Four Podcasts Every Designer Should Listen To


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These days, my mornings entails groaning at my alarm, snoozing it for another 10 minutes, and finally scrolling to my Podcasts app and clicking “play” to start off my day. And it looks like I’m not alone; in the past four years, the amount of people listening to podcasts has close to doubled, with 67 million Americans listening to podcasts every month!

About 2 years ago, I ‘discovered’ podcasts. I came across the network, which produces podcasts about software development and design. As soon as I listened to the first Design Details episode on, I was hooked. Design Details has served as a crash course in the tools, best practices, and current events in the world of user-interface design, product design, and the San Francisco Bay-area/Silicone Valley technology hub.

After my first experience with podcasts, I began my foray into the world of podcasts. My nascent love for design happily intersected with this discovery, and I began to avidly and quickly consume any podcasts that talked about design, creative problem solving or creative expression.

These days, podcasts are one of my most-consumed forms of content. I listen to podcasts that cover current events, explore history, and tell stories, but my favorite podcasts are still the first ones I found – those related to design and art.

The following four stand at the top of the list of podcasts that have helped me grow as a designer, creative thinker, and creative problem solver:

Design Details

Hosts Bryn Jackson and Brian Lovin interviewprimarily designers (but also project managers, software engineers, etc.) working in technology companies, often based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Guests talk about how they’ve gotten to their current role, and their specific interests, side-projects, and pursuits. Hearing about the diverse ways in which people have found their way into technology and design is one of my favorite parts of this podcast! If you’re interested in the more user-interface/product design aspects of design, this podcast is a great resource.

Design Matters with Debbie Millman

An apt description, the podcast’s website reads, “The world’s first podcast about design and an inquiry into the broader world of creative culture through wide-ranging conversations with designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, and other luminaries of contemporary thought.” Debbie Millman, designer, author, and co-founder of the graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, interviews designers, artists, writers, entrepreneurs and more. Millman traces guest’s path to finding their footing in various industries and roles, with creativity and innovation at the core of their varied experiences. This podcast emphasizes the humanist aspects of design; it always leaves the listener with the conviction that through creative expression and creative thinking, we can make a difference in the issues of our world.

99% Invisible

Host Roman Mars talks about all the things that we might not notice in the world around us – think architecture, design of everyday items, etc.. Each episode discusses the history, significance, and fun intricacies of topics ranging from the stethoscope to the Sagrada Familia; from Olympic branding to the sports bra, and everything in between. The show started out as a project of theAmerican institute of Architects in San Francisco, and is now one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes.

The Observatory 

Hosts Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand, esteemed designers and design critics an

d both Artists-in-Residence at Yale University, discuss design, current events, and their current favorite visual/creative interests. Bierut and Helfand take a look at relevant current events and pop culture topics, such as movies, TV shows, fashion, etc., and

discuss the arts and design considerations related to these topics. They tend to have poignant and on-the-nose reflections about both lighter topics and more serious issues. I always finish these fun podcasts excited to look up and read further about every topic that was brought up. Some recent topics discussed include The Obama portraits, #MeToo movement, Olive Garden’s rebranding, and diversity in stock photography.

You can find these podcasts on the Podcasts iOS app. You can also listen to The Observatory and Design Matters on Soundcloud, and Design Details and 99% Invisible on Spotify or on a browser. Visit each of the podcasts’ websites to learn more!

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