debbie millman

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why We Brand, Why We Buy PRINT Magazine Webinar Today!

Print Webinar!

I am doing a Live Webinar TODAY with Print Magazine at 4:00 p.m. EST!

It is titled Why We Buy, Why We Brand, and I hope you can join us.

More info can be found here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Design Matters nominated as BEST PODCAST in the 2009 Blogger's Choice Awards!

My site was nominated for Best Podcast!

Nominated for a Bloggers Choice Award for BEST PODCAST!!!!

I am very excited to announce that Design Matters was nominated as BEST PODCAST in the 2009 Blogger's Choice Awards! How exciting is that? According to the site, the Blogger's Choice Awards are the most popular user-generated blog voting site on the planet! So, if you have a moment to spare, and you are so inclined, would you consider voting for me, please? All the info is here.

THANK YOU!
: )

Monday, April 13, 2009

On The Dieline Today

From TheDieline.com

I am thrilled to have an article featured on The Dieline today! About the site: Established in 2007 by Andrew Gibbs, The Dieline is dedicated to the progress of the package design industry and its practitioners, students and enthusiasts. Its purpose is to define and promote the world’s best examples of packaging, and provide a place where the package design community can review, critique and stay informed of the latest industry trends and design projects being created in the field. The Dieline has quickly grown into the most visited website on package design in the world, and has become the voice of the industry.

You can read my article here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Smoke and Mirrors

I started smoking the summer I was 30 years old. I was newly divorced and madly in love with an Englishman addicted to Marlboro Reds. Together we’d sit in outdoor cafes, intertwining our legs and I’d steal the cigarette from his lips. I felt glamorous surrounded by dissipating swirls of smoke and comforted by the potential of this exotic new persona. It took me a while to truly get the hang of it, but by the time I figured out how to inhale without coughing, my British boyfriend was gone. All that autumn, I languished around my apartment, still smoking, if only to take solace in the now familiar smell. But all I did in those few months alone was trade one addiction for another.

The only person I ever hid my smoking habit from was my father. I was loath to disappoint him and I knew he would disapprove of my dependence. Whenever I visited him, I would buoy myself up with gum and candy and, over the course of a weekend stay, would slowly and agonizingly begin to withdraw. I wouldn’t light up again until I was safely out of his purview and my first puff was always a heady affair. It was as if my brain somehow came alive with each inhalation.

My Dad lives way up in the Catskills and after one Father’s Day Sunday several years ago, I decided to stay overnight as I had a business meeting on Monday midway between his house upstate and mine in Manhattan. This, of course, substantially increased my craving, and by the time I left, I was jittery, cranky and impatient. I couldn’t get my fix fast enough and ended up chain-smoking through the entire journey to see my client.

As I waited in the lobby for my colleagues to join me, I decided there was just enough time to have one more cigarette. As I made my way outside, my agitated, fired up brain played a trick on me. There were two sets of glass doors in the lobby, but only one set was opened. I thought the first set was opened facing out. But in reality, it was the second set of doors that were open, facing in. Because I didn’t realize that the first set was closed, I walked head first into the glass door, broke my nose and ended up in the hospital with twelve stitches. Both my face and my ego were bruised for weeks; and if that wasn’t sufficient, I felt sheepish and guilty about keeping the specifics of the accident a secret from my Dad.

I often think back to that day and wonder how my brain could make a mistake like that. Why do we see what we see? How do we see? Our lives center around the perception of what we see and process with our brains, and scientists have determined that our eyes receive and send over 10 million signals to our brains each second. But we can only consciously process about 40 of those signals per second! Our perceptions are actually made up of what we selectively choose to see. Harvard University professor John Stilgoe believes that people are so focused on a goal or zeroing in on what appears to be obvious that they miss what is right in front of them. Rather than not being able to see the forest for the trees, they are unable to see the trees for the forest. Stilgoe attributes this to the "constant blur of modern life."

We are now surrounded by a world of activity that can’t be seen. The patterns produced by the splash of a raindrop happen too fast for our eyes to catch. Is it possible we could direct our brains to see more? Thomas Lewis, author of A General Theory of Love, believes “The scientist and artist both speak to the turmoil that comes from having a…brain. A person cannot direct his emotional life in the way he bids his motor system to reach for a cup. He cannot will himself to want the right thing, or to love the right person, or to be happy after a disappointment, or even to be happy in happy times.”

I recently gave up smoking and in the end, it was not nearly as gruesome as I thought it would be, though I still have a hard time jumpstarting my brain in the morning. Last week, as I was trying to get over a cold, I decided to take a bath instead of a shower before heading off to work. As I luxuriated in the bubbly hot water, I wondered why I didn’t bathe like this more often. It wasn’t until my walk to work that I realized that I never actually washed myself! I just lay there happily, lazily relaxing! Later, I laughingly recanted this story to my father. He chuckled and blamed my ailment on all my hard living. I paused because I didn’t understand what he meant. You know, hard living, he insisted. All that smoking and drinking! My jaw dropped as my eyes popped and I demanded to know how he knew. I recalled the efforts I went to in order to conceal it from him and I was incredulous. And then he told me this: The human brain is a mysterious and wondrous thing. Just because you don’t see something in front of you doesn’t mean that you don’t know that it’s there.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Design Matters Today with Daniel H. Pink 04.10.09

Joining me today on the 97th broadcast of Design Matters with Debbie Millman is Daniel H. Pink.

Dan Pink is an entrepreneur, speaker and author of three grounding breaking books on the changing world of work. His latest, “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need,” is as entertaining as it is practical for anyone searching for career fulfillment. His previous books – “A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” and “Free Agent Nation: The Future of Working For Yourself,” have become a success manual for individuals seeking success and happiness in the 21st century. Dan’s frequent voice on business and technology and have been featured in the New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Wired, where he is a contributing editor. Dan last held a real job in the White House, as chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore from 1995-1997. He received a BA, with honors, from Northwestern University and received a JD from Yale Law School. To his lasting joy, he has never practiced law.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and it was voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award in 2007. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 100,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link:
http://www.sterlingbrands.com/design/design_matters.php

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link:
http://www.modavox.com/VoiceAmericaBusiness/

Or finally, you can listen to this show, or any of our previous shows, as a Podcast on iTunes, for free. To listen to the Podcasts, you can do either of the following:

Subscribe manually, by going to the iTunes advanced menu, then select
"Subscribe to Podcast," then enter the following:
http://www.sterlingbrands.com/DesignMatters/rss.xml as the feed.

Or simply do a search on the iTunes music store Podcast directory for “Design Matters.”

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.

Upcoming shows:
May 1: Allan Chochinov
May 8: Gary Hustwit
May 15: DeeDee Gordon (our 100th broadcast!)

As always, thank you for listening!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Smart Girl In A Bar

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Magic

In all of the years that I have been employed, one of my all-time favorites jobs was working as a cashier in a supermarket. Because I am an exceedingly noisy person, this occupation gave me free reign to survey and take measure all of the items people purchased and took into their homes. There was Bruce, the man who owned an office furniture company and who was married to a red headed artist named Cindy. There was Priya, who was always in love with bad boys who didn’t love her back. There was Matilda, who wore a different headdress every time I saw her, and told me she covered her head to keep away bad vibrations. There were the Coca-Cola people who I swear looked different from the Pepsi-Cola people; there were the lonely people buying single serve frozen dinners and magazines, the busy people buying single serve frozen dinners carrying dry-cleaning, the college students buying single serve frozen dinners and six-packs of beer, the underage folks who tried to buy cigarettes, and the folks like me, who worked there, and bought whatever they wanted for 30% off and $3.75 an hour.

I talked to nearly everyone who came to my register, which infuriated my boss. He couldn’t understand why I needed to know everyone’s name and where they worked and how many kids and pets and bathrooms they had. But I did. To me, seeing what they were buying in the supermarket was akin to seeing them in the most intimate, vulnerable manner and I wanted the experience to be less random, less anonymous. I needed to feel connected to them. Some of my customers appreciated my friendliness and answered whatever inane question I asked them. Given my penchant for chitchat, I wasn’t the fastest check out girl in the supermarket, which my boss took personally. “No talking,” he would scold me. “Talking takes time, and time is money!”

It confounded me that my boss didn’t want to know everything about the people shopping in his store. To me, being able to look into the shopping carts of my customers was the equivalent of looking into their souls. Being able to see their inner lives pass before me was an unprecedented opportunity to somehow peer into a sort of collective humanity. To me, this was like magic.

According to Thomas Hine, author of “I Want That! How We All Became Shoppers,” “Shopping is deeply human. It may not be the most important expression of human freedom, but it’s as close as most of us get in ordinary life. Shopping is the contemporary expression of our complex relationship to things. Objects are useful. They are repositories of magic. They carry meanings that are more powerful than words because they can embody the paradoxes of life.

For most of human existence, only a few people have had the power to possess large numbers of objects….to create images for themselves and their families that the world would recognize. For the billions who live in today’s world of abundant consumer goods, this is commonplace magic. But it is magic nevertheless, and few are willing to give up the power of choosing and owning desirable objects. It is the way in which contemporary people address perennial questions: What will we feed our families? How will they be clothed? What tools are needed to survive and prosper? How should we present ourselves to the world? How should we express our deepest beliefs?”

I agree with Hine when he states, “Making material choices is a privilege, a responsibility, and an essential activity of modern life. Shopping is about fantasy and necessity, generosity and greed, thrift and indulgence, identity and possibility. It is also about freedom and responsibility.”

But if we can understand how we arrive at the choices we make about what to buy and what not to buy, is it also possible to get beyond these assumptions? Can a can of soda ever be just about a can of soda? This year I am worrying about money more than I have in decades, and sometimes, when I am visiting the supermarket, it seems that many of my choices are as much about what I am NOT going to buy as much as what I am. As we navigate through these turbulent times, perhaps we can learn to become less dependent on what our choices say about us and care more about what we actually say.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Design Matters Today with Dan Formosa 04.03.09

Joining me today on Design Matters with Debbie Millman is Dan Formosa.

Daniel Formosa, Ph.D. is a consultant in product design and research. Dan’s education includes design, ergonomics and biomechanics. He has received numerous design awards and his work has been selected for national and international exhibits. Dan was a member of the design team that developed IBM’s first personal computer, OXO Good Grips kitchen tools and XM Satellite Radio. His work has been included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Dan recently worked with Ford to develop SmartGauge, an instrument cluster for Ford’s 2010 hybrid cars designed to influence driving behavior and save fuel – an innovation for the auto industry. Dan is a founding member of Smart Design in New York City. In addition to his design work he lectures worldwide on the physical, social and emotional aspects of design and innovation. Dan also recently co-authored and illustrated the book Baseball Field Guide, employing principles of information designed to explain the intricate, vague and confusing rules of Major League Baseball.

Design Matters airs live weekly on the Voice America Business Network, now the industry leader in Internet talk radio. The show was voted a "favorite podcast" on PSFK's Marketing Podcast survey and it was voted 9th out of over 300 entries for the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum’s People’s Choice Award in 2007. The show is also available as Podcasts on iTunes, where over 100,000 people download the show every month.

Design Matters is from 3-4PM EST and you can view the VoiceAmerica Business site and listen to the show from a myriad of locations:

You can go here, through the Sterling link:
http://www.sterlingbrands.com/design/design_matters.php

Or you can go here, through the Voice America link:
http://www.modavox.com/VoiceAmericaBusiness/

Or finally, you can listen to this show, or any of our previous shows, as a Podcast on iTunes, for free. To listen to the Podcasts, you can do either of the following:

Subscribe manually, by going to the iTunes advanced menu, then select
"Subscribe to Podcast," then enter the following:
http://www.sterlingbrands.com/DesignMatters/rss.xml as the feed.

Or simply do a search on the iTunes music store Podcast directory for “Design Matters.”

Everyone is welcome to call in live and toll free--the number is 1.866.472.5790.

Upcoming shows:
April 10: Dan Pink
May 1: Allan Chochinov
May 8: Gary Hustwit
May 15: DeeDee Gordon (our 100th broadcast!)

As always, thank you for listening!
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Debbie Millman has worked in the design business for over 25 years. She is President of the design division at Sterling Brands. She has been there for nearly 15 years and in that time she has worked on the redesign of global brands for Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Nestle and Hasbro. Prior to Sterling, she was a Senior Vice President at Interbrand and a Marketing Director at Frankfurt Balkind. Debbie is President of the AIGA, the largest professional association for design. She is a contributing editor at Print Magazine, a design writer at FastCompany.com and Brand New and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. In 2005, she began hosting the first weekly radio talk show about design on the Internet. The show is titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman” and it is now featured on DesignObserver.com. In addition to “Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design,” (HOW Books, 2009, she is the author of "How To Think Like A Great Graphic Designer" (Allworth Press, 2007) and “The Essential Principles of Graphic Design” (Rotovision, 2008).

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