42 ways to be a better, happier designer

For his first book, designer and illustrator Radim Malinic – aka Brand Nu – wanted to create something that was much more than a monograph. His Book of Ideas condenses what he’s learned over a decade of being a freelancer into 42 short chapters offering practical advice across three main areas – Work, Creativity and Mind. For visual inspiration, there's also a selection of his best work for clients including Google Labs, Dolby and the WWF (the animal charity not the pretend wrestling organisation).

Work covers areas such as self-promotion and how to get to work on the projects you really want to participate in. Creativity teaches you the 100 Song Rule, as well as some 'black belt ninja skills'. Mind reveals approaches to both rewire your brain and grow as a person. Combined they help you to be a better designer and artist, and happier overall - with both feeding into each other towards being more fulfilled.

The book is aimed at junior and middleweight designers and illustrators. Radim says that when he was writing the book, “I was speaking to myself 10 years ago, saying what I wanted someone to say to me back then."

Radim's Book of Ideas isn't full of generic opinions or bland truths. Each piece of advice is based on something that's happened to him - from approaches he's learned through experimentation to attitudes he's learned the hard way, all filtered through the feedback of other creatives.

"Everything in the book is a personal experience," he says. "They're things that, when I've shared them with friends over the years, they've gone 'that's good'."

The structure of the book - short 'bite-sized' chapters that can be consumed in a matter of minutes - isn't designed to appeal to this unproven myth that, because of Facebook and Buzzfeed, people only want to read 'snackable content' (something the existence of Buzzfeed News belies). Radim prefers a different metaphor: prayer. There is, he says, a reason why some some people pray regularly: "so you don't forget."

Radim wants people to dip in and out of the Book of Ideas regularly to find regular sparks of inspiration and different approaches that may help them with a particular design or business problem - or at least to find a way to more (or less) relaxed about it.

To create the book, Radim withdrew from as many distractions as possible - including limiting social media, which gave him a chance to re-evaluate why he was using it in the first place. Once you step away from social media and the return, he says, "you find yourself asking 'why am I looking at someone's ham?'."

He's self published it as "I wanted to create something that I've been involved in start-to-finish", where he has total control over everything from the name to the special finishes on the cover.

The Book of Ideas is out in March through bookofideas.co.uk.

Over the next two weeks, we'll be publishing exclusive extracts from The Book of Ideas. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and we'll let you know when you can read them.

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