This Way Up Podcast - Episode 14- Debbie Millman

  • This Way Up Podcast
  • Rebecca Rowntree

“We're all striving, looking to make something of ourselves. And when we do make something of ourselves, then we worry that we're going to lose it or that we're not going to be able to sustain it” – Debbie Millman Welcome to an extra special episode of the This Way Up podcast. ( It is special for a number of reasons - firstly because it was recorded Live on stage at the famous Design and Advertising festival ( in London in May 2019. Secondly, because I got the opportunity to interview the amazing Debbie Millman. ___________________________________________ Debbie Millman (@debbiemillman) is a true design icon - she has helped design some of the most recognisable logos on the planet including Burger King, Hershey’s, Haagen Dazs, Tropicana and Gillette to name just a few. She has been named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA. As the founder and host of Design Matters, one of the world’s first and longest running podcasts, Millman has interviewed nearly 600 artists, designers and cultural commentators over the past 14+ years including Tim Ferris, Roxane Gay, Paula Scher, David Lee Roth, Stefan Sagmeister, Massimo Vignelli , Milton Glaser to name a few. Debbie is also President Emeritus of AIGA, one of only five women to have held the position in the organization’s 100-year history. She also an educator and co-founded with Steven Heller the world’s first masters program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, which has received international acclaim. Finally, she’s currently working with Law & Order SVU actor and activist Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation to eradicate sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and the rape-kit backlog. ___________________________________________ Above all this what makes this talk so special is Debbie's openness to talk about the bumps in her career. From the outside, it looks like she has had a smooth ride has achieved all she has set out to do. The truth is far more interesting. She faced challenges at every step of the way and it is her ability to walk headlong into these and be prepared to put herself out there is the key to her success. There are a lot of fascinating stories in Debbie’s career and I was privileged to really dig into and draw out some really good lessons for all us to learn from. Stories such as how to recover from shame and rejection, ‘the slugfest’ as Debbie’s calls it, why she needed to start her podcast design matters to nourish her creative soul. We looked at how to handle bad bosses and the devastating impact it can have on your self-confidence, how desperation can sometimes be the best catalyst to push yourself over that difficult threshold and how to give ultimatums at work in order to get a promotion. I really hope you enjoy this chat as much as I did and find it as useful in your own journey.