and kept going until I knew if it was right for me or not. I played ice-hockey, started a death metal band, became a full time DJ amongst other things, before I stumbled into the world of graphic design.

I’m glad that I didn’t have a plan, I just let things happen naturally. Every small piece became a part of the bigger picture of where I am now. If I could do it all over again, I would do everything the same way, except I would try to make myself be the absolute best at every particular subject. Then, I was happy to be just OK, unlike now, where I get obsessive about every little detail. I want to be the very best of what I do right now.

[IAMNP] You mentioned you stumbled into graphic design.. how did that happen?

I did many different, non design related jobs before I fully understood and identified my calling in life. My turning point turned out to be an advert for a junior design position in window of my local print shop. I applied for the job and everything started from there.

[IAMNP] Outside of your office, are there any spots you like to work?

[RM] I think the last time I did any work away from my studio, it was when I wrote 25 emails on the train to Edinburgh. I prefer collecting notes and ideas when I’m out. I’ve been using Adobe companion apps for quick sketches, notes and edits on the go, mostly for those spontaneous moments. My latest book, Book of Ideas, was also written partially on my iPhone using the iA writer app.

I really like any space where I can think. I feel lucky that I live on the edge of London so I have great access to green spaces. I feel distracted working from coffee shops or shared spaces, my mind is quite inquisitive so you can imagine me being in a new environment. I’m all over the shop – doing and thinking pretty much everything else rather than work.

For the last few years, I’ve made myself quite ‘efficient’ in my approach to my work. I create the work in my studio, but I designate time to think about concepts whilst I’m walking my dog, running or doing anything else away from the screen. I don’t wait for an idea to magically appear when I start a project, so I mull it over in my head for a few days before I make start on anything new.

[IAMNP] Do you have a favourite design quote? What is it, who is it by and why does it resonate with you?

[RM] The quote I go by is actually from surfing, but to me it can be perfectly applied to creativity and my design business:

‘Miracles can happen on any size wave’

It doesn’t matter how big or small the work we create, what matters is the fact we have jumped through the obstacles and made something out of nothing. Client work can be tricky, it’s hardly ever smooth going and it should be that way. Easy never produced great. However, when you deliver the best possible work, it’s like riding the wave. When you finish, you want to go again. It gets more and more fun with time.

[IAMNP] How do you juggle client work and passion projects?

[RM] I feel lucky that I can pick and choose the work I want to take on. I guess I could say that I get a lot of ‘creative satisfaction’ that way. My passion projects tend to be ideas that take a while to complete due to their complexity or ambition.

It’s easy to push a personal project to the back of the job queue; there’s always that client who shouts the loudest to get his project done quicker than others. Then there’s life; I became a dad ten months ago and I have even less time to experiment.

However, I try to utilise every working hour when I can. The key to getting stuff done is to write it down and treat it like a normal paid commission. If it’s not on the list, it won’t ever happen.

[IAMNP] What are the biggest challenges you face during your design process?

[RM] It’s all about achieving the true simplicity in my work. I used to help myself with extra layers in my designs and illustrations. My old clients used to treat creativity like an open buffet, they would put every flavour on my plate and I would happily oblige until I realised there’s was an issue with longevity of what was being created. The backbone of the design would be obscured by too much extra fluff. I realised that something had to change, I had to take much greater control of my work to ensure I produce work which makes much better connection with the audience.

As working designers, we should feel very lucky that we have unlimited options of making our idea happen. In the design stages, anything can be changed with a click of a button with multiples of options. We can be testing until we’re blue in the face. This is why we have to spend more time walking around the open buffet and picking only the very few ingredients that will make up that perfect serving.

Thanks so much to Radim for sharing your thoughts!

Get more Radim:

Main folio site: www.brandnu.co.uk

Book of Ideas: www.bookofideas.co.uk

Online store: www.novemberuniverse.co.uk

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