London based creative Radim Malinic shares his advice for impactful brand design
Radim Malinic is a freelance creative director and graphic designer based in London.
With clients ranging from global brands to family businesses and individuals, he takes a unique approach to branding, graphic design, advertising, illustration, typography and web design.
Explain your background and journey into design – where did you study?
I’ve got a degree in economic and business management. This seemingly unrelated subject to art and design has been the best asset for my career in the creative industry.
Brand design can be a great market for freelancers looking to establish themselves – how did you first get into brand design? Have you always enjoyed working with clients on creating brand identity and graphic design?
I used to dislike the branding process due to outdated process methods. A design studio would think that creating five random logo routes would be the best way to get the work done. Of course, then the client would pick three elements from those five different logos, only to smash them all together to come out with a right old mess of a logo. I just never felt fully comfortable in any one project due to lack of clarity, not until I went freelance.
I believe in working directly with the decisions makers, this way any extra noise can be cut out and more focus can be placed on the branding strategy.
As a designer who produces a variety of projects, what do you love most about working with brand design?
Branding, more than any other type of project, enables me to spend time looking for the right reasons – the right meaning of the brand and how it should be visually portrayed. I love taking time to understand the brand, their commercial perception along with their competition. The bigger meaning of a brand is usually something that leads to seamless visual representation.
Digging deep to understand the personality of the brand – its history, function and ethos is essential for effective brand design – how much research do you undertake for your projects?
I make it my business to understand my client’s business inside out. I also try to understand their hopes and fears combined with aspirations and outlook for the future. No design work is created until we’ve finished understanding our collective vision and when art direction is established. I look afar from my clients industry and field to get a feel from other brands with a point of difference.
It’s futile to spend days or weeks on ends crafting what one might believe would be the best branding system, only to be faced with blank faces at your presentation meeting.
Working with clients can sometimes be challenging – how do you best approach branding briefs to meet the needs and expectations of a client?
Every step of the way, for me branding is a collaborative process. I keep my clients fully in the picture so they know what’s coming next. It’s futile to spend days or weeks on ends crafting what one might believe would be the best branding system, only to be faced with blank faces at your presentation meeting. I only create one logo route and they have always been successful. The reason being, I have worked with the client towards that route via visual references, research and strategy.
Do you keep sketchbooks, digital mood boards, reference materials, books, magazines etc to inspire your creative process?
I try to get away from everything work-related when I’m not working or in-between projects. My iPhone keeps hold of ideas and quick sketches and photos that might be helpful in the future to help me remind myself of things that I found interesting. I use Adobe mobile apps, they are super helpful.
How do you nurture your creative ideas in-between projects? Can you recommend any galleries or museums with permanent collections worth visiting? Do you have a favourite place to go when you’re in need of visual stimulation / inspiration?
Branding is such a functional design exercise that I tend to go and observe brands in action, first hand. Instead of occupying a very quiet gallery space, I swap serenity for the bustle of a central London shopping street. I watch and observe the frenetic pace of such a modern commercial environment. We create brands for consumers, one has to understand how to get to those consumers.
Can you offer 2-3 tips for students / aspiring & established designers looking for a route into brand design? Do you recommend self initiated projects for example?
Get as much real work as soon possible. Branding work is applicable to all sizes of client. Only by having real life experience, you’d be able to learn and trouble shoot any future mistakes. It does pay to start at the bottom and work your way through.
You can study all the books on branding but it’s the real life encounter that will make you really grow.