The long commute may have been cut short for many of us, but the time Americans spend listening to podcasts is at an all-time high. So is the number of podcasts. With over 2 million to choose from, this is no easy task for those, like me, who want to know everything there is to know, especially when it comes to design. So, here’s a curated list of nine podcasts to get the creative juices flowing. May it help you become better, more creative, and more inspired—whether you’re a designer, or just want to think like one.
Circular with Katie Treggiden
British design writer Katie Treggiden has been championing circular design for years. This is her podcast, in which she explores the intersection of craft, design, and sustainability through interviews with thinkers, doers, and makers of the circular economy. Expect to learn about the culture of mending, modern furniture restoration, and even dying clothes using food waste.
This one is for the UX design geeks out there. Every other week, two designers—Chris Liu and Jonathan Shariat—discuss one design principle and connect it to their own experience in the field. From devious dark patterns to the Ikea effect to designing for peace of mind, the scope will surprise you, even if you’re not a UX designer.
Scratching the Surface
Design meets theory meets practice. Hosted by Jarrett Fuller, a designer, writer and educator, whose MFA thesis led to the creation of this podcast, each episode features wide-ranging conversations about the role of design in shaping culture. Expect insightful interviews with a who’s who of design voices, including New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, MoMA design curator Paola Antonelli, and Dori Tunstall, a design anthropologist and the dean of design at Ontario College of Art and Design University.
Design Matters is one of the first and longest-running podcasts dedicated to design. For 15 years, Debbie Millman’s interviewing style has brought out the best in her guests, from Milton Glaser—the master designer of the I ♥ NY logo—to pastry chef and Milk Bar founder Christina Tosi. The takeaway? Design Matters . . . matters.
Design Lab with Bon Ku
The pandemic has brought to our attention just how interlinked design and health are. This is where this podcast fits in. Launched in September 2020 by physician and host Bon Ku, Design Lab has grown into a popular show about how design can help us live better, with topics that range from designing for equity to designing childbirth.
Material Matters with Grant Gibson
Many designers, makers, and artists have a special relationship with a particular material. This is a podcast about that bond, and about how certain craft skills or materials can shape an entire career. Hosted by design writer and critic Grant Gibson, the show features in-depth interviews with a variety of creatives, such as architect Sarah Wigglesworth on building with straw, and designer Tom Dixon on welding.
Design Thinking 101
What is design thinking and how can you apply it to your goals and challenges? The host is Dawan Stanford, who teaches design thinking at Elon University. Every episode explores different ways to learn from challenges—like designing for trauma and vulnerable populations—and overcome them by applying design thinking and related innovation approaches. Tune in, and you’ll hear an array of stories, lessons, ideas, and resources from guests in fields as varied as business, education, government, and healthcare.
The Design of Business
This podcast from Design Observer runs the gamut. Each show brings in people from a range of industries, from music and retail to technology. There’s the global executive creative director at Coursera. The lead costume designer for the Netflix series Bridgerton. And the president of the Rhode Island School of Design. All of them are creative professionals, yet each of them uses creativity in different ways.
Bad design stands out like a sore thumb; good design goes unnoticed. That’s the premise of this podcast, hosted by Roman Mars. From the surprising history of curb cuts to the dangers of a one-size-fits-all culture, the show explores the way design pervades every aspect of modern life, and the takeaways will stay with you for months, if not years.