If I’m totally honest, I’ve never really understood what graphic design was. Yes, I know it’s all about combining text and pictures, it’s about making things look pretty and sometimes it’s about selling a product, but what does this actually mean? Enter Radim Malinic’s ‘Book of Ideas’ – a beautiful journal, filled with musings of a graphic designer’s mind, and finally I get it. Taking you behind the scene of a prestigious industry, the book is stunning, insightful and as creative as its creator. I was thrilled when Radim agreed to sit down and talk all things design with Hotcourses. Whether you are a complete beginner, or have spent years in the industry, this is a man worth listening to.
So Radim, first things first, how did you get to where you are today?
Today, I am a creative director and designer who believes in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible to do through design. I work, in equal split, with multinational brands and non-profit organisations as well as brands of the future. More than a decade ago, I started as an assistant in a small print shop, then worked up my way from a junior to senior designer in a design company over the course of few years. It was once I had created hundreds of pieces of work, that I realised what I would like to do more of and that led me to go freelance. Since that day, I haven’t stopped until I reached the goals I’d set myself. When I did, I started looking further and further. Even today, I feel I still haven’t done my best work yet. This is my next goal.
Did you receive any qualifications in graphic design, or have your skills developed naturally?
Well, I have got a degree but it’s in economics rather than art or design. I am very much self-taught and I have learnt through observing everything around me. As a person with unlimited hunger to explore, I have pushed myself to learn extra skills to take me further. I design, illustrate, art direct, I direct music videos and ad campaigns as well as design online and digital apps. Every day throws at me a different set of requirements and I want to be ready.
That’s interesting, do you think graphic design is something you can learn online, or on a short course rather than doing a longer degree?
I very much believe a lot of good skills can be learned from others, therefore the idea of online courses does indeed provide a great way of helping people learn the basics. The vast majority of work is created digitally, and computers should be used as fluent tools to help you get where its required. Almost like an instrument - it’s imperative to learn the basics and not have the helpful tool taking more time than it should.
However, the downside is these courses won’t make you think about different approaches of design problems like a degree course. So to answer your question, you can’t learn graphic design in a short course - it is something that you learn when you’re working with real clients, on real projects, but you can learn the basics to get you started.
What is the biggest challenge for graphic designers today?
Great design work isn’t produced by mistake or by pressing a button. The main challenge today is to identify tools and technologies that can help your work. It’s about making the right decisions. Graphic design has got a more fragmented output that goes well beyond the printed medium. Mobile phone screens, ad banners, digital bus stop posters or billboards, there’s more to consider than ever before. Designers needs to go beyond the job title.
Your ‘Book of Ideas’ is beautiful, where did the inspiration come from to create it?
Ever since I started on my own, I have been producing showcase look books with my folio work. These previous publications would feature mostly images and some short description. However, this time with Book of Ideas, I wanted to go much further and flip it upside down. The words are very much in the forefront of the book, the images are supporting the written content. The book is a result of many conversations, observations and learnings from countless situations. I wrote chapters based on discussions with my contemporaries, more was written about the mind behind the creative person. I wanted to create a book that also speaks to people outside the design world.
I love it, I really do. You must be really proud of it…
The main idea was to create a book that combines the body of my work, behind the scenes processes, my story and thoughts on how others can benefits from it. Monographs or design books seem to follow certain pattern and be very prescriptive - I wanted to be the opposite. Each chapter in the book is meant to start reader’s thought process. Although there’s many answers to common problems, I set many open ended scenarios where people are encouraged to work out their own answer.
With the book itself, I have decided to take on the established publishers and prove it’s possible to get a self-published book to #1 on Amazon. I always had the determination to make the book a reality and I didn’t stop until it was out there.
Finally, what advice would you give to those hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Give yourself time to grow and explore whatever you like in detail. It is very easy to be seduced by the social media numbers game, when you follow certain style or trend for instant approval of your peers in the industry. The key is to take time to experiment with your own ideas and see wherever they take you. I keep my eyes open all the time, there’s still so much I can learn. To make it in any industry, not just design, you have to live and breathe what you do. The more you work at it, the more things happen.
Thank you Radim, it’s been a pleasure.
If Radim has inspired you to find the graphic designer within, why not take a look at the courses on offer here? From longer diplomas to short online courses to take from your living room, we’re sure you’ll find what you are looking for.