Why is this interesting? - The Monday Media Diet with Debbie Millman

On Modern Love, the New Yorker caption contest, and open-source planetariums

Debbie Millman (DM) is a writer, designer, educator, artist, brand consultant, and host of the podcast Design Matters, which I had the good fortune of being interviewed for in 2014. This was in the bag for about two weeks (we’re finally building up a bit of a backlog!), so if it feels like she skipped over the election you know why. Excited to have Debbie joining us today. - Noah (NRB)

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Debbie Millman and I like to do a lot of things. I am the co-founder and Chair of the very-first-in-the-world Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts; I am a co-owner and Editorial Director of PrintMag.com, which, along with five of my friends, we bought out of bankruptcy last year; I am the host of a verrrrry long running podcast, called Design Matters, which recently joined the TED Audio Collective. I’ve written six books and have a new one—titled Why Design Matters—coming out next year from Harper Collins. I am a native New Yorker and am now four-months married to the badass genius Roxane Gay.

Describe your media diet. 

Most of what I’ve been reading since 2016 are political websites: Politico, DC Report, Axios, The Intercept, U.S. News and World Report, and many more. I also read newspapers including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, and other news-oriented sites such as The Atlantic, Slate, and CNN. All of these sites are bookmarked in my computer and I literally go from one to the next several times a day. I also read a few Mommy Blogs, though I am not—and never will be—a mommy. I read slew of design-related sites including Design Observer, The Dieline, Brand New, and Swiss-Miss. I also love Kottke.org, a new site by Anand Giridharadas called The Ink, and the long-running BrainPickings.org, by my dear friend Maria Popova. I also listen to my wife’s podcast Hear To Slay, Michael Bierut and Jessica Helfand’s podcast The Observatory, and The TED Radio Hour.

What’s the last great book you read?

The Apology by Eve Ensler

What are you reading now?

I just started reading Miranda July’s Monograph.

What’s your reading strategy when you pick up a print copy of your favorite publication?

I still get The New York Times delivered to my door on the weekend; the first thing I look at on Saturday is the Real Estate section, then the Book Review, then Arts & Leisure, then the magazine. On Sunday I look at the Style section first, but I’ve likely already read Modern Love online on Friday. I still get The New Yorker every week in the mail and the first thing I look for is who illustrated the cover, then I read at (and curse) the caption contest, then I look at all the cartoons, then skim the poetry. I also read Harper’s Bazaar every month; I’ve subscribed to Bazaar for decades now. I generally look at the back page first, as they usually feature something uber-dreamy and utterly unaffordable there.

Who should everyone be reading that they’re not?

The Office of Historical Corrections, by Danielle Evans

What is the best non-famous app you love on your phone? 

Stellarium, which is an open-source free-software planetarium and I adore it.

Plane or train?

Plane, if it is a trip of six hours or more; otherwise train.

What is one place everyone should visit? 

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

Tell us the story of a rabbit hole you fell deep into.

I read Hunger by Roxane Gay several years ago, and fell in love with her while reading it. After about a year of fantasizing about it, I slyly tried to get her attention by inviting her to be on my podcast. She said yes at first, then said no. After another six months of strategizing, I asked our mutual friend Ashley Ford to put in a good word for me. She did. Now we’re married. 

Thanks for reading,

Noah (NRB) & Colin (CJN) & Debbie (DM)

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