Creativity for Sale Podcast - Episode 1 / 4

In search of the right balance - David Sedgwick

Mon, 19 Feb 2024

“I've hit a point where I can just turn around and say, I'm not going to work today, I'm going to go on a school trip with my daughter.”Graphic designers Radim Malinic and David Sedgwick traverse through the evolution of creativity from album art to the era of Instagram. Radim and David discuss the shifts in the design industry towards digital platforms, the enthralling yet exhausting facets of social media engagement, and adapting to the new norms ushered in by the pandemic.

Show Notes Transcript

“I've hit a point where I can just turn around and say, I'm not going to work today, I'm going to go on a school trip with my daughter.”

Graphic designers Radim Malinic and David Sedgwick traverse through the evolution of creativity from album art to the era of Instagram. 

Radim and David discuss the shifts in the design industry towards digital platforms, the enthralling yet exhausting facets of social media engagement, and adapting to the new norms ushered in by the pandemic.

They also share candid stories of professional burnout and the importance of finding a balance between work and personal life, emphasizing a renewed perspective on success. 

Insights into the universal challenges and transitions over time - in all professions, particularly in creative fields, are particularly relevant.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The Importance of Communication: Good communication is vital for presenting designs effectively and appealing to clients.
  2. Adapting to Change: The necessity of being flexible and adaptable to change, particularly with regards to social media and design platforms.
  3. Balancing Productivity and Personal Time: How achieving a four-day working week can improve quality of life allowing you to spend more time with family.
  4. The Impact of Technology on Creativity: How the digital age has affected the creative process, with social media platforms enabling designers to gain instant feedback on their work. 
  5. The Joy of Design: Despite the challenges, the satisfaction and joy derived from being a designer, creating impactful designs, and seeing your work being appreciated by many.

Creativity For Sale: How to start and grow a life-changing creative career and business by Radim Malinic - Out now.

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Signed Books

David Sedgwick:  so I've realized as I've perhaps got a bit older, a little bit more uglier, that, the key here is, is the client happy?

David Sedgwick: has it answered the client brief? Has it done what I was briefed to do? And if the client is happy, has Then they'll give me more work and that will produce more work through them and potentially people that they know  

Radim Malinic: Hello and welcome to Creativity for Sale podcast, a show to help you start and grow your life changing creative career and business. My name is Radim Malinich and creativity changed my life. You see, I believe creativity can change your life too. I even wrote a book about it and it inspired this podcast. I've set out to interview the world's most brilliant creatives, designers, writers, musicians, makers and marketeers about their life changing experiences with creativity.[00:01:00] 

Radim Malinic: If you ever wanted to know how people go from their humble beginnings to the pinnacle of their success, our conversation should provide you with an intimate look into triumphs, challenges and untold stories behind their creative endeavours. We also discuss the highs and lows of creative careers and creative life.

Radim Malinic: So Thank you for joining me on this exploration of passion, creativity, innovation, and the boundless potential within us all. Let creativity change your life. Are you ready? 

Radim Malinic: Today's guest is the perfect example of someone who lives and breathes graphic design every day. Through his studio work he creates meaningful design solutions for a variety of clients worldwide. His use of bold typography, whimsical illustration and vibrant colours are all put in focus on visual storytelling that carries his excellent signature style.

Radim Malinic: I've been a fan of his work for a while and I'm sure he'll convey it to you too. It's my pleasure to introduce [00:02:00] Manchester's finest expert, David Sedgwick. 

Introduction and Welcome

Radim Malinic: hi Dave. It's good to see you and welcome to Creativity For Sale podcast. 

David Sedgwick: Thank you

David Sedgwick: for asking me to be here today. I appreciate it.

Radim Malinic: I've 

Reminiscing About Past Encounters

Radim Malinic: got a bit of a design crash on you, right? Cause you have my opinion. Let's start from, 

Radim Malinic: let's right out of the gates. Let's start with a compliment. No, I I've always, laughed from afar. I've always loved what you are doing. I have been doing, and then I've met you in person and you're so nice guy.

David Sedgwick: Oh wow, thank you.the feeling is mutual. I think we met, we met in Manchester, didn't we? Got a few years ago now. 

Recalling the Glug Event

David Sedgwick: We did both did 

David Sedgwick: a talk at something called Glug. in Manchester and yeah, we, we've stayed in touch since then properly, haven't we? On and off, obviously, like everyone, but through social media and the odd phone call and bumped into each other occasionally at various design events.

David Sedgwick: So it's nice to, it's nice to have a proper, we've got an hour now, haven't we? So let's really,

Radim Malinic: [00:03:00] an hour. Yeah. 

Radim Malinic: I think we can talk about that GLAG event for an hour. I think I, uh. I, I've, I'm still, I've got some sort of like a PTSD from that event because if you remember, I had to like out shout the room because no one was, literally after the break, no one was paying attention.

Radim Malinic: So I have to shout, 

Radim Malinic: which looked better in person rather than on the video. I somehow, my tummy was showing from my, from, from my t shirt as I was like, it was like, I was, I'm glad that video's actually gone. It was a good, it was a fun talk. the picture looks good. Like I've got like a panorama, like a whole wide angle picture, but I'm glad that they took it off.

David Sedgwick: I don't know why it's gone. Cause I searched for it the other day for some reason. I think someone was asking me if I'd done any design talks and I thought, I'll show them that one. Cause I knew it was online. I couldn't find it anywhere. So yeah, maybe they just, I don't know.

David Sedgwick: It's good to 

David Sedgwick: still go. I 

Radim Malinic: it's, it's, got, it's gone under. I believe it's gone under and luckily they took it off. And there's actually, there's a secret, your clicker that didn't work.

David Sedgwick: Yeah, you did that 

David Sedgwick: You, 

Radim Malinic: That was, my clicker[00:04:00] 

David Sedgwick: you set that up for 

Radim Malinic: No, I didn't set it up, but somehow they gave me my clicker and, yeah, that didn't work. 

The Challenges of Public Speaking

Radim Malinic: So it's just when you think about like how to tackle nerves, there's nothing better than the technical issue because you're not thinking about what was I supposed to say?

Radim Malinic: What was I supposed to do?

David Sedgwick: Absolutely. I 

Radim Malinic: it happened to me. It happened to me. I did it in 2016 when my first book came out. I was contacted by Adobe, to do talk for them at Adidas. And I was a fresh parent. I think, I think I was, it was naughty for me to actually not only part to Germany for three days, but, yeah, it was like six weeks, eight weeks in.

Radim Malinic: And like you don't sleep. You just basically like you just jaded. 

Radim Malinic: And I remember going to Adidas, feeling all of the shaky, just just, just, you don't sleep. You just do your body's a mess. And I think I had a pint, In a hotel night before, and literally I was just, I was not like the most confident speaker

Radim Malinic: to go on 

Navigating Technical Difficulties During Presentations

Radim Malinic: and my slides just wouldn't work.

Radim Malinic: They just I was just there and I was like, at this moment, [00:05:00] I just feel everything's fine because I've got a problem to solve. I don't 

Radim Malinic: have to stew in my head. And, yeah, yeah, it was just, it was just this, this moment,there's, there's nothing better than it's not part of your show when you have to fix something.

Radim Malinic: I think that makes always the difference. I

David Sedgwick: it settles down the audience, everybody as well. it's not, I think there's an element that they see you suffering and that makes them feel at ease as well. So everybody's at ease when somebody goes wrong. I think if it's too polished and too highly professional, then everyone's like on edge, nervous, including me.

David Sedgwick: I just did a talk this year off and I was so nervous. I was like physically being sick before it because I was just really, really nervous about it and I hardly slept the night before, and then I thought, come on, I can pull this together, Dave, right? you're on stage. There's loads of people waiting.

David Sedgwick: And I walked on stage and it had been working fine. The equipment had been working fine. We'd had it on screen. Everything was fine. And it just completely cut off the whole screen, just completely. As I [00:06:00] walked on, it went off. So I just turned and walked straight back off again, to a bit of a laugh and everyone relaxed.

David Sedgwick: And then it got on again and it was fine. It was absolutely fine. I was like, let's do this again. Let's go back on again. And yeah, you need a little bit of that. And I think like that glug event and, it's a shame that they decided to end it because I know how hard it is putting events on. I don't know how difficult it is and I don't know that things go wrong.

David Sedgwick: And I think we accept that, and people accept that, and that helps to make it a memorable occasion. You have to have some challenges, don't you? Like you say, you have to have some problems to solve, and that's That's part of the, part of the enjoyment of these kind of things. 

The Importance of Timing in Conference Talks

Radim Malinic: was in the same room as Barcelona, but I made a mistake there. I've agreed to be on, on the third day. so that was a major mistake. I have

Radim Malinic: learned from that 

Radim Malinic: mistake. Absolutely.

Radim Malinic: get it out of the way because I mean, in my opinion, it's a good secret that I always try to go as one of the first speakers, A, because everyone's still keen and then everyone knows who you are for the rest of the conference.

David Sedgwick: So they actually say, Hey, it's not like an ego, I sell books, Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. You [00:07:00] need that. Yeah. Yeah.

David Sedgwick: Well, it's funny you said that. you did it because of the books. I did it so that I could have a few beers. So I stayed relatively, sober and, on form the night before, did my talk and then I was able to really relax and enjoy it and have a couple of, beers in the sunshine of Barcelona and, 

David Sedgwick: and watch some of the other talks relaxed, knowing that I've done mine and I could just enjoy the next 24 hours. 

David Sedgwick: Yeah, but you're right, if you're there trying to sell, not sell things, but you're there to, you want to, you want, you want people to buy your book, then it's great that you've, if you do it early, then they can, they'll 

David Sedgwick: find you, 

Radim Malinic: To a degree, I think it's more of an icebreaker. You want to connect with people because, you've got this sort of speaker energy. And unless, unless, you either care, you don't care, you think, am I, is anyone actually going to show up? I think that's just the main sort of thing that is anyone going to show up?

Radim Malinic: Am I doing the right for the right reason? So selling books is secondary. It's more it's nice to connect because then the conversation that you have, let's say you go on as a second to last speaker. [00:08:00] And then you've got four hours before everyone goes home and everyone wants to have a good conversation because mostly I'm there for conversations to see what is the state of the industry, how everyone's operating, what's the current problem, what's the current pain point.

Radim Malinic: It's more about conversation, of course. There's also switching off and enjoying and relaxing and my problem was with Barcelona in 2015 was that I was relaxing far too much before I was doing my talk. And, idiotically, I think I wrote seven talks in one, which was like, I had so much content that actually then became a book because I was so much and I had so much to do.

Radim Malinic: And yeah, just for every talk, once you do it once, I always try to get it recorded and, and then analyze it and improve it. It's basically once you do it six or seven times, that talk is golden and you can do 

Radim Malinic: it for the rest of the year. But, 

Radim Malinic: 

The Role of Confidence in Presentations

Radim Malinic: that surprised me because you, you, you came across very confident, in Manchester, but, I guess it was a clicker.

Radim Malinic:

David Sedgwick: [00:09:00] yeah. Yeah, no, I 

David Sedgwick: think, yeah, a little bit of that. And also, I don't know, I felt obviously I was really grateful to be asked to speak off and, and I really, really enjoyed it. I was just nervous that people, there's options, isn't there, off, you, it's not just one, one event going on. There's a lot of events going on and there's some big, real big hitters in the design and creative industry speaking.

David Sedgwick: And, and I was thinking, why would people want to come and, and hear little old me, talking about, my background and my journey. But, I feel, it's a bit embarrassing saying it, but it was an absolute sellout. Like I was shocked, like I, I got in there. about half an hour before I was due to start, and it was already pretty full, the sort of lecture theatre, and I had a few mates who had come as well to off, and they were texting saying we can't get in, there's a queue, we can't get in, which I guess, yeah, gives you a little bit of an ego boost, makes you feel, so I relaxed a little bit about that, but certainly in the morning of the event, and the lead up to doing it, I definitely felt a massive amount of nerves.

David Sedgwick: [00:10:00] I'm fine once I get up there, once you start, absolutely fine, but that kind of The lead up to anything, whether it's, I don't know, any kind of occasion, I'm always a little bit nervous, always a little bit daunting, but I think you need a little bit of that, don't you? If you go in overly arrogant and confident, then you, you, you, you you mess up.

David Sedgwick: So nerves help to some extent.

Radim Malinic: They definitely do. And sometimes, I don't know if you ever get it, but things can go well. I have pushed myself in the first few years of doing 30, 40 talks a year 

Radim Malinic: to, uh, 

Radim Malinic: dismay of my partner. what is it that you want to do and what you want to achieve?

Radim Malinic: But it became an easier, it's just because you, you 

Radim Malinic: get more confident. And I remember like hearing this quote by Michael Phelps. The American swimmer and he says, if you're not prepared, you're nervous. If you're not prepared, you're nervous. And you get so many design speakers who are still tweaking their slides or trying to work out the slides the night before.

Radim Malinic: And that's the problem. That's why we are nervous because we, I've seen people, including [00:11:00] myself, like we write what we want to say. 

Radim Malinic: And because you want to anchor yourself, because otherwise you can say anything. And then you end up trying to remember what you said, and there was a joke I wanted to do, and when you let go, that's where the good stuff happens, when you let go, and, when people dread, oh, I've lost my slides, and my slides wouldn't work, I don't know what's, 

Radim Malinic: you have the story, you have lived the story, the reason why you're on the stage, you have the story, 

David Sedgwick: that is 

David Sedgwick: so true. Yeah, absolutely. First few talks I did at university, that would have like actually cards, like best man's speech type cards, that would be like holding them and reading directly from it and then you'd your eyes are constantly on these cards and you're not engaging with the people listening and you're, because like you say, you want to say the right things and you want to, you want to come across in a certain way.

David Sedgwick: But actually, I've realized that there's much more to it than that. It's much more about, yeah. genuine honesty and truth and you being yourself and you can only truly do that. I think, yeah, you've got to be prepared. You've got to have something to talk about, but the idea of having like presenter notes or anything like that for [00:12:00] me, I don't bother with that anymore.

David Sedgwick: I'd rather just go in any direction and let's see where it takes us. I've always, you've always got a next slide. I think the good thing about presentations, if there's imagery is if it's going wrong, you just press the arrow key and you're on the next one and you can start again. You can start fresh like a hundred times in the talk every time you click it.

David Sedgwick: a button. So yeah, that's the way I see it. 

Radim Malinic: the best bit is that no one really knows what you should be saying next, so you can say anything. But, on the topic of speaking, were you 

Radim Malinic: always a confident speaker in your work? for example, were you always confident presenting your work? Or, I had to learn it. I 

Radim Malinic: literally, even to my mid twenties, I was just like, I could not.

Radim Malinic: verbalize because of the lack of practice. I didn't know, because we all thought, especially in mid 2000s, that the words doing the speaking on our behalf, you don't have to, promote, don't have to promote, you don't have to, speak to clients too much. But then you find yourself going against these walls to realize I have to defend what I've created.

Radim Malinic: I have to verbalize what I've actually put [00:13:00] into this. how was your journey? Were you always confident speaker or was it

Radim Malinic: 

Radim Malinic: had to learn?

The Intersection of Creativity and Communication

David Sedgwick: I think communication is paramount to success in personal life and business life. And as a quote that I use in some talks, along those lines, I think, the ability to be able to communicate is massively important, especially in the industry that we work in. I see a tremendous amount of young creatives, graduates.

David Sedgwick: Amazing portfolios, fantastic design skills, but they've, they've got a lack of,communication skills when it comes to presenting their work or talking about their work. I think, I do myself an injustice to say that I am not confident. 

David Sedgwick: I think if I've done a really good project. Or I feel it's a good project and I feel I've answered the client brief and I feel like they're going to like it and I feel like it's going okay, then I am really confident that presenting it because I can only do the best that I can do in the time I've got and the budget I've got.

David Sedgwick: So I present it and say, look, this is the solution. And 9 [00:14:00] times out of 10, the client, the client's happy with that. And I'm. Yeah, it's what you talked about a minute ago. If I'm prepared enough, if the work's good enough, then I'm confident in presenting it. If I'm not sure, if there's some things that I'm not 100 percent sure about or not certain about, if I don't think it's quite right, then an element of nerves and fear will come into my presentation.

David Sedgwick: I was always, going back right to the beginning, I was always a bit of a show off at school. I was, I was always loud. I was always a bit, I wasn't a naughty kid by any stretch, I didn't get into trouble with the teachers, but I was. I would always be putting my hand up. I would always be trying to act a bit of a, a joker in the class and make people laugh and I think that probably comes down to being quite short as well, in terms of height, stature, always having to make yourself bigger than you physically are by your voice and your, and show confidence. I am not, I'm not a 100 percent massive confident person. if I walk into a room, I wouldn't be like, everybody listen to me by any stretch. It takes time to develop that confidence with people. But, [00:15:00] but yeah, I was definitely always into drama and performing. I liked being on stage.

David Sedgwick: I liked singing and reading and acting on stage at school. and I suppose I like that element of performance in terms of. presenting. I like the, I like taking clients on a journey and making them feel like you haven't just knocked something up overnight on a computer. I like to be able to take them through this is where we started and this is where we are.

David Sedgwick: And I think that's really important for clients. I think they need to see that journey and they need to hear that story. And I think they need to feel that. Soul and, and realism about the project. I think that, that they buy into that. And I think that's really important. And to be able to present and talk about your work is really crucial, especially in 2023, where you can buy design over the internet, and somebody in some part of the world is designing it.

David Sedgwick: You have hardly have any [00:16:00] interaction with that person. And then they present a logo or a website at the end of it. And for me, I still love that interaction with the client, that kind of presenting, that kind of debating and discussing. Um, So, yeah, I'm not sure if I've answered your question there. I think I've gone off on a bit of a tangent, but, I definitely think presenting confidence in your, in your, in your presentation, in your work is important.

David Sedgwick: And finally, I would say, like I say, I see a lot of design students who have got great skills, but there's a shyness about students who presenting their work that then makes me question, I look at it and I think, Oh, that's really, really good. And then they'll, they'll come in with Oh, I'm not sure about this.

David Sedgwick: I've just put it in there because it's, it's something we did in year two or year three. And as soon as they show you that element of they're not so sure, or they're a little bit negative, then I start to think, Oh, I'm not so sure about it anymore now. So you can, you can portray an element of confidence and that then, that shows off in the, in the work as well, I think.

David Sedgwick: So it's important [00:17:00] to remember that when presenting.

Radim Malinic: Oh, dude, there's so much you just said, that I can, um, I can, I can speak about. But no, it's amazing. Cause, yeah, that, that little, like the extra food that you need to grow, extra food, In height, you know, it's just like, 

Radim Malinic: but that, your personality, we all have that little sort of crutches and little props that.

Radim Malinic: I'm six foot two and I think maybe I have overgrown my confidence. I was just like a little bit, I was just, I was terribly shy. I was literally, I was terribly shy at first because, what you mentioned, like the drama, singing, that kind of stuff. I was petrified of that until. I discovered alcohol, literally, I remember in my sort of mid teens, I was in a band standing on a stage playing to a few hundred people, some incoherent death metal, but it was because found a way how to switch off the voices and things that, no one, I don't know about you, but I, I've never met anyone in my life who would say, I want you to be great, man.

Radim Malinic: Let's, let's see how this, what steps we can take. How to make you great. So you, you try and sort of,you wanna shut off the outside nose [00:18:00] 'cause because you think that people think you're rubbish or whatever. there's so much. And then I went to be on a DJ and the DJ said, always go better after a couple of pints, because it was like, okay, we are in.

Radim Malinic: But I remember being terribly shy about, how to get, to the next step. And it was just the interpersonal and, and working myself within of okay, I need to learn how to be. More, vocal about things. And the best thing I did was to move to a different country, speak second language, and just, okay, now we do it now.

Radim Malinic: And the change of scenery did the trick for me. 

Radim Malinic: But,

The Evolution of a Creative Career

Radim Malinic: with the stuff that you mentioned, did you ever think that the drama and that kind of stuff could be something that you do, full time or is it like, how did you, obviously from, from your school, how did you end up in, in design? And was there any chance that you could be something completely different?

David Sedgwick: I was definitely always gonna go down a creative route. I felt much more confident at primary school and high school in writing and in art and in, as you say, drama and that side of things than I did [00:19:00] in maths. In fact, I failed my maths GCSE I got a, I got a D, despite having a tutor for the last kind of year of my, of my, my time at school.

David Sedgwick: And it's funny, they let me on to do A levels because I was doing something called Media Studies, I was doing English Language and Literature, which I'll come to in a second, and I was doing Art. And they let me on, they said, but you have to retake your maths, because, you need maths GCSE,we have to have that done.

David Sedgwick: So retake it, re sit the exam, and you'll pass it, and that'll be fine. I retook maths, it took about six months of tutoring again, I retook my maths GCSE, I'd already been at college for six months by that point, so I was a quarter of the way through my, your time on A level. And I failed it again, I got a worse grade, I got an E.

David Sedgwick: So I've gone from a D to an E, so I don't have maths GCSE, I struggle with numbers, I struggle with things, I struggle with the academic side of learning, but creatively I feel more strongly and more confidently. But I [00:20:00] loved writing, I really loved writing, I wanted to be a journalist basically, I joined like a Sort of junior journalism group.

David Sedgwick: I was writing for the WWF, like the world's, wildlife Foundation. I was writing articles for them. I did like a school magazine, a school kind of news newspaper, like a, a zine every kind of, every, every few months. I loved writing. I loved words. I still do. I really, I was chatting to a guy from a design agency called D8 in Glasgow, a guy called Adrian Carroll.

David Sedgwick: I don't know if Adrian or not. he's a lovely guy and he was saying like, in my work, he really likes the use of language. there's also a guy you might know him called Christopher Doyle in Australia. he's a fantastic creative designer and, he likes language and words as well in his work, and I'm not a copywriter.

David Sedgwick: I'm not pretending or trying to be. I really still like words and how words make us feel. And I think, so I combined that really. So I, I, I want to be a journalist. So I studied language. and literature, English language and [00:21:00] literature at A level, with the, with the aim to be a journalist.

David Sedgwick: That's what I wanted to do, but I got introduced to something called graphic design. I didn't even know what graphic design was at college. I was doing an art A level. I thought it was about just drawing, drawing flowers in a vase or, or drawing still, Human models, life drawing.

David Sedgwick: I've forgotten the name of it. That's what I thought art was. And I enjoyed it, but I wasn't great at it. I couldn't draw very well. I really struggled with drawing. There was people who would just draw beautifully with pencil and they could make everything look so real and amazing. And I really struggled with drawing.

David Sedgwick: And then one day, my tutor, a guy called Carl Jordan, He just said, have you ever heard of graphic design? And I was like, no, I don't think so. And he showed me a book of like album covers and I was like, that's graphic design. And he was like, yeah. And I was like, that's it all everything came together.

David Sedgwick: I was like, that's what I love. I love all that. I love like album covers. And I love posters and I love VHS video [00:22:00] cassette covers and he was like, there's a, that's a career. You can make a career doing that. And there was about 40 of us on the, on the art course. And I think six or seven of us got together and said, could we do that instead?

David Sedgwick: And he was like, yeah, okay. They didn't have a graphic design A level at Runshaw College where I went. But they made it. They made it for us three or four. that was back in what, 96, 97, something like that. and then that was it. I just never, I never looked back. I did a foundation course, which I don't know if you do similar work where you studied, but it's like a year after A level.

David Sedgwick: It's It's 12 months of intense creativity, let's use it that as a term, where you do a bit of photography, a bit of film, a bit of graphic design, a bit of everything, it all kind of like, you taste everything, and then you decide what you want to do at university. But I was, Obsessed with design then, and the English and the journalism and the writing just [00:23:00] went and, and all, and I just focused on design.

David Sedgwick: And that would've been, yeah, about 19 90, 19 98, something like that. so it was always gonna be creative. Originally writing, still love the use of language, but design took, design has my heart now, and that's, that's what I love. And it's, it's down to a chance conversation to some extent with a tutor back at, he probably doesn't remember me now, but, he, without him, like I could be doing something completely different.

Radim Malinic: What an incredible story. yeah, there's so much again, it's just all of these sort of sentences that make trigger memories because around 96, I was, 90, We were in the studio, I was like 94, and I was 16, 15, and I was, I was the one who fell into, like making the covers for the tapes and,didn't even have a CD and,a CD was still like, to have your own CD that was like, oh, you have to be on a proper record label, you have to do

Radim Malinic: this, and 

Radim Malinic: I remember I was the one who was like, I suppose I'll do it, but then I remember finding Coral Draw on a computer, in [00:24:00] someone's office, like it was the local, print studio or whatever.

Radim Malinic: And you're like, Oh, wait a minute. Like it 

Radim Malinic: falls together, falls nicely together because I think our backgrounds are somewhat similar because for me, it was the music who got me 

Radim Malinic: into the creativity because I didn't join the dots until a very long time later. Oh, wait a minute. People like me can do this because there was zero graphic designers in my upbringing around my time.

Radim Malinic: There were people who were using computers and they were 

Radim Malinic: like trailblazers, but. There was like wacky ways of comms design or whatever, but it was nothing. There was not this, this, this, poetic way of, it's graphic design. I'm a graphic designer. I do this for a living. I can actually sit here if I get it dirty.

Radim Malinic: to an extent that was, that was super, super exciting. But for me, it was, yeah, it was. The mixture of different worlds together and, and language was through the lyrics. I always find that sort of heavier music had the most beautiful lyrics and then you can, it's almost like sort of poetry and music poetry in motion.

Radim Malinic: And I always find that way, like, how can you just, [00:25:00] how can you adapt the, the reality into something different and just actually entice people to actually pay attention. do you remember, like you mentioned it was the book of album covers, but was there a specific piece of work when you said, that's it, I want to be as good as this, I want to create this?

The Impact of Music on Design

David Sedgwick: I seem to, I seem to have a memory of it being something non exciting as, a Lightning Seeds album cover. I think it seemed to have some straw, seemed to remember it having some strawberries on it or something. I must check that out, actually. But you're completely right. music is definitely a sort of vehicle to getting into, into design.

David Sedgwick: And you touched on it then, like, tape cassettes. He used to make tape cassettes all the time, like hand drawing, like the, yeah, pull them out and you draw like all the, all the sort of song titles and, and you'd use different colored pens and paste pencils and, electric set and anything you get your hands on to make these amazing tape cassettes.

David Sedgwick: And I guess, like you say, at the time you're just doing it because. It's fun or it's enjoyable, or it's a process recording the [00:26:00] charts off the radio and then making these tape cassettes to listen to on a Walkman. but they became, that to look back and you think, that was the beginnings of designing and putting, putting type on paper.

David Sedgwick: music, music's massively important, isn't it? And I guess back in the 90s when we were, starting our careers, the late 90s, it was still the dream for most designers was to create. album art, this beautiful kind of square format. It was obviously going more into CDs then, but it's still this, this square format.

David Sedgwick: And that was, that was the aim. It was like, can we design a CD cover or can we design a record sleeve? I'm still, still love. album art and still love,uh, you know, but, but now more so the way that music and design have really interweaved.

David Sedgwick: So you look at artists now that, and it's not just the album art, it's the video, obviously the music they've produced, the way they It's showcased on in social media, the way it looks in a digital format. the [00:27:00] merchandise that they're producing, the collaborations that these artists, these musicians are doing with, with, with fashion and culture and, and art and things like that.

David Sedgwick: I think music and design are really intertwined and, and long way that continue. And, and I know that we're in a very different world now in music where we, we listen to it on our headphones and we listen to it, in the car that there's still. A real visual sense to music. It's not just audio.

David Sedgwick: It's everything. So it's important that it stays like that.

Radim Malinic: I think it's exciting how things have changed, like since, just the vinyl records and the musician, in, in, in essence, what all they have to do is just to record music and then show up for the gig. And that was 

Radim Malinic: pretty much all they had to do. Whereas now. We all have a sort of similar responsibilities.

Radim Malinic: if you, if, cause when you think about it, a musician now records an album and they work to make sure that people hear the album, that you get, you get, 

Radim Malinic: a load of, cause we see okay, here's the album. I'll take a year off and we'll see what happens. And, it's, it's this process of actually to make a connection with [00:28:00] people, you have to get out there and actually meet people, 

Radim Malinic: So I think there's a lot of interesting points you made there, because if you think about it, how the world's changed, before a musician had to make an album and then had to show up for the gig and the rest was 

Radim Malinic: done by managers and stuff.

Radim Malinic: Whereas now we've got fewer gatekeepers in all of this, you know, you can record the music and putput it on Spotify tomorrow.

Radim Malinic: You can make your own cover, like you can be a designer and make your own music and you can be a musician making your own, making your own covers, because it's just, we are also more, much more intertwined.

Radim Malinic: it's just a transition, isn't it? Like it's, it's how, how do we perceive it? Because we might see this as a, as a more of a hindrance to, okay, now I have to run my social media. I have to do this. I have to do a podcast with some uncle Radim, you know, you know, it's, we do more than ever. But it's quite exciting, I think, in a way, because even though our focus is slightly getting less away from the task at hand, because you can spend, six months on the record cover 25 years ago, you can be really laboring the process, whereas now we sometimes hope that a record cover will happen in [00:29:00] 5 10 minutes, because, 

Radim Malinic: oh, I've got an idea. Is this good enough? Whereas, I think visual portrayal of something as important as an album is so hard to get right because you can look at something, it makes sense, sometimes you're like, I would never have thought of this, it's how amazing, and I think it surprises you. 

Radim Malinic: for me, the most Putting a piece of design that I've actually, that made me realize I could do this was actually a piece of the, it was a copy of the Guardian.

Radim Malinic: I remember it was the Neville Brodie Helvetica Heavy, piece of Guardian. I was like, it just clicked because I was like, there is a lot of work here. Like literally, 

Radim Malinic: like we, we weyou talk about one album cover and then you've got like a hundred pages on a Tuesday. I'm like. Who's going to read this?

Radim Malinic: How did they make it? What's going on? And it was just that, that element of it's a sort of click to me. And it sounds very rudimentary, very simple, but that was the moment. It was just

Radim Malinic: like, Oh, yeah. 

David Sedgwick: I wonder what the 

David Sedgwick: moment will be for, this generation or the next generation. And I think that's, that's exciting, isn't it? And it, like [00:30:00] we're talking about album covers and newspapers. two things that are now, not as,as powerful as they once were, maybe 20, 30 years ago, be interested to see, I think that's, how do people get into design in 2023, what are they, what are they going to say is that it's a thing that made them go, wow, okay, I can do this.

David Sedgwick: Like you just said, I saw an album cover and thought I could do it. You saw a newspaper and thought you could do it. I'm interested to know what, yeah. the 18, 19, 20 year olds. Is it going to be a TikTok video of some guys showing a Photoshop tutorial? maybe it will be. For me, I see that and it's oh, whatever.

David Sedgwick: But, for those guys, they might be, that might genuinely be their moment, seeing somebody doing something on a computer and going, oh, It's just a case of clicking, click there, press that, do that, set that, done. That's my concern. I'm going off on a tangent slightly, but that is my slight concern with those kind of videos, those sort of tutorial videos, and don't get me wrong, I have, they come up on my Instagram occasionally, and I think, oh.[00:31:00] 

David Sedgwick: That's quite clever. I've never seen, I've never seen how that, that done before in, in Illustrator or in Photoshop, but I'm also left feeling a little bit empty because I'm like, all right, so anyone now can do that. anybody can just do that exact same process, go on the computer, follow it step by step and produce the same piece of work.

David Sedgwick: Whereas the album cover and the, and the newspaper that you're talking about, yeah. Yes, you looked at it and thought, Oh, wow, that's a job. I can do that. But there was no tutorial to it. There was no kind of like guide. It was just there in front of you. And I think there's something lost a little bit in the world of design now in the sense of I don't need to know how the Mona Lisa was painted.

David Sedgwick: I just need to know it was painted and I think that we are now living in a world in design where we, people are like, this is how I do this. This is how I do that. And I think we want that information, but there's also got to be a little bit of, of magic. There's got to be a little bit of magic [00:32:00] still there, because that's what elevates, that's what keeps us going, that's what makes us creative people, there has to be a little bit of the dark arts, a little bit of a secret somewhere along the way, because if we give every single trade secret away, then what have we got left at the end of it?

Radim Malinic: I think, I think what, what I sort of generation of what I current time and make us believe that everyone's, everyone's day is that as their sort of highlight reel, like every day is amazing day and I 

Radim Malinic: just, it all works. It's all fine. And when you look at it, like you can't. I was talking to someone about it the other day about like getting into galleries, like to get into gallery, like there's gatekeepers, like there's a certain level, there's there's a criteria.

Radim Malinic: Getting into magazines in mid 2000s was quite, was still, you have to be good enough to get in there. Whereas, You can broadcast your stuff easily, all day, every day, 

Radim Malinic: and still people believe that the good stuff should be following you as, as you go. And I remember recently I was reading a book called from, it's called From Strength to Strength by [00:33:00] Arthur Brooks, and it's literally about how to find happiness in the second, no, second part of your life.

Radim Malinic: and he's documenting like how, for example, J. S. Bach. famous composer was outgrown by his kids. Like the kids did better work than him. he was he grew into obscurity. He had he had this sort of sunny period and then things get, and he was happier being educated and doing other things, but we I think the way we turbocharged the expectations and the world out there that we make make people very little experience being fresh in the industry, let them believe that, you know what, it's going to be amazing all the time.

Radim Malinic: And the 

Radim Malinic: truth is. It won't 

Radim Malinic: be. I mean, it shouldn't be because, unless you fight it out with a blank piece of paper. You haven't really achieved something that you need to grow, like just to, I don't think artificial intelligence is a necessary problem right now, but it makes people believe that there's a shortcut because I remember copying all lynda.

Radim Malinic: com tutorials, Oh, how do 

Radim Malinic: you draw a pencil in Illustrator? How do you gradient and stuff? 

Understanding Your Craft

Radim Malinic: And of course, like these things keep coming up again, because you [00:34:00] need to know your tool. Like when you 

Radim Malinic: see a musician on a stage, And if they're very good, it happens that they must have at least practiced for, 10, 20, 000 hours, because that's what makes them amazing.

Radim Malinic: No one is talented out of the gates, you know, no one is okay, 

Radim Malinic: I was born with amazing fingers and I can play, everything. You might be, you might have a sort of predisposition to, to, to, to, to work and be good, but you have to work on yourself. 

Radim Malinic: And I think in that case, it's just it goes.

Radim Malinic: So far back to actually realize, Oh, it started clicking, it started clicking now and it's, it's good. 

First Steps into the Professional World

Radim Malinic: do you remember what, what was your first piece of work that you did?

David Sedgwick: Oh, I was thinking about this the other day, actually, because I'm behind, I've got loads of boxes here and all around the studio and some at home in the, in the attic and things like that. And, I don't think I ever did any paid design work or anything that was a commercial until I got my first job.

David Sedgwick: And I was fortunate I got my first job almost straight away out of university. But there was a method to that because I, I started to get [00:35:00] internships and placements whilst I was at university. So any half term holiday or any break I had, I was doing an internship at, in an agency and I, so when I left. my degree, that sort of final day where you say goodbye to everybody.

David Sedgwick: I had things lined up and I had an internship at an agency called Tucker Clark Williams in Manchester. and they, they, they gave me a job after two weeks, which was, which was really good. And they gave me a, a small piece of work. I might have it actually, behind me. I won't get it, but it's in there somewhere.

The Joy of Seeing Your Work Materialize

David Sedgwick: And it was, all it was, was a series of simple postcards for a travel company, student travel company. it's horrendous to look at it now, it's awful. I remember just being so amazed. I'd produced something and it was printed and it came back, a couple of weeks later and these big cardboard boxes and everybody was looking at these pieces of work and I was, I was sure there was going to be some mistakes and some errors.

David Sedgwick: I've done something wrong. It was, some beer mats and it was these cards and it was a kind of student [00:36:00] travel promotional thing. I just was so proud of myself that I'd gone from three. a number of years of education. Certainly three years at university of struggling a little bit and feeling completely out of my debt to getting a job and producing something that was printed and public, and out there in the public.

David Sedgwick: just being so happy about it. As I say, I've kept it. I've still got it behind me. It's, it's still, it's still with me 20 odd years later. 

The Drive to Create More

David Sedgwick: But then that just opens up another kind of, power, doesn't it? Within you, because you're like, actually, I want more of this. I want to produce more stuff. I want to print, I want more stuff to be printed.

David Sedgwick: I want, I want to be doing more work. I want my work to be seen by more people. I want, I want to be doing advertising around the whole of the city or the whole of the UK. I want, I want more of it. And, it's a drive actually. It's, it's nice to see your work that you produce maybe in isolation, or in a small space being seen by more people.

The Impact of Social Media on Creativity

David Sedgwick: Which is when social media came along and it was like, Oh, I can [00:37:00] actually. put my work out, out there and it will be seen by more people than just me or just the client or just a few people. and that was, that was a real eye opener, the beginning of sort of Instagram and, and things like that.

David Sedgwick: And social media was like, wow, this, this could, this could be pretty cool. Actually, I could get my work to more people. again, I've gone off on a massive tangent. I do remember the, to answer the question, I do remember the first piece of work and I do remember feeling extraordinarily proud about it. And, and, and I'd hope that any young designer, whatever it is, whatever piece of work they've done, it does not matter whether it was, some packaging for some, dog food or whether it's a campaign for Nike or whatever.

David Sedgwick: it's. It's so important to feel that sense of pride in producing your first piece of design work and proper design work, not a student brief or a university brief, but an actual piece that has been briefed to you by a client and you've [00:38:00] gone through the amends and you've artworked it and it's gone to a printer or it's gone to a coder or it's gone to whoever to be properly made.

David Sedgwick: So Yeah, never lose that.

Radim Malinic: There's definitely the magic when you've got a piece of whatever you've created and you're just looking at it over and over and over again. It's 

Radim Malinic: almost like a hypnotizing piece of work. 

Radim Malinic: And mine was terrible. Mine was a flyer for an Italian restaurant, for a Brazilian night in an Italian restaurant. And I knew that was the first freelance piece of work.

Radim Malinic: And I was equally happy because I've made it, I got paid, I got a client, I've sorted out the printing and I was equally disappointed. I was like, that's my history. This is where we start. 

David Sedgwick: it's good that you knew that at that point you were like, this is going to be important. I suppose I must have done really because I've kept it. I didn't chuck it away. I took a sample and I've kept it in a drawer and then that drawer became a box and that box became a series of boxes. 

David Sedgwick: And then 

David Sedgwick: that boxes became in the, yeah, so I've kept it.

David Sedgwick: So yeah, we both knew at that point that we needed to keep them.

Radim Malinic: I was lucky [00:39:00] because afterwards I worked for a printing company. So I did dozens and dozens of flights a week and stuff. And you normally keep a stack of Oh, I'm going to keep 10 of those and 20 of those and fine. And 

Radim Malinic: then you just, you move in house and like just checking two tons of paper because no one's going to ever need it.

The Double-Edged Sword of Instagram

Radim Malinic: But what was interesting when you mentioned just a second ago was the arrival of Instagram. And I remember in your talk, you mentioned you had this blockbuster thing with Foil Co. When you rebranded FoilCo, and you were like, it had X amount of thousands of likes, has X amount of new thousand followers, zero new work.

Radim Malinic: I think, was that like, was that the story?

David Sedgwick: yeah. that is true, isn't it? look, I'm not going to sit here now and pretend that I don't care about Instagram likes. I think we would be lying if we didn't. We put work out there on social media. We want people to like it. We want people to say this is good. We want people to follow you.

David Sedgwick: And it's like a little dopamine hit, isn't it? When someone gives you a like of a piece of work, you get that minute amount of dopamine. I've seen some talks by [00:40:00] some really good people talking about what, how social media works and that kind of like little ping, ping, like thing. I was obsessed by it for a while, I'm not going to lie.

David Sedgwick: Instagram became an obsession. I would be posting stuff like constantly, stuff that wasn't even finished, half done stuff. Just, I Instagram to some extent, I was doing stuff to get likes. I was doing stuff to get followers. I was putting work out there that, hadn't been completed and hadn't been finished.

David Sedgwick: And I suppose it was probably about two years ago, maybe three years ago, maybe the pandemic, I started to think I'm going to be a little bit less, obsessed with it and less, less about putting, work in progress on there and more about actually, when I finish a project, I will put it on as a finished project as opposed to just posting stuff for the sake of it.

David Sedgwick: So I guess I was trying to curate an Instagram page that was, Like a website, really, a finished work, not just some people use Instagram. I got his is my view out the window today. Here's my, here's something I'm working on. I just want to use it more as a website. But going back to your [00:41:00] point about the foil code project.

David Sedgwick: Yeah, I think we, we, we take on work to answer a client brief and to service our clients needs and to get paid for it. 

The Shift in Perspective with Age

David Sedgwick: And that's, That happens, hopefully, in every project we do, and maybe one or two go wrong, but most projects, the client's happy, they get what they need, and they pay you for it, and that's fine, that's enough.

David Sedgwick: and then Instagram comes along, and you're like, I want to put it on, I want to put it out there on my social media and get some, get some likes and some followers. because I just want that little bit of ego boost, and I want, I want to feel like it's, that people like what I do. but it's trying to, it's trying to get the balance right, isn't it?

David Sedgwick: I think as the last few years have gone on, I've realized it's not that important. Like I can put stuff out on Instagram now and get 10 likes, 20 likes. The algorithm has changed, Instagram has changed, the way we use social media has changed, it's, there's many reasons why you might not get as many likes now as perhaps you want to get, and so I've realized as I've perhaps got a [00:42:00] bit older, a little bit more uglier, that, the key here is, is the client happy?

David Sedgwick: Has it, has it answered the client brief? Has it done what I was briefed to do? And if the client is happy, has Then they'll give me more work and that will produce more work through them and potentially people that they know and maybe, you've asked, you've asked me in the past, you asked me before that, before we came on air kind of thing, do you get all your work from Instagram?

David Sedgwick: There was definitely a period of time where a lot of work was coming from Instagram. It's less and less now. And I think that's because I'm not as engaged in it as I once was, but also I'm, I'm, I'm really into. Relationships and communication and conversation and I'm in a space here in Manchester that's full of other people, other types of businesses, and I'm a nice guy, as you said at the start.

David Sedgwick: I talk to people, I get chatting to people, I've got a little dog, she walks around and I get chatting to people and work comes that way now, and I'm [00:43:00] glad of that, really. I think Instagram's still really good. I think it's still really important. I still post on there. I still put stuff out there. I don't know if you, you follow me, but I put a lot of stories on.

David Sedgwick: I try and dissect a project. I put like a background as to how I've, how I've come to the solution. People seem to really engage with that and I like doing that because that, that gets, that gives me an opportunity to not just show the finished piece. Oh, here's what Dave did this week. It's actually, I went through fucking tons of changes and amends and client feedback to get there.

David Sedgwick: And I enjoy Instagram for that and putting the Instagram stories on there. I'm definitely not as obsessed as it as I once was, I really had got a problem with it and I'd be checking it all the time, and I'd be checking Instagram all the time, and I'd be checking other designers Instagram, you know, other creatives, people, my contemporaries, my peers, my competitors, people in the industry, and I'd be like, oh my god, that's amazing, that's so good.

David Sedgwick: [00:44:00] And now I've got a personal Instagram account, which is just pictures of my daughter, really, and family life and kind of holidays. And I follow people on that, people who also have personal Instagrams. And I probably, it'd be interesting to see, but I think I probably spend more time. Looking at that than I do the design, Instagram, I think I've, I've hit a point where I'm like, actually interests me more.

David Sedgwick: I want to see about people's lives more than I do necessarily their work. Because, because finally, just social media should be a. It's not just about getting work, is it? It should be about, so the word is social, it's supposed to be about, you know,your social life, and I think I've definitely figured that out, but I've gone on a journey to get there.

The Changing Role of Social Media

David Sedgwick: Definitely gone on a journey to get there.

Radim Malinic: think, I think we just blurred the boundaries because we've like, all of these platforms were created for a specific reason. And then we all showed up and just blurred about, like blurred the 

Radim Malinic: usage because once I started seeing people posting their work [00:45:00] previews on LinkedIn, I was like, what are you doing?

Radim Malinic: This is not a place to do it. And then you, you start seeing people on, on Facebook going like daily updates, like what are you doing? Why are you updating it? Like it's, it's for like for 

Radim Malinic: for a minute. and and then we've blurred it and I overused it. And of course, like they. They, they, they reinvented themselves for not to, to get our attention as we, I feel like Instagram and all that stuff is more about consuming rather than being proactive because before it was more like, Oh, you're on Facebook.

Radim Malinic: Let's be on Facebook. I had someone that explained to me like another years ago, like, how do you use it? Cause I was a MySpace guy, right?

Radim Malinic: And I made the people I met on MySpace. And this is for some people listening to the show, never heard of MySpace. This was like the original. A social network for music and the people I met there, we were in the same boat and it was so exciting that we still, I still stay friends.

Radim Malinic: I still got clients from MySpace time, 

Radim Malinic: but,

Radim Malinic: but everything gets to the point of saturation. 

Radim Malinic: So it's easy to kill time on this thing. It's easier to to think, Oh, I should be doing this [00:46:00] because I've got an analogy in Mindful Creative and in the second book about the highway of creativity in life.

Radim Malinic: And you've got this multi lane motorway and we just. you can be happily in your, on a, on a, on a, on a side, in the side lanes, just kind of sort of going slowly thinking, I'm doing this thing in my life. I'm fine. And you see these people whizzing past you, like being 

Radim Malinic: glitzy, bold, engaging, you know, like loud,like loud, going somewhere and they don't even know where they're going.

Radim Malinic: And in my opinion, it's just that's, reached the peak point of of engagement with Instagram because. I don't get surprised with what I see every day, you know, there's this, the stuff that isit's the same thing, you know, the algorithm feeds you the same, the people are posting the same thing, but they still expect more likes every day, or they don't 

Radim Malinic: know how not. So it's, it's, it's this, this thing, like, how do you surprise me? Because. You want to watch something, you don't watch the same cartoon,with children you do, but you don't watch the 

Radim Malinic: same series. You're not going to open like Netflix and watch the first five things you've ever watched over and over again.

Radim Malinic: Like we're going to change. [00:47:00] We're going to look for something to make us feel something. And I think we are guilty just like everybody else by being ourselves.

Radim Malinic: And expecting someone being excited every day, because that doesn't happen, you know what I mean? Like, going back to the point of music, the music that we, like the artists.

Radim Malinic: that you listen t


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