Interview with Radim Malinic aka Brand Nu

In design, we all have our heroes and this week let me introduce one of them, Radim Malinic aka Brand Nu, one of the most sought after designers in the industry. Radim is an art director, illustrator and graphic designer from London, England. He truly gave a proper boldness to simple colours and shapes. And with an extensive and diverse client list, Radim really showed us that it was right to believe in your skills and gotta work hard in order to pursuit your dreams.

Radim Malinic has firmly established himself over the last few years as one of the most successful and prolific commercial illustrators working today. His award winning work is renowned worldwide for its innovation, passion and attention to intricate detail.

See more of Radim Malinic work at [] or [] to see full scope of projects spanning his commercial and personal portfolios. He is also the curator of [], a design news blog for inspiration and resources. Follow @brand_nu and @colourspaces on Twitter.

Radim Malinic aka Brand Nu

1. First of all, we would like to thank you for taking your time for this interview with Abduzeedo. For those that aren't familiar with you, tell us a little bit of yourself?

I've been working under the name of Brand Nu on design and illustration projects since 2005. My work is for diverse spectrum of clients, ranging from everyday household brands to new products and businesses. My work puts emphasis on colourful aspects and strong messages during formation of brand language and products. During my time in the creative industry I have enjoyed many opportunities to expand my skill set and explore various sides of advertising and design.

Being a freelancer, I don't always know what I will be working on next, I am yet to find out who would be my dream client or brand to work for. On the top of my commercial portfolio, I have published three limited edition books, showcasing of my work, experiments and personal pieces. Recently, I have been also writing opinion columns and expert articles for various design magazines. 

2. Congratulations on the relaunch of  your site. From the actual idea to the final result, how long was the process of making your new website?

Thank you. I think it took about 6 months from the initial idea to the live date. However, it was roughly three weeks worth of man hours to do all of the work around my work commitments. I knew I wanted to simplify the lay out, I knew I wanted to weed out any extra 'design' elements and cut straight to the bone. I had my last site for two years, it gave me a good starting point, knowing what worked really well and what I could do without.

In December of last year, I sketched out the main layout exploring a few different ways of how to structure the information hierarchy. After leaving the idea to set for a few weeks, I made a few changes and sent it onto my web developer. Due to massive workload, I only had time to fill the site with content a few months later.

3. You're also the curator of the website, how did you came up with this idea and how do you manage your time with your blog?

Originally, I wanted to create online magazine, creating look of printed publication online. I wanted to turn classic print lay outs into HMTL5 website which would look noble and exciting and as always - unusual. Unfortunately, due to very little available time, I am yet to peruse the concept. In the meantime, I have started ColourSpaces - a heap of inspiration which also doubles up as my scrap book, online archive, bookmark list with many other uses.

Over the years, I have enjoyed incredible generosity of online bloggers who wrote about my work, providing links to my site. I wanted to return the favours with ColourSpaces. Visitors can see projects that I find exciting and go straight to designers websites to learn more information. Furthermore, as a constantly curious being, I always wanted to ask many questions to many fellow designers and creatives, I wanted to know their opinions on common subjects, working practises. Having been on the receiving end of interview questions before myself, there's been a lot of questions I felt could still be asked.

They could still make for an interesting interview, even though some of the people were already interviewed many times before. Very soon, I will be making selection of creatives for the Second ColourSpaces Interview season, with a few surprises in the mix. One day, maybe, I might put all of the interviews in a book, which could be a nice read.

4. You've recently moved your studio once again, how's the new vibe and how does it inspires you? Is it for the final time?

If I remember correctly, this is the 6th studio in as many years, but this one is for foreseeable future. I have relocated from Central London a few stops down the Tube line. After the couple of years in Chelsea and joys of ambulance sirens or fire crews working around the clock, I now live in a very quiet leafy suburb, not so far from Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club. Now, that I own the house I that I work from, I have decorated the workspace as I wanted right from the start. I'm truly loving the vibe and the work produced here does really show the fun side. I prefer to work from home, it gives me freedom to work when I feel like it or need to. 

5. How do you see the design industry right now? What's your take on the growth of designers around the world?

The constant fast pace of all creative industries is awe inspiring. Everything and everyone is vying for attention, everything needs to sell in order to be successful. When you look around you, it's a break neck speed without any sign of slowing down. The opposite in fact. Graphic design has been around for since day one, but the leap in digital design and illustration has been immense in the last decade. Now we have tools to turn our wildest ideas into reality.

Designers used to spend months on one piece of artwork, we know churn out the same piece of work in a day or two with many projects being worked on at the same time. We are lucky to live in the time when we have tools to help us achieve the results much faster.

Everything is becoming transparent, people crave tutorials to see how certain effect is done. We want to know all of the secrets, it's in our DNA. When you then combine the passion with hunger, you end up with vibrant international design scene - all connected via blogs, magazines, websites etc. If I finish a project and I want to shout about it, I can get a few thousand people all around the world to see it within 24 hours. The design industry, in its many forms, is enjoying very healthy period right now. As long as people feed their tools with lots of solid ideas, we should keep seeing a lot of good stuff around.

6. I've always wanted to ask you this! Have you ever had a creative block? If yes, what do you do?

Indeed I do get creative blocks, which I see more as kind of style evolution 'pit stops'. Everyone reading this interview will know that the best work is created with fresh new ideas. When you have signature style of your own, it can be very easy to fall in a trap of doing the same 'work approach' over and over. The clients who commission on basis of previous work can be just happy with derivation of what you have done previously. It is up to you if you take initiative and raise the bar of expectations.

These opportunities provide perfect scenario to be experimental and be paid for it too. It would be ever so easy to go and 'borrow' ideas that have been tried and tested. When you try to decipher your latest client brief and think of what would be the best solution as well as evolution of your style, then you might hit a wall or two before you find the next level. Sometimes, if I have an option to switch everything off, I go out trying not think about work for a day. Inspiration seems to knock me on the nose when I get around town. When it happens, everything starts making sense again.

7. What was your proudest 'Brand Nu' moment so far?

When I embarked on this journey, I did not have any plans or goals. I wanted to figure out how things are done, how I can explore the well of possibilities that are available. A few years later, I realised I could leave my day job and start on my own which I think was my proudest moment so far. I worked with some huge clients and my work has been all around the world.

I loved everything I have worked on so far, even though it has not always been walk through the park. This is very subjective industry with obstacles and challenges as well as big rewards. I remember the day my name appeared in a magazine inspiration section amongst the 'design heroes' I've always admired, I sported a very big smile on my face.

8. What are the plans for 2011, any future projects?

Now I have finished my site and rounded off a few major advertising campaigns, I will be turning my attention to a few self initiated and collaborative projects. This month, I am collaborating with photographer Nathalie Gordon on a nice crossover project which I am hoping to share as soon as it's done. Then even bigger team will be in action for my directorial debut, working on music video for Cinematic Label.

When all is finished, I have got an idea for a short movie, for which I would like to write soundtrack too. All of these ideas have been in my sketch book for some time, I've been marking down comments and adding ideas all the time, I wish there was more hours in a day to get them all done. Commercially, I would like to expands my signature style with a few new additions and produce some new exciting work for existing and new clients. So, in the nutshell, business as usual.

9. Once again, thank you very much for the interview. As a final word, inspired by John C. Jay ( What are your 10 lessons for young designers?

1. Take your time, and spend time on your growth when you start up. 2. Make sure you learn the industry basics before you experiment. 3. Good portfolio goes much further than spam email 4. Work for non profit organisations, pro bono. Think of karma points. 5. Don't steal ideas, you'll get caught very quickly. 6. Be nice to clients, they will be back for more work 7. Think one step ahead of those being two steps ahead already. 8. Self promotion is the key, think differently again. 9. Collaborate, experiment and step outside your comfort zone from time to time.  10. Always use up all of your ideas and start from anew on next project.  

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