Debbie Millman

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Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman.jpg
Debbie Millman (image: Chase Jarvis)
Nationality American
Alma mater University at Albany, SUNY[1]
Known for hosting the podcast Design Matters

Debbie Millman is an American writer, educator, artist, and designer who is best known as the host of the podcast Design Matters.[2]


Sterling Brands[edit]

From 1995 to 2016 Millman was the President[3] of the Design Division, and Chief Marketing Officer at Sterling Brands based[4] in New York City, where she worked with many of the world’s largest brands, such as Pepsi, Gillette, Colgate, Kimberly-Clark, Nestlé, and Campbells [5] [6] including the redesign of Burger King, merchandising for Star Wars and the positioning and branding of the No More movement.[7]

HOT 97[edit]

From 1993-2005 Millman was the off-staff creative director of HOT 97 in New York City, where she worked with Emmis Broadcasting General Manager Judy Ellis and Promotion Director Rocco Macri to transform the dance music radio station into the world’s first hip-hop radio station. Millman created the HOT 97 logo in 1994 and then redesigned it again in 1999, which is still the logo today.[8][9]

Design Matters[edit]

In 2005, Millman founded Design Matters, a design podcast[10] that now has over 300 interviews with design leaders, educators, authors and thinkers including Massimo Vignelli, Steven Heller, Marian Bantjes, Tina Roth Eisenberg, and Stefan Sagmeister, Milton Glaser, Malcolm Gladwell, Dan Pink, Barbara Kruger, Seth Godin and more. By mid 2017, 12 years since its inception the show has passed the five million downloads per year mark.[11] The podcast received a number of awards such as the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award[12] and in 2015 iTunes named it one of the best podcasts of the year.[13]

School of Visual Arts[edit]

In 2009 Millman and Steven Heller founded the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts[14] in New York City.[15] The school's inaugural class wrote and designed the Rockport book Brand Bible: The Complete Guide to Building, Designing and Sustaining Brands, and in 2013 the students designed and created branding for the Museum of Modern Art’s retail program, Destination: New York. In 2015 their project was to reposition the Kappa Middle School in Harlem and in 2016 they rebranded Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation and the class of 2017 redesigned the identity of the Performance Space 122 in New York City.[16]


Millman is the President Emeritus of AIGA,[17] one of five women to hold the position in the organization’s 100-year history and a past board member and treasurer of the New York Chapter. Millman is a regular keynote speaker at a variety of global educational institutions, covering topics on design and branding. In the past she has presented keynote lectures at Rotman School of Management,[18] Princeton University, Michigan Modern, the Hong Kong Design Association, the Melbourne Writers Festival, the National Museum of Serbia, Design Thinkers in Toronto, the Festival of Art and Design in Barcelona, Webstock in New Zealand, QVED in Munich, the ING Conference in Dubai, TypoBerlin, the By Design Conference in Slovakia and more.[19][20]


Millman’s artwork has been exhibited at the Boston Biennale, Chicago Design Museum, Anderson University (South Carolina), School of Visual Arts, Long Island University, The Wolfsonion Museum and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art. In the past she was an artist-in-residence at Cranbrook University, Old Dominion University and Notre Dame University, and has also conducted visual storytelling workshops at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, the University of Utah, Anderson University (South Carolina), Albuquerque Academy, the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan and the Type Directors Club in New York City.[21]


Millman is a regular contributor to a number of print media outlets, such as The New York Times,[22] New York Magazine, Print Magazine, Design Observer and Fast Company. She is currently the Editorial & Creative Director of Print.[23][24] In the past Millman has designed campaign buttons for Hillary Clinton,[25] wrapping paper and beach towels for One Kings Lane, greeting cards for Mohawk Paper and MOO Paper, as well as playing cards for DeckStarter and various others.[26][27]


Millman has written six books,[28] including How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer (2007) and Essential Principles of Graphic Design (2008).[29][30]

Year Title Publisher ISBN
2007 How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer Allworth Press ISBN 1581157991
2008 Essential Principles of Graphic Design Rotovision Hove ISBN 1600610471
2009 Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design HOW Books ISBN 1600613217
2011 Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits Allworth Press ISBN 1581158645
2012 Self-Portrait As Your Traitor HOW Books ISBN 1440334617
2012 Brand Bible: The Complete Guide to Building, Designing, and Sustaining Brands Rockport Publishers ISBN 159253726X

Further reading[edit]

  • Gerda Breuer, Julia Meer (ed): Women in Graphic Design, p. 515/516, 562/563, Jovis, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86859-153-8
  • Gomez-Palacio, Bryony, and Armin Vit. Women of design: influence and inspiration from the original trailblazers to the new groundbreakers., p. 175-177, How Books, 2008, ISBN 978-1600610851

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Debbie Millman, B.A.’83". State University of New York at Albany. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  2. ^ "Debbie Millman". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  3. ^ "Interview: Debbie Millman, Sterling Brands". New Fangled. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  4. ^ "Debbie Millman on Branding Design Matters and Personal Work". Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  5. ^ "Debbie Millman Writer, Brand Consultant & Host of Design Matters". The Legacy Project. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  6. ^ "Debbie Millman". Designers and Books. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  7. ^ "Introducing Guest Bollger Debbie Millman: Design Matters". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  8. ^ "Millman". Crains New York. 2003-04-14. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  9. ^ "Design Observer Party: Denver, October 12". Design Observer. 2007-11-10. Retrieved 2017-09-11. 
  10. ^ "Design Matters with Debbie Millman". Design Observer. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  11. ^ "Debbie Millman". Clarity. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  12. ^ "Design Matters: Live with Debbie Millman featuring Abbott Miller". DC Design Week. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  13. ^ Millman, Debbie. "About the Show on". Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  14. ^ "Masters in Brand". School of Visual Arts. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  15. ^ "How Steven Heller Redefined the Design Industry". Magenta. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  16. ^ "School of Visual Arts - MPS in Branding | Debbie Millman". Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  17. ^ "For the past twenty years, Debbie has been President of Sterling Brands and, in 2014, was named President, Chief Marketing Officer of the firm.". Sappi. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  18. ^ "Events and Speaker Series". Rotman. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  19. ^ "Debbie Millman: On Rejection". Kansas City Design Week. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  20. ^ "BIO". Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  21. ^ "Visual Storytelling: A Collaborative, Interactive Workshop with Debbie Millman". The Type Directors Club. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  22. ^ "Sally Ride". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  23. ^ "DEBBIE MILLMAN: IF NOT NOW, WHEN?". Chase Jarvis. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  24. ^ "Debbie Millman". Fast Company. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  25. ^ "45 TOP DESIGNERS CREATED THE BEST BUTTONS FOR HILLARY CLINTON". Visual News. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  26. ^ "Designer Holiday Cards From Moo". How Design. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  27. ^ "Design Conversations: Debbie Millman". AIGA Philadelphia. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  28. ^ "Debbie Millman". Designers and Books. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  29. ^ "Ms. Debbie Millman". AIGA. Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  30. ^ "Books by Debbie Millman". Good Reads. Retrieved 2017-04-04.