- Text Dana Meir
- Date October 1, 2018
- Est Read time 7 min
- Illustration author Andy J. Miller
Design inspiration comes in many forms. We’re all well accustomed to endless scrolling on our feeds. We keep up to date with our favorite designers’ works on their online portfolios. And we make sure to indulge in a good exhibition every now and again. As designers, we find visual stimulation in almost everything we look at. But sometimes, it’s worth giving our eyes (and thumbs) a break and letting our imaginations run wild instead. There’s something beautifully nostalgic about listening to a podcast, being passed on information through our ears and having the freedom to process and visualize it ourselves. Whether you have the luxury of spare time on your hands, a commute to work, or precious “me time” while cooking, finding a moment to listen to a podcast is invaluable. So grab your headphones, close your eyes, sit back and listen. Here’s our choice of the best design podcasts to listen to.
You never know when a random fact or piece of knowledge you picked up will come in handy. You could be working on the branding for a catering company and suddenly be reminded of something you learned in geology in 5th grade. Creating cross-references in our designs, and finding inspiration in places other than our specific fields, can often be what makes the project we’re working on just that little bit more interesting. That’s why listening to 99% Invisible’s podcasts is such a fantastic source of inspiration. They cover niche and in-depth topics, from the story behind Oprah Winfrey’s hair, to the history of the Emeco 1006, the aluminum chair you’ve probably seen plenty of times but haven’t known its name. Browse through the various categories and tune in for an enriching experience.
Join hosts Michael Beirut and Jessica Helfand on a journey as they discuss design issues with an impressive array of experts from different industries and corners of the earth. Accompanied by a beautiful website (created with Wix!), their shows cover hot topics in design and contemporary culture, offering insights into how creatives from major brands perceive the role of design in their businesses. The conversations have a personal tone, while remaining highly professional and informative. Brush up on your understanding of UX design with Heather McIntosh Cassano, director of user experience at Google, as she makes sense of the various forms of user research and more. Or hear photography and filmmaker Jessica Dimmock’s story, from setting up a dark room in her childhood bathroom, to creating Flint Town, the Netflix documentary series.
I never thought I’d find myself enjoying a podcast that’s based on scientific research (the thought still makes me shudder), but Radiolab is certainly an exception. The shows discuss a broad range of fascinating and current themes, based on scientific investigations. Delving into some of the most pressing questions today, the hosts discuss anything from the gradually disappearing border between humans and technology, to a look into how we perceive color. Don’t let the “s-word” put you off. This podcast knows how to make even the most complex subjects accessible and interesting.
Where better to find design inspiration than on our beloved social platform, Dribbble? Not only is it brimming with an endless supply of visual talent, it also has a fabulous podcast. Dan Cederholm, the show’s host, speaks to creative professionals from different fields, engaging in conversations on virtually every aspect of design. They cover practical topics like building a brand identity, pros and cons of freelancing versus working for a company, creating an online design portfolio, balancing family life with a career and more. But the conversations also dig deeper, bringing up the more emotional sides of being a designer, making this an all-round super valuable listen. An extra nice touch is that they’ve included a transcript of each podcast, as well as the links mentioned, so you can take it one step further and look into the references they discuss.
With a down-to-earth casual vibe, designer Tobias van Schneider’s show almost feels like listening in on a chat between friends over coffee. He handpicks a range of creatives to interview, pinpointing specific topics within their works to discuss. The conversations cover those inherent subjects that any designer can connect to on a personal basis, especially as themes are addressed on eye level, making it very accessible. They talk about anything from the first steps of a professional career, to collaborations, identity, consumerism and more. Get your kettle boiling, grab a slice of cake and tune in for a pleasant, enriching experience.
As mentioned previously in the blog, Design Matters is the world’s first and longest running podcast about design. Debbie Millman interviews a collection of creatives from different fields – writers, anthropologists, event organizers, trend forecasters and more. As a designer herself, she knows how to get into the minds of the people she speaks to, asking the right questions and inviting them to open up and chat about a range of honest, intriguing and often intimate themes. Debbie Millman clearly comes to each interview fully prepared, meticulously pinpointing obscure personal details from her guests’ pasts and developing them into insightful topics of conversation. Discover how multidisciplinary designer Simon Doonan paved his way from a poor childhood in England to dressing windows at Barneys New York, or listen to performance artist Marina Abramović’s fascinating and moving tales on her life and works. You won’t be able to stay indifferent.
This one may have been produced back in 2010, but some things never go out of style. That’s the case for this podcast, by director of the British Museum, Neil MacGregor. For the history buffs among us, this is absolute heaven. And for the inquisitive designers, you’ll certainly learn a thing or two. The host has handpicked 100 objects from around the world, created over a range of years, spanning from 2,000,000 BC to the current day. From a sculpture of a double-headed serpent, to ancient textiles from Peru and modern-day credit cards, you’ll discover the stories behind a surprising and fascinating collection of items. By discussing them and thoroughly examining their history, he explains how each one has been somehow pivotal in the history of humanity. The talks gradually unravel a story on the changes the world has gone through and raise various issues on culture, the environment, politics and much, much more.
This podcast is just what it says on the tin. We’re all well aware of the ups and downs of being a creative. There’s that brief moment when you’re certain you’re the most ingenious human ever to walk this planet, and then there’s the smack in the face of someone’s feedback that can knock your confidence levels to the ground (there are, of course, those boring in-between moments when everything is fine and dandy). Other than going to a shrink or writing furiously in your diary, illustrator and Wix user Andy J. Miller’s podcast is a good way to find inspiration, feel a little uplifted and gain some professional advice. The episodes include some quite personal ponderings on life and creativity, served with a nice portion of humor – not to mention the heartwarming illustrations made especially for each podcast.
Who knew UX could be this fun? Already on its 21st season, the Boagworld Show is a fantastic source of information (and entertainment) on anything web design related. Whatever your level of experience, you’ll immediately feel at home with hosts Paul Boag and Marcus Lillington, who balance some good old British chitter chatter with serious and informative content. Inviting a variety of experts to the show from successful and often well-known brands, they discuss a different topic each season. Discover more about user interface design, marketing success, digital management and more, amongst jokes, casual apple eating and friendly vibes.
Whether you’re super into fashion, or are just a curious creature of the 21st century, i-D’s fairly new podcast examines various aspects of current pop culture. Each session is short and to the point, packed full of various speakers and fascinating content. Covering some obscure topics and trends, from people incorporating their acne into their designs, to investigating the hype around gen z yellow, we can’t wait to see where this promising gem will take us next.