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Introducing Guest Blogger Debbie Millman: Design Matters

As host of the smash-hit Internet radio show Design Matters with Debbie Millman, Debbie Millman has introduced over one hundred of the world's greatest designers, illustrators, authors and thinkers as her guests. So let me be the first to tell you how daunting it is to introduce Debbie herself. But taking a few cues from the golden-throated designer, illustrator, author and thinker herself, I'm going to try my best.

debbie-millmanDebbie Millman is president of Sterling Brands, a New York-based branding agency where, for the last 15 years, she's worked on redesigning megabrands by Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Hershey and Hasbro, including the classic Tropicana packaging that was so beloved by consumers that the company scrapped a redesign earlier this year and reverted to Sterling's iconic straw-in-the-orange (New Yorkers can hear her talk about that tonight at AIGA NY's My Dog and Pony II). She has written two books, How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer and Essential Principles of Graphic Design. And this year, Debbie was named founding chair of a new program at the School of Visual Arts that will offer a masters in branding.

Debbie is also the newest president of the AIGA, the professional association for designers, which will be holding its biennial conference in Memphis this October. She gave a rousing speech at the organization's recent gala about why exactly we should be celebrating design and designers, even in times like these. One reason: "No matter how bleak the situation into which we have been thrown by the global economy—it does offer opportunities. Designers need only invent them. By understanding our living and working context—we blow open avenues of opportunity and innovation not yet charted or explored."

lookbothwaysIf you wonder exactly how a designer could spout such effortless prose, you should know that Debbie is just as well-known for the introspective essays which open her show, where she's taken listeners on anecdotal journeys addressing everything from the simple poetry of physics to the cultural implications of smoking. These stories inspired her newest book, Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design, as well as the posts she'll be doing for us this week. "My posts are all going to be things that you can look at in different ways—visually and literally," Debbie says. Just looking at her first post in the series, you'll see she has already changed the way we see our standard blog format here at Fast Company. But first, enjoy some of Debbie's work at Sterling Brands:

Tropicana "classic"


Celestial Seasonings tea


iO logo


Axe hair products


Burger King branding


Read Debbie Millman's Look Both Ways blog