3 minute read

Over the past few months, the MilesHerndon team has been producing a design podcast called Obsessed With Design with Josh Miles. When I tell people this, one of the most common responses is “how can you talk about design over a podcast?” It’s a valid question. After all, design is one of the most visual disciplines there is. It can be really hard to imagine how a design podcast could take that discipline and cover it exhaustively in a non-visual medium.

Since launching the podcast, however, we have actually found the opposite. Our guests have been able to articulate their design process extremely well and our listeners have loved the content. That said, if you’re looking to start a design podcast of your own, there are definitely some things we’ve learned in the process that could help you on your journey. Here are three pieces of advice we have for anyone starting a design podcast.

Create a Design Podcast That Recognizes Great Design Work

The first and most important step of launching an effective design podcast is understanding and recognizing great design work. If you interview sub-par designers or don’t pay homage to the great designers who have inspired you in the past, you’re doing a disservice to your listeners. When vetting interviews, make sure you keep a keen eye towards their design prowess.

In the early days of our podcast, we were lucky enough to interview design legends like Paula Scher and Debbie Millman. While these interviews were incredible, they weren’t accidental. Before we launched the podcast, we spent a lot of time thinking about and reaching out to potential interviewees to find the best designers possible. This gives your design podcast credibility and viability.

Use Visual Tools to Aid Non-Visual Mediums

Another thing worth noting is the fact that there will definitely be things that get lost in the fray when you talk about design over a non-visual medium. That’s okay. Don’t be scared of it. Instead, look for visual tools that you can use to aid the conversation. This shouldn’t be the meat of your podcast, but rather treated as a supplement. Some things we’ve seen work include:

  • Sharing pictures of your guest’s work on Instagram or Twitter
  • Including links to your guest’s portfolio in show notes
  • Writing highly-visual blogs about your guest’s work
  • Sending out emails to your listeners with your guest’s work featured

The important thing to remember here is that your podcast is the content that matters. These visual assets are important insofar as they facilitate understanding of great design. If you make the visual tools more important than the discussion about the work, then your podcast’s content will suffer.

Understand What Listeners Want in a Design Podcast

Finally, don’t be afraid to talk to your listeners. Before we launched Obsessed With Design, we spent hours interviewing designers, industry professionals, and podcast junkies to better understand what they are looking for in a great design podcast. While visual tear-downs of work are nice, they’re omnipresent in the design community. You can’t get on Dribbble or Behance without seeing a visual tear-down of great design work. Instead, our listeners were more interested in things like the design process or how they could work remotely more effectively. That’s what we delivered. Instead of focusing on the “what” of great design, we wanted to focus on the “how” and “why” of great design, and that has really resonated with our listeners.