Cannes Lions

Why Design Matters

SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS, New York / HARPER COLLINS / 2022

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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

The first “Design Matters” podcast was released in 2005. Since then, Debbie Millman has recorded nearly 500 episodes continuously over the last 17 years, making it one of the longest-running podcasts in the world, the first about design, and the first by a woman. The podcast’s central theme — How do you create a life with purpose and meaning? —is found on every page of the book WHY DESIGN MATTERS: Conversations with the world's most creative people.

The book features 55 of Millman’s best interviews from a diversity of disciplines, memorable quotes from dozens of “Design Matters” guests, and four-color photographs throughout. Grouped into five categories— Legends, Truth Tellers, Culture Makers, Trendsetters, and Visionaries— the book reflects Debbie Millman’s ability to gather and celebrate curiosity, self-expression, intelligence, and both inner and outer beauty.

From the introduction, Millman writes: “Here we are, a decade and a half into a grand experiment.

Idea

The book is targeted to Millman's many listeners around the world, and features text from conversations with the world’s most gifted creative minds, leaders, and intellectuals, including Marina Abramovic, Cey Adams, Elizabeth Alexander, Lynda Barry, Allison Bechdel, Michael Bierut, Brené Brown, David Byrne, Alain de Botton, Eve Ensler, Shepard Fairey, Tim Ferriss, Louise Fili, Kenny Fries, Anand Girhidardas, Cindy Gallop, Malcolm Gladwell, Milton Glaser, Ira Glass, Seth Godin, Thelma Golden, Gabrielle Hamilton, Steven Heller, Jessica Hische, Michael R. Jackson, Oliver Jeffers, Saeed Jones, Thomas Kail, Maira Kalman, Chip Kidd, Anne Lamott, Elle Luna, Carmen Maria Machado, Thomas Page McBee, Erin McKeown, Chanel Miller, Mike Mills, Marilyn Minter, Isaac Mizrahi, Nico Muhly, Eileen Myles, Emily Oberman, Amanda Palmer, Priya Parker, Esther Perel, Maria Popova, Edel Rodriguez, Paula Scher, Amy Sherald, Simon Sinek, Pete Souza, Aminatou Sow, Brandon Stanton, Cheryl Strayed, Amber Tamblyn, Christina Tosi, Tea Uglow, Chris Ware and Albert Watson.

Execution

This is a salon in book form. “Design Matters” is in some ways the “60 Minutes” of podcasts. Its longevity and quality is one aspect, but it is also for host Debbie Millman’s pursuit of the truth—her subject’s personal truth. Millman is gifted in humanizing her subjects in unexpected ways and eliciting uncommon and revealing responses and this book is a testament to her pioneering work in podcasting and a monograph of the show in book form.

10” x 10” trim, four-color throughout, 368 pages

Paper: 157gsm matte-coated, printing 4/4

Endpapers: 140gsm, uncoated stock, printing 1/1

Case: Matte-laminated, printing 4/c, no varnish; sewn signatures; reinforced binding; squarebacked; with head and tail bands

Jacket: 157gsm, matte laminated, printing 4/0, 4-inch-wide flaps. Spot varnish on front and spine.

Design: Alex Kalman, What If? Studio

Photography: Featuring some of the world's best and most well-known photographers.

Outcome

The book made it to #1 on Amazon in three categories, and pre-orders were so vigorous, Harper Collins went into the second printing before the book was even published. The podcast is now the #2 design podcast in the world.

The book got rave reviews from The LA Times, Vanity Fair, W Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, Fast Company, Inc., and more, and celebrities including Brene Brown, Adam Grant, Glennon Doyle and Mariska Hargitay. Debbie was featured on Kara Swisher's NYT podcast Sway. It also received thousands of reviews, accolades, and posts on social media from readers and fans.

Publisher's Week stated: "Debbie Millman brings her Design Matters podcast, ‘about how the most creative people in the world create their lives,’ to the page with this excellent interview anthology. Sharpened by Millman’s penetrating commentary, the candid musings teem with insight and empathy. This sparkling collection is one to be savored slowly."

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