Podcasts about the built environment are hard to find, and there’s a reason for that. Design is inherently visual, and though there’s no lack of conversation to be had, communicating ideas to listeners is difficult with sound alone. Thus the five great podcasts below live under the umbrella of design in all its forms, and as a result, demonstrate its intrinsicality.
Design Matters with Debbie Millman
Celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year, Design Matters with Debbie Millman is the pioneer of design podcasts. Primarily interview-based, the podcast brings together “designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, and other luminaries of contemporary thought.” The conversation is guided by the soft and confident voice of Millman, an accomplished writer, educator, artist, and brand consultant. Her depth of industry knowledge, professional demeanor, and graceful interview skills bring gravitas to the podcast, and prove why Design Matters is the preeminent program dedicated to design. Subscribe here.
While Debbie Millman plays the role of interviewer in Design Matters, Roman Mars is every bit the storyteller in his quirky and brilliant podcast 99% Invisible. Allison Arieff, former editor-in-chief of Dwell Magazine, and current architecture and design contributor to The New York Times calls him “the Ira Glass of design,” after the well-known host of the popular NPR program, This American Life.
Mars’s rolling voice is warmer than Glass’s, but with the same amount of genuine personality. And with most episodes less than twenty minutes long, they are meditative little breaks for those days when you are submerged in meetings. Subscribe here.
After the Jump
Grace Bonney’s behemoth of a website, Design Sponge, has taken over the online design world. But while the website is equal parts informative, creative, and frothy, her podcast, After the Jump, focuses more often on the business side of the design world, a necessary part of the creative process that most of designers (including myself) do not enjoy.
She’s a gentle and inquisitive guide who reminds me of how I would imagine myself to be in a room full of design professionals I admire – she lets her talented guests do the talking, and enjoys the conversation as much as her listeners. Subscribe here.
The Honest Home
Podcasts that focus on interior design are hard to find, which is why Tammy Cody started her program a year ago. It may be one of the younger kids in the podcast world, but, The Honest Home, has quickly gathered notice.
As a start-up designer and mother of two boys, she injects a relatability to each podcast – in one episode, she and her guest candidly discuss the inauthenticity of pristine Instagram posts among designers, as if they’re sharing everyday conversation over warm cups of coffee. Subscribe here.
On The Grind
If these guys had been around during our college years (if podcasts had been around for that matter), On the Grind would have been on heavy rotation during late night design studio sessions.
It all serves as a reminder that designers are real people who shoot the breeze, and that we do not live in a bubble, but are influenced by the culture we live in. Perhaps that’s a little too deep for the tone of On The Grind but either way, it’s an enjoyable – and addicting – listen. Subscribe here
P.S. Follow Mangold, Auer, and McInerney on Twitter for spot-on, hilarious, and sometimes spastic observations about, well, everything.
These are my favorite podcasts about design, but non-design podcasts also inspire my design and writing. What podcasts do you find yourself listening to at work or at home, and how do they influence your projects and view of the profession?