The huge success of podcasts since it was first coined by Apple (iPod + broadcast) last 2005 is so big that there’s now over 1 billion podcast subscriptions in iTunes alone. And why not, podcasts are not only informative, they’re very convenient too. You can listen to them on-demand and on-the-go. You can easily customize your content by selecting which shows you want to listen to, plus you have the option to download and save them if you want to listen to them later. Best part is, they’re free.
Not only that, the range of categories and interests are so wide that there’s almost a show for everything, including graphic design — which brings us to this post.
As designers, we love listening to our favorite tunes when we are working. We need it to get into the zone, that sweet-spot where everything is on auto-pilot and time is a blur. And it’s true, studies have shown that what we listen to plays a great deal with our productivity, whether it’s music, ambient sounds, or coffee shop chatter.
So to add to your arsenal of things to listen to while you work, here are 4 graphic design podcasts that provide valuable insight about our industry. You don’t really have to listen to them while you work, you can just play them anytime you feel like it. Some people like to catch up to their shows during their commute, when working out, or when doing chores. That’s what so cool about them.
Personally, I listen to them while I work and I find that I get the same productivity as I would when listening to my favorite ambient sounds (classical piano, I’m looking at you) but with extra perks because a.) I learn a lot, and b.) I get motivated hearing like-minded people talk about our line of work.
The following podcasts are shows I’m personally subscribed to. As a matter of fact, these four graphic design podcasts are the only ones I stuck with. There are plenty more out there, but I found that there’s just no way for me to consume all the content if I add one more to the list. What’s great about this list is though short, they’re filled with varying personalities that help with continuous learning and listening.
Sounds fun, right? Let’s get to it.
Hosted by 3 highly-experienced graphic designers, Wes McDowell, Mikelle Morrison, and Nick Longo, this show is jam packed with insider information that freelancers and agency designers would definitely learn a lot from. They have a wide range of topics that tackle just about anything in the industry — from the latest design trends and techniques, to dealing with clients and the business side of being a professional designer.
As someone who started off as a designer without any formal training, I found this podcast to be a gold mine of industry-insider lessons that helped me improve not just the technical aspect of my craft, but also the business aspect as well. And let’s face it, they don’t really teach you that stuff in design school. In this podcast, the hosts draw from their plethora of real-world experience and talk about them, giving light to a lot of valuable insights along the way.
What I also really like about this podcast is the hosts have nice chemistry. You can easily tell they’re close colleagues who love to talk about what’s going on at work, and how it translates to the current topic at hand. At the end of each show, they offer tips and tricks in their “Do Yourself a Favor” segment and offer advices by answering listener questions.
Other than the times when they plug their sponsors, the show is really fun to listen to. Besides, these can be easily disregarded when they offer so much valuable content. Whether you’re an experienced or rookie designer, go subscribe. You’ll be better for it.
Design Matters with Debbie Millman is an award-winning podcast that does an impeccable job at enriching the meaning of design. With over 200 episodes published, her show gets downloaded over 50,000 times a month on iTunes.
The first time I listened to her podcast without a single clue who she was (shame on me), I knew I landed on a gold mine — one that’s filled with golden nuggets of wisdom drawn from leading authorities, insights that are otherwise hard to acquire. Her show is well-known for having prominent leaders of varying fields — even beyond design (educators, writers, change agents) — where she craftily leads the interview ensuring she absolutely gets the best from her guests.
Some of her guests to name a few are Massimo Vignelli, Milton Glaser, Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, and more. If you’re like me and don’t recognize some these names, go listen to her shows. They’re jam-packed with thought-provoking and intellectual conversations that’s hosted by her gentle, inviting voice which makes it great to listen to while you’re at work, at home, or on your commute. This show is absolutely a gem and I have to say, go subscribe if you haven’t already.
Mark Brickey and Billy Baumann team up to bring us a fun podcast with an equally fun title: Adventures in Design. Starting their show with a vintage radio announcement as intro, you’ll be sure to know you’re into a fun, lively, and educational show.
Don’t mistake the laid back demeanor of their show for a lack of value though. They have a ton of fun while on the show, but they also maintain the constant stream of valuable insights and information about the industry. Their guests range from illustrators, typographers, poster designers, and more, which allow us to get into the creative minds of leaders in the different disciplines in our industry.
What I like about Mark and Billy is that they really are more of an artist inside than designers. They do have their own successful studios now and provide stellar graphic design services, but they actually started out as poster designers and you can tell by listening to their show that they still are at heart. It’s funny when they poke fun at designing websites, how they claim to hate it, but then do a good job making a living out of it. On the show, they talk a lot about how a little street-smarts could propel you in this industry.
Sprinkled with some explicitness, their show is delivered in a lively, insight-filled, banter between two laid back dudes. If you feel you want to listen to something insightful but also want to have a laugh, check these guys out here.
The Graphic Designer Podcast is the brainchild of designers Dan Nisbet and Jessica Rosengard where they discuss industry topics ranging from working with clients, to keeping your freelance business in running order.
What’s interesting about their show is that they seem to debate over creative topics in most episodes. They’re not arguing on the show per se, it’s just that they are very knowledgeable and passionate about the day’s topic that they have strong opinions about it — particularly Jessica, who I now adore in the show by the way. At first I didn’t find it appealing to be honest, but after listening to it a bit more and hearing them tackle delicate topics such as firing a client, or charging for your work even it’s for a family or friend, I appreciated the honest, direct-to-the-point response because truly, it is what’s needed for the matter.
Dan on the other hand is the yin to Jessica’s yang. He speaks gently but firmly, and provides value to the show just as much as Jessica does. In fact, their differing insights on some topics are what gives the show not just flavor, but also well-explored insights and lessons that leave the listeners thinking for themselves.
Overall, this is another great podcast that’s filled with industry-insider stories and insights, delivered in a spunky but fun demeanor. You may subscribe to them here.
There you have it, we’ve got 4 informative graphic design podcasts with different personalities to fit your listening mood. We’ve got the fun and professional, the smart and profound, the laid back and relaxed, the stern and strongly-opinionated.
There other surely other graphic design podcasts out there, so please let us know in the comments which ones you’re listening to, and what you like so much about them.