Radim Malinic is a creative director and designer currently living and working in South West London. He runs his design agency Brand Nu, a multidisciplinary award-winning studio.
Before finding his passion for the creative industry, Czech born Malinic was an ice hockey player, a bassist in death metal bands, an indie DJ, music journalist and student of Economics and Business management.
At the break of the new millennium, Malinic moved to the UK to explore the expansive music scene, only to find even greater interest in art and graphic design.
Since then his eclectic interests have seen him working with some of the biggest brands and, companies in the world. Some of his clients include Harry Potter, London Film Museum, SyCo, Sprite, WWF and USAID among many others.
Aside from his studio work, Radim designs products for his brand ‘November Universe’, Radim releases music and tours globally with his talks designed to inspire and support self-development in the creative industry.
In March 2016, Malinic released his latest publication, Book of Ideas. The #1 Amazon bestseller has helped novices and professionals across the world to find a new way of approaching their creative work. A follow-up in the series, Book of Ideas Vol.2 was released in September 2018.
Radim Malinic is also a D&AD New Blood judge, with a keen interest in helping to mentor new creative talent-spotting the future talents along the way.
The Logo Creative — Hi Radim great to have you taking part in the Designer Interview
Radim Malinic –Many thank’s Andrew, I’m glad to take part in your fantastic series
The Logo Creative — What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Radim Malinic — I was 23 and holding a copy of the Guardian and something clicked. It was the year 2002 and what I didn’t know is the fact that I was on the eve of discovering my calling in life.
The Logo Creative — What does your day consist of?
Radim Malinic — Every day is a different day due to the diverse nature of the work that I take on. Also, I’m a parent now so there’s less predictability, sometimes. I like that there’s no repetitiveness to how my days are.
The Logo Creative — What was the first logo you ever designed?
Radim Malinic — In my early teenage years, I used to retrace death metal band logos. In a way, this was my entry to the world of logos and tribalism that came with these types of extreme music genres. Some of the very old logos for bands like Carcass, Death or Entombed are timeless classics to me. Naturally, when it came to forming my own band, I was quick off the mark to have a go at making logos for us. There was no limits or limitations, the crazy illegible design aesthetic enabled me to go crazy and explore. My mum ran a screen-printing studio at that time, I had T-shirts made up for our very first bunch of gigs. We were rubbish musicians but we looked the part. And as we were indecisive on our name all the time, I spent a while making new band logos every few months. My first paid logo was for Soul Cellar, a soul-jazz venue in Southampton. I got that gig because their then Photoshop only designer couldn’t use Adobe Illustrator. That moment kick-started my freelance career.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite Logo you have designed?
Radim Malinic — There’s something about the Mintlet logo that I created six years ago. My aim was to create a logo as iconic as MasterCard or Visa. I wanted to make it instantly recognisable anywhere in the world. Shame this startup failed in the end. The branding system lives on. A little did I know it’s been copied by a few other card providers since. It made me laugh when I saw it.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite Logo of all time?
Radim Malinic — For me, it would be a mash-up of all cultures and influences. The Jamiroquai buffalo guy logos still looks fresh today as it did in 1991. The script written Marshall amps logo is another classic that doesn’t need changing ever. MTV’s flexible logo system played an important part in my inspiration. I love the type for Volvo and Citroen DS logo is fantastic. Lastly, I was always a big fan of the London 2012 logo and outer design system. Timeless stuff.
The Logo Creative — Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Radim Malinic — A few years ago, I stopped taking on projects that only require a logo design. That process was always a bit of a mess. Clients would require different ideas to choose from and there was hardly ever any planning stages prior to design work. As such there was a lack of understanding between both parties and the work reflected it. I mean, the success rate would be 60/40 so it wasn’t all doom and gloom, I just knew that I had to switch up the process to enable everyone to get the best and the most out of our collaboration.
The significance of needing a solid branding system has been recognised with a wider range of businesses, big and small. And in the ever-growing start-up climate, it’s more understood that a logo only isn’t going to provide the end-all solution. I make an effort to explain to clients what goes into the design system that provides them with the package that will get them off to the right start and for the next 12 / 18 months. No design work gets done until we’ve completed two rounds of art direction strategy planning, discussion and ideas validation in that time. Only then there’s the best chance to create stuff that is perfectly aligned with the business and its aspirations, values, and objectives.
The Logo Creative — In your opinion regarding Logo Design pricing do you prefer working on a fixed rate or customer budget and can you explain why?
Radim Malinic — My branding projects are usually based on a project fee. We agree on a branding package with a wide range of deliverable elements that get included. This way I know my clients get more for their money and stop worrying about spending every pound. They gain a sense of trust to enjoy the process. Some smaller work is done on a daily rate if it is less intensive.
The Logo Creative — How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Radim Malinic — Usually, a branding project takes four to six weeks to finish. I’ve had clients demanding a full company rebranding in less than two weeks and others that were willing to take six months to get the smallest work done. It all depends on politics and logistics, the enjoyable part of this process is to inject a dose of reality and explain how best tackle the project so it actually works in the long run. The most important part is to get people to reflect on what’s being created. We all had clients who dislike the first round of work, ask for many extra options only to go back to the first round in the end, just because they had time to understand what was created for them. This is also why a designer should take time to live with the work for a few days before we even send it on a proof.
The Logo Creative — Are you a MAC or PC User and is there a reason for your choice?
Radim Malinic — Fifteen years ago, I had to lie in my job interview when asked if I was a Mac user. I had only used PCs until that point. This question/answer used to be a genuine deal-breaker for some designers when hired by a design studio. I decided to lie to get the job. The OSX seemed super intuitive and I grew to love using it in a matter of days. I was converted there and then. Now I love when people come to the studio and point to my MacPro asking ‘And what’s that?’ Although Apple seems a bit distracted with everything but MacPro development, I love their tie-up of hardware and software in one package. I’m going to stick with them for a while yet.
The Logo Creative — Which software do you use frequently?
Radim Malinic — All my logo work is always created in Adobe Illustrator. For the rest of the work, I use many other Creative Cloud apps — Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects, Lightroom, etc. I like to use the unique strong point of each application to work in harmony across my workflow.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Radim Malinic — I don’t really have one. Everything gets created to suit their needs. It dictates the style route, not the other way round.
The Logo Creative — What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Radim Malinic — People — they are my daily inspiration. For the good, for the bad and for the interesting and crazy ways of behaving, living and existing on this spinning rock floating in the space. As creatives, we have a fantastic platform to fuse the functionality with the most artful and beautiful way to package these design reasons. Every day, I try to work out how to make stuff that people would love to use and cherish for the way it looks and works.
The Logo Creative — In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job being a designer?
Radim Malinic — The overwhelming majority of people get into the creative industry because we love the part when we feel free to make and do stuff we love. When the reality of running a business knocks on the door, it can feel a bit daunting at first. I have had the advantage of watching my mother run a creative business in the past and when that experience got bundles with my economics background, I have always made sure right from the start that my clients feel they are in safe hands of someone who’s running a business. This isn’t a glorified hobby.
I love turning inquiries into projects, ideas into the finished system, I love turning clients into friends along the way. That’s the best part of this work. The darker flipside like admin and chasing invoices is the lesser evil for running such a fun and rewarding business. We would get bored if this was just plain sailing every day.
The Logo Creative — Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Radim Malinic — My three-year-old daughter is doing a fantastic job of getting me to think and learn differently. She brought a new perspective to everything I do now.
The Logo Creative — Who is your favourite Graphic Designer and why?
Radim Malinic — I know this won’t blow up his ego so here goes. I’m happy to say David Sedgwick from Studio DBD — his work amazes me every single time. He’s one of those supernatural designers who turn anything into gold. Top bloke too. I saw him the other today in Manchester. I can’t wait for him to read this answer.
The Logo Creative — What’s your favourite design quote?
Radim Malinic — There are a few quotes that I will always go by, but these three are the stand-alone timeless ones.
- ‘Creativity is contagious, pass it on’ — Albert Einstein
- ‘Gimme six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe’ — Abraham Lincoln
- ‘Miracles can happen on any size wave’ Paskowitz Jr.
The Logo Creative — In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Radim Malinic — Make people stop, make them think and feel something.
The Logo Creative — What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Radim Malinic — I have sacrificed a lot of sleep over the course of many years. I worked on creating my own folio whilst I was in full-time employment. Therefore I worked 9–5 and then from 8–2 in the morning. I used to sleep four to five hours a night and go again. I loved the work and buzz of making things happen, but it would also be physically extremely exhausting. I would collapse every month or so because I didn’t know how to plan my time or how to rest.
When I opened my own freelance business, I would do the same thing over again, but it would be admin and meetings during the day, and then work in the evening until 4 am. Again, I absolutely loved it but I would be a broken man as a result of it. The burnout it caused, it had to be sorted out with the help of mental health professionals to get me back on track. I take greater care of making sure I plan and work, play and rest in the most efficient way possible.
The Logo Creative — Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Radim Malinic — It’s easy to regret mistakes we all have made — but they make us stronger for the experience. If I didn’t make them I wouldn’t be where I am today.
The Logo Creative — If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Radim Malinic — To learn how to speak up about my work. We underestimate the power of language in the design process. It’s the part of describing the logic and process we take that gives us another layer of armor in delivering the good stuff. Designers can get lost in the agency-client chain where most of the talking is done by account handlers etc.
The Logo Creative — What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Radim Malinic — My wife had to tell me repeatedly to learn and take a day off. As a designer, you are never finished. There’s always something to do. I had to learn how to switch off.
The Logo Creative — What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Radim Malinic — What makes you and your business unique is the body of work that you produce. It takes a lot of time and projects to work out who you are, what you stand for and what’s the type of work that makes you feel good.
Don’t stress about making a logo for yourself before you made a logo for anyone else. Just like a musician, learn your instrument so you know it like a back of your hand. Then you can focus on turning your ambitions into reality. When you’ve made something out of nothing, when you’ve made the impossible into reality, then you’re becoming a force that is ready to repeat the process time and time again.
Your creative work is a marathon. Take time to plan ahead how you wish to use your time and effort to make sure you are always keen, inspired and challenged. There will be times when you will question yourself and your abilities just like everyone else. It’s just rain clouds going past. Let it rain and then move on back into the sunshine. Teach yourself how to be razor-sharp focused on what you do all the time. That’s the only way to experience what you make. Enjoy it!
PS: get a copy of both of my books!
Originally published at The Logo Creative | International Logo Design & Branding Studio.