Brand Identity for Startups

Radim Malinic

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You can also listen to this podcast on my YouTube channel.

Table of Contents:

  1. Startup branding cost
  2. Brand discovery (planning)
  3. Design process (process)
  4. Application (application)
  5. Conclusions


Arek Dvornechuck: What's up experts Arek here from Ebaqdesign. And welcome to On Branding Podcast, the only podcast where I interview branding experts to give you actionable tips on everything branding and beyond. And in this episode, I interview Radim Malinic and we're talking about brand identity for startups. Radim is an award-winning creative director, graphic designer, speaker and author based in London. He is also the person behind Brand Nu, which is a multidisciplinary firm that aims to offer a unique approach to branding, including graphic design, packaging, illustration, typography and User Experience. So, through his personal Brand Nu, Radim has been working with some of the biggest brands in the world with clients including Nike, Harry Potter, Sprite, WWF, just to name a few. So Radim has published several books that are basically a collection of his work over the years along with these tips and advice as a designer. So, his latest book is called “Book of Branding”. And this is the book we are going to talk about today. So, Radim is an expert when it comes to startup branding and that's why I really wanted to have him on our podcast to talk about the process of branding a startup. Hello, Radim, thank you so much for taking time to join us on our podcast.

Radim Malinic: Well, thanks for having me and thanks for that lovely introduction, makes me sound quite important. Yeah, thank you [audience clapping]

1. Startup branding cost

Arek Dvornechuck: Thanks. So, I wanted to make this podcast actionable for our listeners, right. And talk about your brand identity design process, okay. So, your book is… to say that is fantastic, its beautiful, its beautifully designed, its jargon free, its written in rather a conversational tone and with a bunch of real-life case studies and examples along with your beliefs and tolls on the process, which really makes it easy to understand.

So, before we talk about the process itself, I just wanted to talk about how much branding can cost because, you know, you've got a chance to work with some of the biggest brands, but mostly you work with startups, right? So, let's imagine that there is a startup and they want to build a strong brand. And they believe in doing this the right way. So, they want to work with an expert like yourself who can deliver top quality work, and therefore they get a good start in business. So, whether it is for business owners who just want to have an idea of what kind of investment we are talking about at this level, or some of our listeners are creatives who are just curious, how much do you charge? So, can you just speak about that a bit? What’s the cost of branding a startup?

Radim Malinic: Wow. Um, yes. That's a very good question. I like that we start with money. Let's go for money first. It's a multi-faceted question with a multi-faceted answer. The actual term startup seems to be somewhat again, multifaceted itself. I think startups, and you get people who have an idea, and they call themself a startup, because that's somewhat fashionable. I mean, startup is a scalable business who adapts and grows really quickly. Whereas lots of people who call themselves startups, individuals, small companies who literally are just starting up and so in a true sense, I think there's a different meaning about what startup means. So, you can have a startup with sort of seed funding, and you can start with, let's say not 50 people try to be a one thing and then you can have someone who's a person who has got no funding and wants to start something new, and they would call himself a startup. So, I think we have to be sort of careful about who we relate to and who we work with, and who is that person or who has done that sort of startup and his nature and in its size. Because you know, a startup of a proper size, proper funding can easily spend 100,000 pounds on branding, marketing materials, website, they are fully fledged company. So, when you think I mean, Airbnb is technically still a startup, Uber still a startup and their branding costs go through the roof and the marketing goes go through the roof, because of the scale of the application. It's, again, it's very intricate, its huge. So, you know, you can sort of... it's like kind of judging a sport that goes to the Olympic level and then goes to the grassroots level. So, it is like the Ubers and Airbnb, and all of those guys, they are very much the Olympics whereas you get a grassroots level, which is you know, hitting on this and that person trying to learn something new. So usually, you would get the people that I have decided to work with or sort of put in my studio towards is, people on a smaller basis. I really like that newness. I like that sort of combustive passion from people who have an idea, they scramble some money together and they want to get started. And the problem is, I think lots of people make, who want to work with startups, they expect that the first sort of initial bill is going to be, let's say, 50,000 pounds. They're like, okay. So, startup XYZ come to me, and they said, we want branding identity, we want website, we want ecommerce, we want all of this, but they only have, let's say 10,000 pounds or 5000 pounds, and most of designers or small studios will go, well, no, there's no point working with these guys, because they know, they're not paying exactly the money that you want them to pay. And the problem is with that everyone starts small. Everyone starts on a small scale. And unless you have unlimited funds and investors, you're always going to come across to the point where you need, obviously, the bigger budgets. So, the problem that people mainly make is that they get put off by this, and this is not for me or they would not make it work. Whereas I see this as a sort of entry level. Because when you think of it, I know we normally start around to 10,000-pound mark for a basic identity and small applications. So, we do our sort of branding, our sort of strategy and positioning and kind of be helped. We are strategist, we look into what is it all about? What do we do? Where does it slotting into the market? then we go into the creative process, and we create identity depending again on the size of a business. And then we do small application, depending on what it is, then usually we add E-commerce or just a website. And honestly, it depends on the scope of application. So sometimes these projects can be initial payment lets say 10,000 pounds, but overall through their lifetime, they can pay 50 to 100,000 pounds in the space of a few years, just because we meet those people at beginning with a sort of more appropriate budget. But we grow with them or sort of they grow with us, if that makes sense. So, we never get put off by sort of people having small sort of smaller budgets, because they grow into something bigger because no one had that's an option, not one, that's a lie. But not many people that we work with have got 100,000 pounds at the beginning. And you can see a very adaunting amount of money to invest into something that is not proven concepts. So yeah, it's not been unusual to have people who are proven VCs, or they work with proven VCs, having proven businesses that they've sought, that they will still want to invest on the let's say, $5,000 to $10,000 to just to start something new to mount a proof of concept as an MVP before they go into something else.

Arek Dvornechuck: Right. So just to sum up for our listeners, so takeaways, you know, we need to... So, what kind of startup? so it could be one-person startup, or it could be a team collaborate to raise money. So, startup can be, you know, various age and size and things like that. But basically, you said that you start at 10,000 for a basic identity that includes strategy, and then you work with those clients and they can turn to 50- or 100,000-pounds engagement later down the road, right? so...

Radim Malinic: It's true. Yeah.

Arek Dvornechuck: So just to give people a sense of it.... it could be $5,000, $10,000 or $50,000 to $100,000, it really depends. But usually you start, you know, a minimal level of engagement would be $10,000. Right.

Radim Malinic: I mean that is our entry level. I mean, I think we also sort a lot of inquiries where people will try... I mean, we don't go below that price, because we see that there's a studio cost, there's a human cost, you know, human resources cost. And it also sort of makes people to actually make a commitment, because you can, if you work for lesser of a fee, you can work with anyone, and you can work twice as much and twice as long. And we know that through our process that I've so... I mean, so passionately devised into even to a book form is just that the process that I've got in place dictates the success of delivery. So, we work in a certain way that it's been tried and tested. And obviously it requires a certain amount of time that needs to be covered by that sort of first initial fee. Of course, you've got studios who done work below 50,000 pounds or you got studios, but not below 100,000 pounds. But there's that the cord senior team here's the two people with sort of external team. And yeah, we bring people in on the basis of what we need at what time and that suits us and people feel that I have to work on initial budget on 20,000 pounds. But the thing is how long is a piece of string because you can be working on something for double the money and triple the money. But you will get more requirements and more cannot be more tied up. Because the more people invest, the more nervous they become about what they get them back. And this is all about questions of trust. So rather than sort of getting people from paying for their nose and initial stages, this is all about proving that, you know, if it makes more investment, and it works, obviously, you grow with the studio and with the client, vice versa, to deliver bigger things. And definitely enjoy it because there's nothing worse than doubting clients who, you know, once every pound spend well, and they won't return on that pound by asking you for extra changes and extra zoom calls and extra bullshit, that is not necessary. Like a branding is a mathematical equation. If you know where you're heading, you can like again, compare it to sports, like a hockey you know, if you pass it in right places, and shooting in the right corner, you score a goal and I feel as the same with branding. Like mostly if you got the right... if you work out where you belong on the market, what’s the competition, what’s the whitespace, what's your nature. what’s your archetype, you are building together, this visual story that I see now has to add up an equal something and the right dose.

Arek Dvornechuck: Right and nice, because this is the next thing I wanted to talk about, because not so many people. So, first of all, I just wanted to say that $10,000 is not a lot because, you know, all the other Pentagram or other agencies would charge you know, hundreds of thousands for similar quality work. And the second thing is that not everyone can do that, of course, you can hire someone, some designers for less than that. But you mentioned your process, you have a proven framework and that's what I wanted to talk about now.

2. Brand discovery (planning)

Arek Dvornechuck: So, since we've covered this, and we have some idea about the investment. Now, I want to start with brand discovery and talk about planning, you know, before we actually jump into design. So now this is very important step, right? So, can you just talk to us about the discovery phase. What are you looking for there? How do you interview stakeholders? How do you craft brand brief? How do you conduct visual research? Can you just talk to us, just walk us trough...

Radim Malinic: I'm happy to, Yeah, of course. Yeah, I'm happy to sort of tell you all the secrets how we do, even though they're not really secret. And when you mentioned with the sort of the pentagrams and wildfowling some sort of people paying more money. And people need to also recognize that there’s different levels and layers to the brand identity. What we do is fairly simplified. We know about our strategy, we know about positioning, but we are not brand strategy agency, you know, we don't try to be everything to every man. So, when you've got a bigger startups, though, of course, they come with bigger sort of hierarchy and infrastructure that you know, you've got a head of purpose and head of brand and head of design, head of marketing and all those people have got different requirements and therefore bigger agencies are better tailored to deliver on that and therefore the fee is bigger, because you might find yourself that the actual price of the identity is 10,000 pounds, but everything else that goes in it, you know, with activation and all of that stuff. That is where money goes. So also, bigger agencies can do sort of ... they can fly out and they can interview people on the spot or in the different locations. Whereas what we've do or what we've been doing, we've been very much pre COVID ready, like I'm running the studio from Kingston in London, Southwest London. My design partner is in Budapest. So, we've been working remotely ever since. And I've been running Brand New for Crickey about 16, 17 years, been in a game for nearly 20. And I've always been used to work people remotely. So, I'm very good at asking questions, distilling, you know, the meaning and answers from people kind of getting the stuff that I need to know, and we tap into people's ambitions and aspirations because most people who come to us do not know what branding identity itself entails. They haven't got a clue, they know they need a logo, then only they need a brand and speech marks, you know, like been in brand. But the reason also why wrote a book is that it tailors to those people. It really simplifies it to what we do. So, the first stage, as you correctly said, is the sort of planning and strategy and it's, in a way, I can liken it to a dating, you know, like when you meet someone for the first time, they'll tell you how amazing they are, and what not, what they've done, and all that sort of hot, shiny stuff. And then once you sort of get to know the person after person, you discover other personality traits, you discover other sort of, you know, things about a person that they will be withholding with them, withholding from me. Because when we meet someone, we are always the best version of ourselves. So, the client or prospective client will tell you that they've got endless amount of money, and they give you endless amount of creative freedom, the agency will be nodding, like yeah, we can do everything we can do, we are the best in the world. And then the reality sort of creeps in and you realize that, you know, the client hasn't gotten endless amount of money and they not really let you in and trust you too much. And the agency know that they can't do everything, and they won't do everything well. So, in that stage, we take time to understand our new clients, understand the startups, understand market, mostly market space, because we've been lucky to work pretty much across many different industries. We work from underwear to sportswear to CBD to vitamins to supplements to food, and drinks, you know, all the way to Harry Potter's and Nikes in a creative digital sort of experiences. And it's I mean, it's fragmented and we do work across different landscapes and disciplines and industries. And it kind of keeps us fresh and interested. Because it's, you always have to sort of put on a different hat or you know, put on a different pair of shoes just to sort of understand people's problems, because those who claim to know everything do not know at all, what they are talking about.

So, we Yeah, we initially send a sort of branding questionnaire just to get the client thinking about what they need. Some people can come already with a brand brief, some people can come with a creative brief, but most of the time, especially on a grassroots level, people haven't got a clue what they want. So, we try to sort of work with them to extract from them what they're after. And normally, if we do it via zoom, or via phone call, or you know, that something needs to be able to do in person. And it's all of this is about finding out answers, and also trust building we get to know the people and we listen to them, you know, as this is not right, here's your brief now, when can we see three ideas? Like, never, go away. And you know that we don't work that way. So yeah, it's a simple process, but we look at everything that person out of the startup hasn't thought about.

Arek Dvornechuck: Right. So just to sum up for our listeners, so you're working remote. So, you've been ready for that. You've been working remotely, interviewing your clients, via zoom or phone call, sending out a questionnaire to fill out asking the right questions, tapping into their ambitions and aspirations. And so, what are you trying to do is you're trying to understand their business, right? and understand their market because as you mentioned, every client is different, and you've worked across many different industries. So basically, what kind of... is that you deliver a strategy brief? is that you are working on defining things like brand purpose, target audience, and brand personality, selecting the right archetype?

Radim Malinic: Um, yeah, I mean, it depends on a client scope, and budget. Obviously, if someone needs a detailed brand strategy, that's a document and that's a delivery of its own. And if we are just defining where we had in with it, it’s usually formatted in sort of our direction of sort of stimulus proposal. You know, if someone, it's almost like, imagine if somebody has a brand strategy document, that's a delivery of its own. We usually take those findings from our research and from conversations and form it into a visual part. So, we based on the target demographic or the age demographic. And we feed into visual stimulus, we feed into Visual Art Direction proposal where we work with the client and say, okay, based on answers, or based on our findings, based on our knowledge, based on my research, this is XYZ. That we proposed that we do for XYZ for delivery asset number one, or two or three or four. And so, we simplified because on those budgets as they, you know, let’s say you go to a brand strategy agency, it will cost you 20,000 pounds just to get a strategy document together. So, it's, again, like we simplify the things and we just say the right amount of the information and the right amount of findings and put them together. So that became sort of deliver within our price point. Then further down the line, those things can be extended, and makes more sort of [Inaudible 20:36], more sort of more bigger and more sort of concise But what we do, like, depending on the size of the project, usually we have smaller personas, and especially for this particular podcast and interview, working with the smaller startups, obviously, you don't overwhelm them with too many things that they might not even understand. So, you just take the findings and feed them into the visual side of things.

3. Design process (process)

Arek Dvornechuck: Right. So yes, okay. So, you conduct some interviews. This is the planning phase. This is the first phase. You develop some strategic insights. And this is to serve you in, you know... So, you basically base your creative directions, your concepts on those findings, right. Okay, so now, I wanted to talk about the process, the design process. So how you actually move from those strategic insights into actually developing some cons and how to translate those findings into for example, hey, we're going to look for the right typography. So how do we find the right typography?

Radim Malinic: Yeah, so yeah, I think I know what you mean. Yeah. So, it's all done visually. So, if you ask someone what they want, they will never tell you exactly what they really like, because they think what they saw yesterday, that's what they like today. But you find out that actual sort of... liking of something is totally different. So, it's like that Henry Ford quote, you know, if you ask people what they wanted, they would say faster horses and not cars. So, because what we create is very visual, we start visual. So, we put together our sort of dream shopping basket. I mean, it's an undirected proposal. So, sort of from related and unrelated examples, we put together a direction proposal, based on the strategy, based on a discovery, based on the findings, and we show clients, what is it potentially that the ingredients is... of an elements of the brand could look like. So, we talked about different colors, the perception, how it's been done before. how it's been done in different industries, how it's been done elsewhere, what’s the peripheral vision on the brand V of target demographics. And we look at sort of products in a sort of similar price bracket, across other industries, or you know what, let's say, what shaving foam people buying or what whiskey they drink? And how does this kind of slot into the brand view of an ideal persona and we are working towards one idea. So, we don't create three different logos, or six different sort of websites or whatever, like we work on one idea. So, through this process for this conversation, we're really trying to get to the bottom of what is that what is the sort of outcome of this equation? So as these people who we're working with, they don't know what's possible in a way, and we usually at this stage, show them okay, on this budget, you can actually have something which is 10 times bigger better than you've understood, because sometimes, you know, you go to an agency and they can charge you 10,000 pounds for a logo and because they've got, you know, lots of staff and nice offices. But obviously we deliver on that budget, on that initial budget a lot more.

So, it's a question of, you know, showing the people that this is the beginning, and this is when they get excited and that's usually at this process where more budget has been found or what you know, we create lots of 3D image reel and visual storytelling. People find extra budget for visuals, for brand assets, you know, this is where things start to grow quite interestingly. So yeah, that's what we do like, we go from mood boards and visual stimulus into the design process because until we agree, what we're going to do with a client has no point of going forward. There's no point of doing a dance of like, do you like this? No. Do you like that? No. Can you change this? can you make it bigger? Can you make it smaller? Can you make it red? can you make it blue? Can you make it this? It's endless. There's this literally hundreds of thousands of designers doing dance with their client every day on this planet, because we've all done it. And we're all foolish, and it will never go away because it's never properly conducted.

Arek Dvornechuck: Now, we are going to take a quick break here, but we'll be right back. Listen, my mission is to help people design iconic brands. So whether you're a business leader who wants to be more intentional with branding, and all of its aspects, or you are a creative who wants to attract powerful clients and surely be able to help them with branding, then you need to start with a discovery session, and then develop a strategy that will inform all your creative work, and everything you need to learn how to do that, you can find in my online courses at, where I share with you my worksheets, case studies, video tutorials, and all other additional resources to help you feel safe and strong about your process.

Now let's get back to our conversation with Radmin Malinic. So basically, the takeaway is you start with mood boards. So based on that strategy, you get together with the team, and you make some decisions about things like visual language, the things like they prefer a color palette and order a, you know, layout and so on, you create some mood boards. So, you try to basically take small steps with your client along the way. So, once they approve those mood boards, then you're working on one idea, right? You're not presenting five or ten concepts. So, it's not like a big reveal, it’s more of a collaborative process. You work with your client, and you take smaller steps and have them approve the mood boards and then work....

Radim Malinic: Yeah, if I could correct it, like we get them to prove our vision. So, we show them what's possible. We also come with a suggestion. So, we say okay, so this is our suggestion, this is how we feel. That what you asked for, this is the answer. And so, we make suggestion, because this is what we get paid for. So, we need to process and we explain, you know, just like I would want an architect to bring my dream house around what I want and what I need, you know, how is it gonna make me feel That's what we do for our clients, like we make the best and most educated, you know, judgment on what they need. And suggestions. So yeah, that's how it works.

Arek Dvornechuck: So, you show them what's possible, and you work with them to you know, to bring that to life, right?

Radim Malinic: Yes, that's correct. Yeah.

4. Application (application)

Arek Dvornechuck: Ok. So, now let's talk about developing other applications. So... because... since you've got the clients approval, let's say on the logo, and of course, you present the logo on some basic applications, but then once the direction is approved, I assume that you all design other applications, right? So, depending on the scope of work, it might be you know, I know that you do a lot of different things, you know, including 3D graphic design, user experience and things like that. So, can we talk about that... what are some of the best practices or perhaps things to avoid at this stage? And, you know, can you just walk us through some of the most, perhaps the most common applications that you design for you know, a startup?

Radim Malinic: Um, yeah, there's no such thing as the most common as there's always... tailored to what the clients asked for. So, there's no point showing them T-shirts when they will never need a T-shirt. There's no point of showing them a tote bag when they will never print tote bags. So, it’s based around what they making. So recently we were branding a band like almost a virtual band and we did lots of fashion designs for them, you know, just create a clothing and create like, how the guitars and the drums and how the instruments will be branding. Kind of just created a whole thing around it. And we did that. At the logo stage we did that, in our first proposal because we are not creating just a singular sort of sticker or logo in our languages. We're not creating that we create an identity therefore we show identity, how it works all together. And sometimes through conversations with our clients, the logo itself it's very much a part, not sort of thing on the flag somewhere high up. It's very much a part of it, so our clients can very much excited about visuals we can do, like all the extra layers we can add, how it all looks together, and what story we can tell Because I see our work and hopefully not the least designer be as talk [Inaudible 30:03] we are visual storytellers. We really through the conversations, we earn so many interesting ideas that they're very useful for the application later. So, we do try to present as much as possible at the reveal stage because we have spent a few weeks or months working on the idea with the client get into the design stages, therefore, we show can i say as much as possible because it's hard for anyone to, you know, envisage... envisage of whatever brand could be just from a small logo on a piece of something like, you know, Beast.

I remember 20 years ago, we used to send like five logo ideas on a blank A4 pdf and how stupid that was. It's, you know, I think I have another idea of another hour of this podcast, just talking about that how stupid that was, because it was serving no one any purpose. It was just a beauty parade. Do you like this one? I like the fourth way. You know, the one that you put there really quickly, let's just go for that you got, Oh, Jesus Christ, you know, like, why was I doing this? So, it is all about creating and showing the bigger product, showing like, what is it that you created? Because if I was to show you a steering wheel of your favorite car, you'd be like, it's a steering wheel. Why show it to me? show me the rest of the car. And that's how I see it. And what I mentioned in the book, as you know, I don't believe in a reveal of like, Hey, you see this for the first time? What do you think? like that is again, that is a silly idea, again, being done every day everywhere, like I record, I won't be ready, I'll record a proposal along with the PDF, or the video file that we've created. And I record a voiceover going through the deck myself to give this to the client two days prior, us talking. So, they've got two days to send me around a formal need, to send around investors and around anyone, and they've got time to digest it. Because if you show me something new, I'd be like, whatever. You know, like, I remember renovating my house two years ago, when I went to the bathroom shop, and I was like, show me stuff. And they were like, they show me stuff. And I was like, doesn't make any sense to me. Because there was no feedback, there was no sort of information exchange, you know, it's just like, we are volunteering solutions and ideas. That is why especially most people volunteer, based on their personal preference. If a designer says, our designer said, Oh, I really like this option I did for you. I'm like, I don't fucking care. Like, I don't care what you think, tell me it's gonna work. And therefore, when we talk to our clients, or when I present our proposals, it's based on what we believe, and what we know will work. That's what it is, I mean, we put up visual preferences through some other process. We have a single bit of a signature style, we have a sort of certain aesthetic, but everything else is driven by maths, science, whatever, you know. It's not personal process as such, like we, you know, you might have a favorite typeface, but doesn't mean it's gonna look good in the right space. And it's just that, that's what it is. So that's why I give people two days to understand the proposal. And through various trackers, you can see how many times you know the loom video has been viewed or how many times the email has been opened in a different sort of location. Because you know, these people are seeking counsel, because when they come to you with feedback, it's gonna be a very good constructive feedback. They will have thought about it, rather than the number of zillions of times I've been into a boardroom, on someone else's reveal or someone else's work that someone asked me to do in the past, and you just watch these faces going, like, what is this? Why are we here? And I've got other stuff to think about, you know, and it doesn't work. And if this method, especially now, if not, its the new normal. I've been doing these presentations over video for the last five years, and they've been the best thing I've ever done.

Arek Dvornechuck: Right. Awesome. So, just as a takeaway, applications are always tailored to the client. And it's about showing how the logo works with the whole identity. So it's about you know, the big picture, right? And so, you know, everything that is there has the reason for being, so it's not about personal preferences, right. But this is something we've talked about earlier in about the strategy and discovery phase and coming up with that big idea. And you've also talked about you know, many mistakes that we all make as designers you know, at the beginning of our career. Whether it be you know, presenting two manual logo design concepts on just a blank piece of paper doesn't mean anything. Clients cannot, you know, see that working in the future cannot visualize that. So that's one of those mistakes.

5. Conclusions

So I just wanted to wrap up this by trying to leave our listeners with some advice on how to produce better work. So what advice would you give to someone who either wants to be a better designer, or just for startups themselves to, you know, hire a good designer? So what should they look for? Or what should they avoid?

Radim Malinic: I think you're looking for people who think not the best designers, not every designer who's very good in that field is a good thinker. Now, you might have people who are very proficient people, who are talented, people who are skilled in doing good visuals, but not everyone is a good problem solver, problem solver like that the thing that people like to put on that Twitter profile. It's not problem solving, I feel its always such a wrong label that people like to put into the sort of their Arsenal, because it's about personal connection, the thinking and the human aspects. Its what makes good client connections and what makes good work. Ultimately, because as I've mentioned before, if you haven't got a trust, you got nothing really. And if you haven't got the trust, and you haven't got... There's no such thing as creative freedom, but as a space to create Creative freedom is a hard thing to talk about. On another topic, like its creative freedom is carte blanche, which means you can do anything, which means again, means nothing, it doesn't add up. But you want thinkers that, you know, look outside the space, look what else is happening in the world, look at what else is out there, that makes people move and makes people excited. And that's what you need in your, in your creative Arsenal, like you need people who, you know, are good without people more or less, because, again, from a personal experience of... I don't see myself as a sort of extroverted person or eloquent person. But I had to teach myself as well. I was, for many first years, I was very happy to be just a designer in a corner and I had somebody else tried to defend my work, but it yields no good results. I had to step up, I had to come out of my shell, I had to be more extroverted, I had to be more proactive and hold the process and lead it because only then you're in charge of your own destiny and your own work and your future. And I think that it comes with having time to think and grow and process to the stuff that you create. And so those people, are you good, the best team players because you know, you might have the most talented Illustrator. But if you can't really be distilled out, if you can't get that thing into the process properly, then again, it's no good to anyone. So, I just believe that, you know, I feel like it's the mind over the skill, really in a way, because you can always learn a skill. I mean, I've landed myself, I know lots of people who are software designers, too. But my degrees in economics and my interest is in human science meaning like I mean, and the human behavior like that's what kind of what I bring to the table, you know, and you sort of work with people or that sort of extra sort of multifaceted, creative persuasion. Right.

Arek Dvornechuck: So, the takeaway is, so just to sum up for our listeners, you need to be a good thing, a good problem solver. And, as you mentioned, just mind over the skill, so you can be a good designer, but you also need to be good with people. Right? And also, I just wanted to... the last question would be, you know, because in your book, you talk about why crowd source design is never a good idea. So as the last question, can you just elaborate on that just to give people you know, like, a few...

Radim Malinic: Well, I think I would like to believe that everything I said in the last 40 minutes is exactly the reason why you shouldn't crowdsource the creativity because unless you're looking for a band T-shirt, or a singular piece of design, crowdsourcing doesn't work, until, in my opinion, I mean, I tried to demonize it in my book because I feel like even working in a studio, I feel like we were crowdsourcing fucking ideas because... As you can tell, I'm still quite annoyed about what we used to do, because being led by other people, we never saw the each other side. So, we never really saw the client, we saw a brief, we never really understood what we were doing, we were just throwing pasta against the wall hoping something will stick. And that was crowdsourcing within an agency, I would say. So, if you put this and you have someone in, let's say, Canada, working with someone in Indonesia, sourcing design, I doubt... I mean, again, the dance that I was describing, and I quite enjoy saying the word dance, because it's just such a nonsensical term for what I'm describing, but like this exchange that keeps happening in many different places right now, is based on ignorance, really, it's based on lack of knowledge. And I'm struggling to even think like I, you know, you're buying a skill from somewhere. So, unless it's a mechanical artwork skills like, please insert this copy onto that page. You do not know who you're working with, you don't know what... you don't know their understanding. I work with my freelancers that I've been working for, let's say five years, and they still misunderstand things. And we speak almost every day. And I like it's a human interaction. But creative work always goes with people is that they want to offer their best solution and the best idea. And that's not always needed, like you know, you just need to listen to people what they actually want. And then you can give them what they need based on what you understand. But we try to assert ourselves, we try to make people look good, we try to make ourselves look good. We want to make, we want to retain clients, which sometimes is the stupidest idea because you know, sometimes you don't really... those people don't deserve to do good work. And it's just when you when you think of it later, it's just a sort of combustive sort of human interaction and exchange. That is muddled. It's muddled, and if people don't really understand what the other person needs or can provide, that's why crowdsourcing doesn't work because there is not enough in that exchange for people to understand what they need to do, or what is required. And yeah, I hear horror stories and one of my friends put it really well as he said that he's used Fiverr many times before. And he said he had to kiss a lot of frogs before he got to where he wanted to be. And you know, I think he summarizes it and I'm sure that for some people it works, but I hope there's some really six months and great success stories, but I just... I mean, it took me a long time to work it out for myself, how I need to run this agency, how to run or how to run this creative output to make sure that we do good work and enjoy it. And you know, the book itself is the outcome of it, which was published last year and it done remarkable things in the industry for both clients and creatives. Because it's written from experience, its written from how we do this every day and how I've navigated some of the most sort of difficult conversations and difficult work that...Yeah, we could do now. love it and enjoy it. So yeah, crowdsourcing not a big fan as you can tell. And as I said, it can happen right under your nose, you don't have to be in a different side of the planet, like it can happen literally within the studio because you can feel like you crowdsource So yeah, that's what I see.

Arek Dvornechuck: Awesome. So, I recommend of course everyone to check out the book you know, as you mentioned, that is you know, you describe your process, you share your thoughts on the process, your team and advice as a designer and strategist but also most importantly, you backup everything by showing good examples of you know, your work so on, so we can actually understand and see that and understand, which is really great. So, as we are approaching the end of our episode, please let us know how we can find more about you and the work you do. And I will just include those links in the description box.

Radim Malinic: I will make it simple. I usually try to discourage people from following social media because we should be doing better things in life. Our Instagram is most up to date. We can be found at brand new studio, brand new the studio. Our website is and my books can be found on Amazon Book Repository, Wordery, everywhere else, and we've got an online independent

Um, yeah, I mean, I can be found on other places, personally, Instagram and Twitter and elsewhere, which I encourage people, oh not encourage I mean, if people would like to know, give us a little follow or start a conversation. I'm always happy to oblige. But yeah, I will. Books are independently published. We've been taking on a big boy since 2016, nearly five years. And I'm glad that this interview is actually today, because book of branding was released exactly a year ago tomorrow. Anniversary. Yeah, it'll be... Yeah, the Kindle version of the book will be released on the 1st December, along with all the other Kindle books and new title called pause, breathe and grow. So, as you know, as you can tell from our discussion today, all about a human aspect. I'm all about what's behind the scenes. We know we all spent years and years looking at the big boys and industry kind of admiring them. But we don't know the struggles. And I'm all about telling people that it's a struggle first. Before it's fun. So yeah, I am. Yeah, there's a new book on the 1st December called pause, breathe and grow, which is a sort of more like a mindfulness journal about what we can do with ourselves in the industry to enjoy what we do especially. So now...

Arek Dvornechuck: Looking forward to check that out.

Radim Malinic: Yeah, absolutely. You should. Thank you. Yeah, thank you.

Arek Dvornechuck: I'm gonna include all those all those links for you guys. So you can check out the book and social handles so you can find about reading more and more, he's bored. So Radim, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate that.

Radim Malinic: Thanks for having me. Thanks for the request. And yeah, it's amazing to see you how far something I guess now as simple as it is really a book format, that can travel far and inspire people like yourself. So yeah, thanks for having me. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.

Arek Dvornechuck: So this is it for today's episode, and make sure to go and check out Radim’s website and follow him on social media. And you can find all the links on this episode's page at So, thanks for tuning in. And if you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to my podcast for more tips on branding, strategy and design. This is Arek Dvornechuck from EbaqDesign.

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