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10 Inspiring Design Podcasts to Listen to While You Work

Inspiring Design Podcasts to Listen to While You Work

Over the last few years, podcasts have become a huge deal. They’ve taken on a growing role in the online landscape and created a shift in the way we consume our daily content. And while a lot of big companies have ventured into this popular medium, individuals continue to dominate it. And that’s mainly because in podcasting, everything’s allowed. Unfiltered discussions and fiesty arguments are just as common as scientific lectures, debates about the arts, and business tips.

When it comes to design podcasts, the situation is no different. Which is why, like every other area of podcasting, the design niche can sometimes be difficult to navigate. With so many creatives starting new podcasts every day, it may be hard to find the one that best suits your unique tastes. Sometimes you need something to shake up your workflow or inspire you, but sometimes all you want is some simple entertainment.

To help you filter through all the inevitable noise, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 most inspiring design podcasts to listen to while you work:

99% Invisible

Keeping their style consistent, the crew behind 99% Invisible always finds a way to shine a light on things that usually go unnoticed by most people. In each episode, they expose some unseen or overlooked aspects of architecture, sound, various objects, visuals, history, and much more.

One of the especially interesting episodes covers the impact visuals can have on a viewer. It’s called Derevolutionary Design and it’s about the time when record album art was really important, back when music wasn’t downloaded or streamed, but purchased in hard copies. Cover art was used to leave a strong first impression on the audience, before the music could.

The episode Making a Mark: Visual Identity with Tom Geismar is also worth a listen. It’s about one of the most talked-about rebranding stories in recent history involving the Chase bank and their octagon logo.

If you’d like to hear about the emotional imprints art can leave on us, whether we’re searching for them or not, listen to the episode The Many Deaths of a Painting.

Design Matters

The first-ever design-oriented podcast to be distributed for free was Debbie Milliman’s Design Matters. If you value a good, open conversation, with lots of questions asked, this is the right podcast for you.

The host is very thorough in her preparation for the show and she talks with a strong passion for the design industry. The conversations between her and her guests make you feel as if you’re on an extended break, listening to your favorite colleagues talk insightfully about your favorite topic.

A plethora of creatives have made an appearance on Debbie’s show. And no matter what episode you listen to, each conversation will make you feel more inspired than before.

One of Debbie’s guests was Chip Kidd, a world-famous book cover designer, and that episode is definitely worth your while. They discussed what a TED talk looks like from the perspective of the presenter (he presented in 2012). As you listen to Kidd speak, you’re almost certain to feel a connection with him. When the time comes to present ourselves and our work, we all go through an emotional rollercoaster. And he is no exception.

Debbie’s conversation with Seth Godin is also very refreshing and interesting. In this episode, Seth talks about life in the current political moment, and what we could do to break out from the vicious circle of fear and make something that matters instead. This episode aired in 2017, but it’s still quite relevant.

The Deeply Graphic DesignCat

If you are searching for a blend of practical and creative tips, the TDGDC podcast is a must. They’ve recently reached a milestone of 200+ episodes, which just goes to show how strong and popular this podcast is.

The hosts are all successful designers with years of experience under their belts. This allows them to expertly cover a variety of topics, from the web to graphic design, and everything in between.

The first episode of 2020 is a real banger, and the topic is perfectly juicy for the start of the new year. It’s called Forging your own path as a designer, make sure to check it out.

A few older episodes worth mentioning are Balancing work & life as professionals, as well as 5 ways to increase your design rates.

But all the episodes are really good, so you can just as well open one at random, since you won’t regret giving any of them a listen.

Big Web Show

The motto of the Big Web Show is ‘Everything web that matters’. In an attempt to close the gap between various industries, the host Jeffry Zeldman features topics and guests from the world of web publishing, art direction, content strategy, typography, etc.

Episodes last 60 minutes on average, and that’s the perfect podcast duration for your daily commute or a slow day at work.

One of the episodes that demonstrates how versatile the topics on the show can be is episode #180: Where AI Meets IA: Improving Digital Personalization. The guest is Jeffrey MacIntyre, an independent UX consultant and researcher that specializes in digital personalization.

I doubt there’s a creative out there who hasn’t heard of Slack. In the episode #187: On beyond Pantsuit with Mina Markham, Jeffrey talks to a former senior engineer at Slack, Mina Markham, who is also one of the most active women in the tech community. This is one of the most illuminating conversations out there with a highly creative individual.

Staying true to the motto of the show, in episode #176: Intrinsic Web Design with Jen Simmons the host discusses all things design with one of the members of the CSS Working Group and a Designer Advocate at Mozilla.

The Futur

If you’ve ever shown interest in design, chances are you’ve already stumbled upon some of The Futur’s videos on YouTube.

In case you need tips on how to make a passive income, how to communicate with a client, etc., the host Chris Do and his guests can help. They talk about all kinds of topics, from design to everyday life, and all things in between. As one of the biggest design-oriented podcasts on YouTube, The Futur provides a ton of quality content.

You can also listen to the podcast on SoundCloud, LibSyn, Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

We really liked Episode 14: The Art of Communication. It covers the topic of communication, which is at the core of every relationship. The host shares a technique that can help us talk about everything, difficult topics included, and considers how best to communicate in a professional environment.

Another episode that stands out is Episode 67: How To Find Work-Life Balance In The Creative Industry with Robert Hranitzky. The fine line between work and private life is often blurred, especially if you work in the creative industry. In this interview, one of the veterans of motion design tells us all about his experience and discusses whether there can be a balance between the two. Not that many people can say they’ve managed to find the perfect equilibrium, and it is useful to hear someone with so much experience like Hranitzky talk about a topic most people struggle with.

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ShopTalk Show

Hosted by Chris Coyer and Dave Rupert, the ShopTalk Show podcast is perfect for all front end developers, web designers, UX professionals, and anyone who aspires to become an expert in any of these areas. Through panel discussions with their guests about their day-to-day experiences, this podcast provides answers to the problems developers of all levels wrestle with.

The amalgam of the hosts’ vast practical knowledge, their humor and their chemistry are all great reasons to get hooked on this podcast.

In Episode 325: Code is Expensive Chris and Dave share advice on how to write testable code, talk about WooCommerce custom site building, and give us their take on a low code world.

Episode 378: RapidFire Q&A on Podcast Sponsorships, npm Dependencies, and Front End Developers – In this episode, the hosts answer questions from their audience. One of the issues they discuss is finding the best way to keep the front-end developer and back-end developer roles separate.

Better: The Brand Designer Podcast

Better: The Brand Designer Podcast, as its name suggests, focuses on brand design. This podcast shines a light on some of the secretive and confusing parts of the design niche through honest conversations between hosts Giselle Field and Jen Davis. It’s a great online resource that helps designers deal with the various challenges presented by the industry.

A good introduction to the show are the episodes S01E04 and S01E05. In this two parter, the authors tackle the big question of pricing, which is usually kept secret, regardless of the niche. They’ve had their fair share of experiences with numerous clients, and their story can probably help save you a lot of headache.

In season 2 episode 1: Setting Healthy Boundaries in Your Design Business, they talk about how sometimes we get overwhelmed with the wrong type of work, and also how to set boundaries in our business and our relationship with others.

Design Better Podcast

The Design Better Podcast is an excellent resource for all designers and the show has just entered its 4th season. The hosts Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery discuss team dynamics and how to improve them on all business levels. There’s a general theme for each season, which makes it easier for listeners to keep up with all the episodes.

In episode 22, titled Communicating the value of design, we have the chance to listen to Abigail Hart Gray, the director of UX at Google, talk about how parenthood has changed her approach to problem-solving. She also discusses measuring the impact of design on business.

In episode 10: Design or be Designed, Mia Blume talks about managing priorities and being vulnerable on the job. She also shares the story of how she went from working as a designer to becoming a product design leader, and how being a designer has helped her be a better manager.

User Defenders Podcast

User Defenders is an inspiring podcast for everyone with a big thirst for knowledge. The usual subjects this podcast deals with are UX, UI, web design, personal growth, psychology, and more. If you’d like to become a better version of yourself, and you’re not afraid to talk about your experiences and face your vulnerabilities, this is the show for you.

Staying motivated in the fast-paced and ever-changing design industry is hard, but User Defenders come to the rescue. They speak to a wide spectrum of listeners and help them stay driven at all times.

In Episode 026: We Are Not Our Users with Nikkel Blase the hosts encourage their listeners to make time for more deep thinking. By doing that, designers will have the tools necessary to to tackle the quixotic challenges they may face, such as attempting to find a solution without really understanding the problem.

Episode 005: Surround Yourself with People That Reflect Who You Want to Become with Andi Galepern tackles the subject of how the community can be the key for our personal development (a common subject almost all podcasts on this list deal with) and how important insightful conversations are.

Honest Designers Show

They couldn’t have picked a more suitable name for this show. The authors are all working designers, with a bunch of experience in their creative field. Tom Ross, Ian Barnard, Dustin Lee and Lisa Glanz will make you feel more comfortable than you thought a podcast can. As one of the most pleasant podcast shows to listen to, The Honest Designers Show comes with a lot of takeaways on creativity and everyday life.

One of the episodes most designers could benefit from is episode 62: Finding Your Confidence as a Designer. The hosts talk about confidence and how it can profoundly impact our creative work and other parts of our lives.

Also make sure you don’t miss out on episode 80 and episode 81. In this two-parter, the hosts share 100 tips on how to stand out on social media and create an engaged audience.

Final Thoughts

Podcasts are the natural choice for when we want to take a break from our favorite playlist. They can help open conversations up, force us to challenge our ideas, reconsider our outlooks on life, and even make us laugh or cry. Such experiences are rare and valuable.

With so many distinctive design podcasts to choose from, we encourage you to explore and find the ones that are the best fit for your tastes and expertise. But if you’re not sure where to start, these ten podcasts are certain to entertain, inspire, and even teach you something new. As the consumer base of this medium is diversifying and the content keeps growing, now is the perfect moment to tune in and start learning, participating, or just having some fun.

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