Hey Radim! First, let's talk about your journey. When did you know you were meant to be a creative?
Even in my early 20s, I didn't even know that I would wind up having a career in the creative industry. In my pre-teens, I was playing ice hockey and wanted to make it to NHL. Then I started pursuing music, first as a musician then as a DJ. Music was the main link to creativity. I used to retrace death metal band logos and artwork. In a way, this was my entry to the world of logos and tribalism that came with these types of extreme music genres. Naturally, when it came to forming my own band, I was quick off the mark to have a go at making logos and artwork for us. My mum ran a screen-printing studio at that time; I had T-shirts made up for our very first bunch of gigs. We were rubbish musicians, but we looked the part. Twenty years ago, I moved to London to explore the expansive music scene, only to find even greater interest in art and graphic design. All of my creative pursuits up til then provided me with a springboard for my career ahead.
Do you think young designers should try to learn many disciplines or focus on mastering a single one?
I am an advocate of trying everything before you find the correct answer in what you wish to pursue as the quest for work and happiness. The creative world out there is far too exciting. Why would you want to settle on one single discipline when you have a lifetime of exploration ahead of you. Throughout my career so far, I've had a hand in many different types of work, from graphic design to illustration, from art direction to strategy and pretty much everything in between. During that time, I didn't know that I was going to ultimately form a branding studio that offers an amalgamation of all of those skills. Every single experience and the previous project helped me to establish an arsenal of skills and knowledge that makes solving complicated tasks much more possible.
Why would you want to settle on one single discipline when you have a lifetime of exploration ahead of you?
What is your creative process? Do you think young designers should have a set of processes or go with the flow?
A wannabe rock star doesn't pick up the guitar because they've got five albums in their head - they pick up the guitar because they want to learn their first big riff from the great guitar players out there. Only when they've mastered the basic and moved into the advanced stages, only then the magic of process kicks in. There's only a slim majority of music hits that simply came together in one session or by accident. All of the big selling stuff is a result of agonising effort to craft the best piece of music that will move people to love it. When you start in this fun but crazy industry, you are most likely to go with the flow. Anything goes. Mainly since you want to get to the end results as soon as possible. You want to have something to show for your day's effort. This is why the focus on process is usually something that comes into creatives life a little later in their career. That goes hand in hand with my previous answer - it's about having a go and discovering the pieces of the puzzle before the full picture makes sense.
How do you get inspired?
A creative block comes from within. It's the moment when we lose track of the end result and start getting lost in small in our worry thoughts. If you don't have a design strategy or roadmap to where you want to get to, it will always be challenging to get from A to B. If you get in a car to drive from London to Bristol without knowing your directions, you will get lost. The beauty of design lies in all sides of the argument needing to add up. If you miss a piece of research or action, your final result won't come together. You want to know how others have solved the same or similar problem before. How you can learn from their solutions to give you a head start. I look around and observe. My inspiration comes from people around us, for the good and bad, for the crazy or exciting. We carry the answers. It's just the questions of finding them.
If you don't have a roadmap to where you want to get to, it will always be challenging to get from A to B.
Do you think having a portfolio is important for young designers? What would your dream young designer portfolio be?
This is a bit of a catch 22 situation when you really think of it. We are expecting people who's been doing their thing for a short amount of time to be super proficient in having the folio of dreams. It's near impossible to have a lot of people doing this well. If at all. My first folio was full of utter dross. Pieces of work that didn't really join up, stuff that wasn't relevant to what jobs I wanted to get. When we start, we are most likely still focused on one or two skills that we wish to get hired for. The person who hires wants to see how much understanding of the whole picture we have. It's always going to be an uphill battle unless we change the way we look into young designers folios. It's definitely imperative to have a folio, and that should change very often. No one will have the most effective folio right out of gates. It will be your life's work to perfect it.
What is the most important thing to know about design in your opinion?
It's the importance of understanding the functionality of design within a much more significant set up of everything else. For example, brand identity design slots into a much wider system of deliverables and mechanics. A lot of people, even in the later stage of their career, can have a very narrow view of their discipline and output. Having an understanding of what you create influences creative decisions far and wide beyond the initial project scope. You never 'design for yourself' - you take the 360 views and find the best answer that suits the world around you with the product and users in mind.
You never 'design for yourself'.
How can young designers get their first internship/job? Is it important to go to design school or not?
For those looking at internships, look at bigger studios who might have more time and space to look after you. It could be a bit of a myth when young designers hope to learn software skills on the job in a short amount of time what they didn't get taught at Uni. Today, a lot of work gets produced in super fast turnaround times which can feel frightening to newbies. Striving for best personal development is a way to get ahead in anyone's career. When I was starting up, I landed my junior job by pure chance of seeing an ad from my local studio. Everything about that role was pretty terrible, from the type of design work to people who ran the show. However, I learned loads of valuable lessons that still serve as a foundation to how I run my design studio today - well, how not to run my studio in fact.
Did you learn any tricks during your career? Do you have any tricks you would have loved your young-self to know?
Over the years, I felt lucky to spot all sorts of helpful knowledge in places least expected. We could be purposely looking for something to find and learn but failing to see. This could be frustrating as you're looking for something helpful to advance your career while not paying attention to what you're doing or making. Therefore learning and applying snippets of information from far afield, like philosophy or science, can provide fantastic results. Design thinking is the key to longterm success and creative solution. One way to achieve such addition to anyone's skill set is to learn to speak up about our ideas, work and views. As creatives, especially at the earlier stages of our careers, we hope that our work will do the talking. We are petrified to speak to explain our work. Most people hate having anyone looking over their shoulder when working. But it's the opposite that yields results. Learning to speak up and tell the story of how the work has been put together along with reasoning, it merely changes everything. As humans, we love stories. Tell them every day.
Learning to speak up and tell the story of how the work has been put together along with reasoning, changes everything.
Do you have any favourite books/resources you would have loved to read when you were younger to help boost your creative career?
If you were to browse your local book shop, what's on offer is pretty amazing. We have resources on anything and everything by now. But I always fell we were missing a little bit of the human touch and experience within the pages of these books. Designers are happy teaching their life's wisdom via single tweets and blog posts, but the end result is a bit scattered around the internet. I started the Book of Ideas series for that reason. To share the views and insights from what's like to be a designer in our Century. On the outside, the design industry can seem very linear - from direct career growth to focusing on single skillset. Just take Sports as an example. You can buy tons of books on every aspect of being an athlete - from monthly magazines to books on performance, sport science and psychology - there's the endless well on these subjects. If you want to become a designer, you have an option to buy a lot of theory books which don't offer anything else beyond the topic. It's only recently that we have started looking at analysing ourselves and how the work we love creating actually impacts our lives and minds. So just like an athlete who is surrounded by a team of specialists to help them achieve the best results, we have to be the multifaceted specialist who knows how to excel on their own. We don't have a wealth of the backroom staff; we grow stronger by being the game-reader as well as the runner on the track. My latest book, Book of Branding, is designed to encourage a more personal approach to dealing with branding work and clients. The door is open wide to share all the tips and secrets to help anyone to grow quicker and more efficient.
To wrap up, do you have a favourite quote? How is it relative to your creative career?
"Miracles can happen on any size wave"
one of my favourite quotes that came from a surf movie. It made me realise that you can do fantastic work all the time.