About This Project

Debbie Millman is the host of ‘Design Matters’, one of the first podcasts in the world (she’s interviewed basically everyone). She has written six books, her illustrations have appeared in publications like the New York Times and Fast Company. And with Steve Heller she founded world’s first graduate program in branding.


Debbie has delivered keynote speeches around the world and has worked on the redesign of over 200 global brands like Colgate, Nestle and Pepsi.


We are so grateful to Debbie for agreeing to come on the show, she is a wonderful person and we think you will love this episode.



“If we go all the way, all the way back to the beginning of branding; branding to me is manufacturing meaning. So we create meaning through marks, through constructs. What’s interesting about that phenomenon is that //we manufacture this meaning and then we all agree that that meaning, means something. It’s very meta, and it’s very human. We’re the only species on the planet that can do this. So we’ll create something that we signify means something and then we’ll expect that everybody will agree with what that meaning is. And so the very first examples of that; are religious symbols”


“I would say in the last, no more than five years, because of the way we can connect through technology, humans now are taking back the branded construct from the corporation and we’re creating movements. And that is very exciting to me because all of these original brands were movements that then became codified. So now we’re living in a day and age where we have ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Me Too’ and ‘Times Up’ and the ‘Pink Pussy Hat’ which is one of the greatest brands that have ever been created, because that brand went from zero to millions and millions and millions of people being aware of it and buying and wearing it, in just a matter of months. If you look back at our history it took 35 years for 150 million people to own a black and white television set. It took 7 years for 150 million people to own a cell phone and it took about 3 months for 150 million people to wear a pink pussy hat.”


“Part of what I feel is the foundation of the way that I teach is to encourage people to defend their ideas and in the process of defending their ideas to build confidence through their ideas. I define confidence as the successful repetition of any endeavour and so if you are successfully able to defend an idea you can then build confidence through that defence.


“The ability to put yourself in a position where taking that first step has no predictable outcome and then you have to make it what you can and you will build the confidence if you do it over and over and over again to get better and better and better at it. Most people stop…// it’s very hard for me now to start new things, because I’m not very good at anything that I haven’t done before. And I don’t like to be in a position where I’m not comfortable. But that’s the only way to learn new things, you have to push yourself to do that.”


“Busy is a decision. And a lot of people aren’t doing the things that they think they want to do because they think they’re too busy. I always counter that with; being busy isn’t something that is put upon you, you decide what you want to do. Now it could be having children, it could be committing to a relationship, it could be watching Game of Thrones, it could be anything. But if you think you’re too busy to do something my counter to that is then it’s not as much as a priority to the things you are doing”