7 design related podcasts for creatives and freelancers

Podcasts are an incredible resource for a designer – from looking for inspiration from industry leaders to staying updated on the latest design trends. Design-related podcasts can be a rewarding experience not just for professionals, but for anyone looking to hone their creative skills.

Here are some of our favourite design-related podcasts. This list is by no means exhaustive so if we missed your choice just add it in the comments below!

1. Design Matters
design matters

Debbie Millman has been interviewing designers for over a decade now. Design Matters delves into “creative culture”, welcoming people from all creative walks. Each episode features a guest interviewed by Millman. Like Mauro Porcini, Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo, who talked about his childhood and how it influences his creativity. Another guest, graphic artist Shepard Fairey (founder of OBEY clothing and creator of the Obama “Hope” poster), took the call from his hospital bed, delivering an endearing episode on patriarchy and how it impacted his art. There is an overarching theme of ‘human goodness’ that prevails in the podcast.

The show has come a long way from the technically tottering earlier episodes to crisp, clear audio and solid production in recent years. Millman asks insightful questions as well as gives the guests the space to put their views forward. Design Matters boasts of over 300 episodes, so it’s perfect for a binge-listen. Listen

2. 99% Invisible

99% Invisible is a podcast that explores the world of design, architecture and all things tiny. It’s a crisp, engaging show featuring a particular design concept, element or person each episode. The show was born out of Roman Mars’desire (creator and host of the podcast) to come up with something different. The podcast has a unique production value and an unmistakable design sensibility in itself.

What is also striking about this podcast is its dedication to giving a voice to the unheard. The podcast is rooted in Mars’ belief that design is created by everyone, and that designers shouldn’t just tell, but ask others about their stories.

Roman Mars’ warm voice lends a magical vibe to 99% Invisible. The podcast is less “look at my research” and more “let’s explore it together.” One of the most interesting episodes is #114 that explores the problem of communicating to generations thousands of years in the future the fact that a place is radioactive. Mars also explores different materials and their uses. #361 is about the use of sand in construction and presents a new outlook to the substance.

An enchanting, thought-inducing listen. Listen

3. UI Breakfast

This podcast deals with User Interface, User Experience and product design strategies. It is hosted by UI/UX consultant Jane Portman, who interviews industry leaders from the design world and allied fields. In each episode, Portman talks to guests about specific tools and resources for the UI/UX designer.

One of the recent episodes featured Nir Eyal, author of the bestseller Hooked. He talks about how good design is meant to bring users back without making them addicted to a product.

Portman is a superb host and knows how to ask the right questions, and maintains a spirit of curiosity all through. This podcast is for you if you are looking for design insight, as well as practical bytes on how good design can help your lives become better. Listen

4. Well Made

Well Made is presented by the packaging company Lumi. This podcast is a refreshing, insightful take on facets of design like packaging, branding, typography and the design business. It talks about pixels coming to life and how you can maintain a thriving business as a designer. Lumi co-founder Stephan Ango hosts the podcast, and he is a knowledgeable, curious soul. He interviews famous branding and typography designers with probing questions.

There are a host of really appealing episodes that the podcast has in store. The very first episode features Jeff Veen, who talks about converting software pirates into paying customers. A must-listen if you want to know how branding becomes a company’s face, and how you fit into the picture. Listen

5. Being Freelance

The life of a freelancer means being your own boss, but in the humdrum, it’s easy to forget the all-important part of constantly learning. This podcast hosted by Steve Folland bridges that gap by documenting the lives of freelancers, including his own. The podcast features guests who are involved in creative freelancing – writing, graphic design, illustration, photography, web development, content strategy and the like. One of our favourite episodes is with designer Ran Segall of Flux, who talks about the joys and perils of vlogging his design journey.

The episodes are chock-full of advice and hacks that can be useful to all freelancers. Being Freelance has been around since 2015, so there is no dearth of episodes for binging. Listen

6. Creative Pep Talk

Andy J. Pizza (!) hosts this podcast that talks about life as a creative – not just his own, but of other artists whom he interviews. He takes up a mindful, caring approach to bring out the struggles and strategies adopted by the guests – both art and marketing facets. It is a bright, bubbly affair right from the beginning when Andy exclaims “Pizzaaaaa!”.

Pizza, who has worked as an illustrator with companies like Nickelodeon, accompanies each instalment with lovely illustrations.

The show debunks certain myths that surround the creative life, the most blatant one being ‘good art sells itself’. All in all, definitely one for your list if you have been facing creative blocks, and need practical advice with a dose of positive vibes. Quick FYI, episodes 1-100 are not available on podcast apps. Listen

7. Clever

Amy Devers and Jaime Derringer of Design Milk host Clever, a podcast that talks about the designers and designs that shape our world. Their attempt to chronicle the creatives’ lives has struck a chord with listeners.

This podcast began in 2016 with multidisciplinary designer Joe Doucet as the first guest. He spoke about his creative career, motivations and pet peeves – and he spoke about his life beyond design pitches and drafts. There are many educational institutes which have included this episode as a very useful resource.

Both Devers and Derringer are superb hosts who easily manage to persuade the guests to let their guards down. This is a podcast for you if you are looking for something that shines the spotlight on creators behind life-changing creations. Listen

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