Meet Radim Malinic: The Graphic Artist Behind Webdesigner Depot

Wdd Logo.
February 18, 2009

When I started crafting the idea for the Webdesigner Depot blog, I was looking for a designer that could create a design for the site demonstrating the fun aspects of design while being colorful, vibrant and using many different design elements. The blog was intended to be a relaxed, fun place to explore the different aspects of design.

I found Radim Malinic and his exceptional work through Webdesigner Magazine. I love the way his designs explode with boldness, color and shapes, truly demonstrating the infinite possibilities of design, being somewhat risky by breaking out of the norm. I wanted WDD to be exactly that, a loose grip on all things related to design.

Here's an interview that I recently conducted with Radim, in order to gain more insight into his professional work, his personal life and the way that he crafted the memorable design of Webdesigner Depot, which is now featured in countless website galleries.

Hi Radim, thanks for agreeing to have this interview with us. Can you please tell us about about yourself and your background?

Hi Walter, what's up? I'm a London based freelance illustrator and graphic designer, creative by day and by night too. My career started whilst living in Southampton for many years, but my studio is now based in the capital of creativity, hehe. I've started relatively late compared to other people out there, working in the creative industry was almost a happy accident.

Although I've been absorbing knowledge as a teenager at my mothers ad agency, I didn't fire up the computer til a few years later. In the last four years I had the privilege to work with some high end household name clients as well as interesting new music artists and record labels.

Everyday I enjoy exploring the new ways of work and the general buzz of it all. I don't try to play harder than I work, but I like to go out to see new bands, support my dj friends and have a pint of Guiness, roll sushi at home and trying to catch up with all the movies I've not seen yet.

How did you conceive the WDD concept for the website? Please walk us through the design process of the artwork for this website?

I was glad you contacted me on the basis of seeing the 3D Flash cover I did for Webdesigner Magazine a little while ago. When I was approached, I was in the middle of working with O2 Germany on a huge advertising campaign. The ideas sounded great and with a bucket of creative freedom I was looking forward to make start.

I believe in doing things in the opposite way, not the obvious way. So I sat down and thought about all the things that are associated with either webdesign or train depot, hehe. As I work mainly for print, I usually prepare a master illustration which is then adapted into a website compatible format. This blog design was to be very graphic, colourful and vibrant, making it look very distinguishable.

Before I embarked on the master Photoshop composition, I sat down and thought of the elements I wanted to implement. I wanted to fuse the unexpected together and started by drawing elements in Adobe Illustrator. I considered various options before I settled on the the set which served as the basis for the final piece.

It was discussed in the brief to use earthy colours, giving the whole concept quite a deep and sophisticated feel. Purely for the sake of versatility I worked in A3+ size at 300dpi so the work could be used for posters as well as the final website blog design.

One by one, my elements were transferred from Illustrator into Photoshop. All the gradual colours were achieved by brushing in different blending modes using a single colour. My idea was to tell a story of a webdesigner whose life is made up of different vital components that merge into his work.

At this stage I added the extra photography of the beloved computers, giving the whole piece extra dimension. From laptops to big screens and mobile phones, websites are viewed everywhere these days. The swooshes were done by using AI brushes and then pasted directly in.

At this stage, I was getting very happy with the overall richness of the image. Further AI 3D elements found their way in as well as colourful balloons which are used for comments in the final design. The connection is in resemblance of the speech bubble, well, at least I saw it that way, hehe. From my bank of custom brushes I added new textures for the vibrant result.

This is the first test to turn the theme into a working webdesign. The page width is rather large, therefore it brought an opportunity to expand a little. Also, at this stage the logo was starting to take shape.

After the initial feedback, the second round of amends produced the final design that now graces WDD. Visitors with larger screens will enjoy the large top section with many extra elements. I believe the page has got an excellent fun side to it, projecting a good message to people who love their webdesign jobs.

What are some of your proudest works and why?

Every new piece of work in my portfolio has to be the best work to date. Well, it should be and has been at many times. I spent most of 2008 on client commissions and it was only toward the end of the year, when I started work on my second book, when I finally knocked out a few personal pieces.

Nipponesse, Colours & Nuances are my proudest moments of this past year, with the rest of the work trailing closely behind. Also, the 'Book of Colours' was a nice finish to a hectic year. During the year I couldn't materialize a number of ideas on projects and I saved them for my book.

Can you tell us more about your latest publication 'Book of Colours'?

I had a dry run in self-publication in 2007 when I put out 'Splatters, Shapes & Colours'. It served to be the first so-called-oversized-business-card. Fans of my work could get their hands on a printed version of my work and I could have a concise portfolio with me wherever I went.

The art directors, clients and agents loved it and it was no surprise I sold out the limited edition copies. I believe in self-promotion being one of the skills a modern artist should posses, unless they give all their hope to the hands of agents.

After receiving many pre-orders before I even started thinking about the second book, I knew I wanted to put out the book in time for Xmas delivery. I've sacrificed a lot of time this year for my work and the body of it is more than satisfying. 'Book of Colours' is a true representation of where I am as a contemporary illustrator and designer.

The response to the new 68 page coffee table sized book of inspiration has been immense. Almost 500 copies flew out within the 4 week lead up to the holidays to all different corners of the globe. In times when everyone has a website, it's easy to overlook the details due to the volume of everyone's presence. The book is an excellent oversized business card and since my work is primarily for print, the quality of the publication makes a really good first impression.

What are you currently working on?

Where to start? I wanted to use the festive period to unwind and leave all the creative thoughts behind. The beauty of what I do is that I can take time off when I feel like it, not when the calendar tells me to. I like to work when other people have time off and vice versa. It doesn't always happen, but I have spent many Sundays working and many Mondays chilling out.

Right now, as usual, I've been working on a number of projects simultaneously, I just like it that way. There's an ongoing collaboration with a music management agency, creating identities for their artists. The creative freedom is immense, I couldn't ask for more as I can use quite a few bows in my arrow.

Then I'm writing a tutorial for PSD magazine, a couple of advertising projects in Canada and USA, a magazine cover for the Advocate magazine and a tiny personal project I've been trying to squeeze in for ages, and bags more .... the list could go on. The hoo-ha about economy doesn't seem to work with me, things couldn't be better.

What equipment do you use to create your work?

I started on a Powerbook G4 some years ago, but slowly I've built up a nice little set up which I absolutely adore. Now my Quad Mac Pro 2.66, 30" & 20" Cinema Screens, A3 Wacom tablet, a semi broken scanner and a pack of charcoals, are all parts of my creative arsenal.

I've just set up at the new studio in Chelsea, quite an inspirational part of London, actually not too far from the Saatchi Gallery. Although most of the 'creative' industry is based in trendy Shoreditch, I feel South West London has the right vibe for me right now.

Where do you get inspiration from?

The inspiration finds you, not you finding inspiration. Is there a way to go and look for inspiration? I like working to a brief, a problem solving work. Having a brief gives me a direction, idea and inspiration for that new project. I find inspiration in other people's problem solving, and in the way they worked out ideas.

People like Hvass&Hannibal make me really happy with their creations; Sonar Kollektiv records make the right music to suit my working process; a stroll down the busy road, or a few chilled out hours in a bookstore, does the trick. I'm not sure if I get too many blocks, I just don't have time to sit on them as deadlines are always pressing.

What are your plans for the future?

The new year of 2009 sees me actively looking for challenging new projects in fields unexplored by me. I simply love working with new clients and the beginnings of the project life, moulding their thoughts into colourful and working results. If you work for a household name, everyone expects you to get into a race and get better results then your predecessors. A new client with new business gives you all the freedom in the world to blow the people's socks off, hehe.

Also, I'm thinking of doing the NuVisualLanguage exhibition project again and I'm planning to work with motion designers on a range of experimental projects. In the world of Brand Nu it's always sunshine, although a busy one!

Interview by WDD's Editor: Walter Apai

You can read more about Radim Malinic at his website Brand Nu. The excellent "Book Of Colours" is also available through his website and can be purchased there.

WDD Staff

WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.

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