Book of Ideas: Radim Malinic

An ADC Member publishes a must-read for anyone working in a creative field.

Your summer reading list is just about completed (right?) Not so fast! This book from Radim Malinic [Brand Nu™] – a London-based, award-winning freelance art director and graphic designer – is worth squeezing in. Book of Ideas – A Journal of Creative Direction and Graphic Design, is a guide, lifesaver, and eye candy for your bookshelf. Inside it’s pages, Radim shares advice from his own experiences, working in this crazy creative world.

He’s well versed on the subject, having worked with global brands, family businesses and individuals under Brand Nu™, offering a unique approach to branding, graphic design, advertising, illustration, typography and web design.

To quote the book jacket:

“It is an outpouring of what one creative director and designer has discovered from many years working in the strange and endlessly fascinating world of the creative industry. Sharing advice on everything from inspiration, to inbox control, facing your fears, finding happiness in your work, the art of self-promotion and beating creative block, it’s illustrated with some of its authors most important and resonant projects. Book of Ideas is an invaluable tool to any creative at any stage in their career.”

Since its publication, the Book of Ideas has enjoyed a lofty perch atop the Top 10 on Amazon for 26 weeks. A flip through 256 matte pages (that smell as good as they look and feel) reveals all of this to be true. We love that its size is small enough to fit into your ADC Tote bag. Whenever you’re in doubt, just pull it out.

Happy reading! But first, read our Q&A with the author.

How did this project come about? The idea, and then who did you team up with to make it happen?

Since the beginning of my freelance career in mid 2000s, I have been self-publishing small showcase books to both promote my work to potentials clients and to sell them online to those who took interest in what I do. However, those were mainly image look-books with very few words. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of my own creative practice, I decided to yet again self-publish but this time it’s a fully fledged collection of notes, musings, observations of my time in the creative industry. In the book, there’s also showcase of work I created in the last few years. I carried an idea of creating a book that is somewhere in between a design book, monograph, self-help journal and biography of mistakes and mishaps that I had learned from. Instead of using a standard publisher with a team of helpers, I wanted to cover all parts of the process myself and prove it’s possible to get an indie title to #1 bestseller on Amazon. I wrote the book, designed it cover to cover and published through my company.

We know the work it takes to make a book. It can be long, trying but ultimately thrilling. Can you tell us about the process?

I say the book me took 4 years and 7 days to write. I am not a writer therefore I approached the content creation of the book like I would approach a design task. I spent a few years of making notes and making observations, I was then testing the content in my talks at design conferences and events, kind of like the band tries their new songs. Then based on the feedback, I tweaked the message a bit to get the right formula and clear message. I split the book content into three sections work / creativity / mind – to not only talk the creative process but also what goes in our minds that influence our work and creativity. When I finalised the names of chapters, I worked on the structure of each topic to ensure there’s no overlaps. Then, I sat down for seven consecutive Saturdays and wrote a total of 24 thousands words that formed the basis of the written content. It was literally a brain dump of 3500 words each day. I began to live and breath the process, waking up at 5am on a weekday and making notes and tweaks to what I had written via the AI writer app on my iPhone. Those early hours of the day seemed the most cognitively productive. The design part took roughly two months. I wanted the layout and showcase images to be very simple and impactful. Even though some featured projects count many different parts and elements, I only chose one element per page. Each project in the book is based on a solid idea, I wanted that idea to shine through. Once I was ready to print, it took another month of dealing with color proofs, final tweaks and then going into full production.

How did you approach the idea for “book of ideas” and how did you know what word would be in the book?

One of my previous books was titled Book of Colors – simple showcase books with a lot of showcase images. When I began making notes, I tried to come up with some really fancy titles but they didn’t mean anything. One day, it hit me and I registered the domain bookofideas.co.uk in 2004 – exactly two years before the book launch date. I have gone through the evolution that most of the designers do in their career – I abandoned the gang-ho approach in favour of the more planned and  thoughtful process that I now use. It’s great to come up with quick on the spot ideas which can look really nice, but they don’t usually last long. I create work for people to use and enjoy, it’s functional output. The approach to the book was very much the same. I just decided to write what I know and what I have been through as a designer and now as a creative director. All 42 chapters examine a topic which will give you an opened ended questions to make you think about application of that topic to your life or work. Showcase-wise, I wanted to feature a snapshot of my very diverse output – my work can be a simple type message, pin badge, packaging, print or advertising campaign, charity branding or music video. Now the book is out, I realized there’s still a lot of projects that I missed out.

You share advice in the book, what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

The best advice that I have ever received was to take at least one day off a week.

It was indeed my wife-to-be who suggested I make some life changes as I would happily work 18+ hours everyday including weekends. Of course, this is advice does come across as something blatantly obvious but it is so easy to be focused on projects and not putting yourself first, nor my partner or social life. We are new parents now and I can fully weight the effects of taking time out to watch our baby grow every day. I try to work more effectively and I take weekends off when possible.

The book cover feels so nice, the size is interesting and the matte pages look and feel really great. How did you decide on the design elements?

The physical aspect of the project was very much designed to tick all the boxes and appeal to all senses. The size, colors, ink smell and velvet touch cover – they are all made to work in unison and serve as an object of interest. In the times of bafflingly expensive e-books, I wanted to create affordable luxury that will fit any bag, desk or pocket. I get a lot of emails from ‘digital-nomads’ and I always convince them to get a copy book to get the right experience. The book is meant to be a daily companion for anyone to drop in anytime, the matte paper stock is just right for it. Glossy paper stock is for book that people admire in a special occasions. This is working book and the uncoated stock feels like a true journal.

Where can our readers purchase the book?

The title is listed on most of mainstream online booksellers, and it is available from Amazon UK, France, Germany and Spain. – for USA and worldwide shipping – it can be purchased directly from my store at novemberuniverse.co.uk

Give us three good reasons why creatives should read this book.

I want to inspire more people to keep striving to reach their absolute best. There’s brilliance in every one of us, we just need to find and use it. Alike athletes, we train and make amends to solve every new task in constantly better way, every time.

Unlike athletes, we don’t have to wait every four years to run the race of our lives, we can do our best work every day.

We need to look outside of our own playing field to find ways how to be the best at what we do. Expanding our horizons and I believe this is what’s covered in my book. Also my friend Aaron Draplin called it ‘beautiful book with killer work’ maybe that’s too another reason to buy it.

What is next for you?

I have started working on the follow up, Book of Ideas volume 2 for release maybe as early as next year. It’s been six months since the book launch and I’ve got the writing bug again. I am speaking at design festivals and events, I will be testing new content again. Also, there are some leftover chapters from the first round and I have been making new notes for extra content. Just as I thought I’d covered it all, I soon realized that I only scratched the surface. I’ve been spurred on by the incredible feedback and worldwide reach of the book that has encouraged me to keep on going. Now I’ve got the formula, I can now concentrate on making it even better for the next release.

 

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