Instead of a summer reading list, we’re bringing you a summer podcast list of shows that will inspire, educate and entertain you, whether you’re on vacation at the beach or driving to a client meeting.
Some of these podcasts are focused specifically on design and the business of design; others are farther afield, tackling related topics like creativity, success, productivity and happiness. (Because what’s the point of success and productivity if we’re not happy doing what we do?)
You can find most of these, as podcasters themselves like to say, “wherever you get your podcasts.” We’ve included links to their websites, where you can listen to the shows, too.
Former Elle Decor editor, design-insider and Chairish teammate Michael Boodro launched The Chairish Podcast in 2020 to cover all aspects of the interior design business. He and his guests chat about everything from business practicalities like client communication to broader design trends. Recent episodes included a panel of three top designers talking about how they avoid burnout and put creativity first, designer New York designer Alex Papachristidis discussing how he creates interiors that are traditional but never old-fashioned, and a trio of party planners dishing on timeless and trendy ideas for summer entertaining. New episodes drop twice a month.
Cheryl Durst, CEO of the Chicago-based International Interior Design Association, launched her podcast a year ago, with a focus on those intangible personal and professional skills that make people successful — not the stuff you might put on a resume but foundational abilities that define a person. Recent guests on the monthly podcast have included Llisa Demetrios, granddaughter of iconic designers Ray and Charles Eames, talking about the importance of quality work and maintaining legacies; and Rebecca Walker, a writer, producer and self-proclaimed catalyst, discussing her love of art, craft and memorializing a life well-lived.
99% Invisible, hosted by the podcast’s founder Roman Mars, grew from a project of KAWL public radio and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco into one of the most popular podcasts in the country. As its name indicates, Mars and his team produce narrative episodes about the thought that goes into the design and architecture that shape our world, without most people ever noticing. New episodes drop weekly and include companion articles on the website. There’s a book, too: “The 99% Invisible City.” Recent shows delved into how parking lots have defined America’s cities, big and small; and how courtroom sketches evolved as a journalistic art form — and why they are still needed.
Anna Dearmon Kornick, host of the It’s About Time podcast, likes to say that “busy is not a badge of honor.” Her podcast focuses on how to better manage your time and energy — at work and at home — to increase your accomplishments and reduce your stress level. Weekly episodes include time management tips and productivity strategies, as well as real-life advice from the host’s own struggles and successes. On recent episodes, she’s discussed finding time to tackle big projects, the difference between task batching and time blocking (and how they work together), and the secret to sticking to your priorities.
Designer Angela Belt wants the design world to a be better, more inclusive place. Through The Moodboard Podcast, she hosts conversations with designers, artists and others about the intersection of race, culture and interior design. After a break in the second half of 2022, she’s back with new weekly episodes. On recent shows, she’s talked with Danielle Woodhouse-Johnson of The Oasis Alliance about the connection between mental health and the home, and with photographer and director David Land about how social media and smartphones have changed the photography landscape.
Designer, author, educator and brand strategist Debbie Millman launched her Design Matters podcast in 2005, making it, she says, the longest-running design podcast. In weekly episodes, she interviews designers across a variety of fields, but over the years her guest list has evolved to include a wide-ranging list of celebrities and standouts, from artists and architects to authors and musicians to scientists and inventors. The podcast’s website has a handy sorting feature that allows you to dive into the archive and search hundreds of episodes by year, a guest’s discipline or a guest’s last name.
And finally, we recommend The Happiness Lab with Yale University professor Laurie Santos. The podcast is based on a psychology course she teaches there — the most popular in the university’s 300-year-history — and focuses on research-based ways to be happier at home and at work. (That’s both easier and harder than you might think.) Santos has an engaging way of weaving science and stories together. The show is produced in a few seasons throughout the year, with new episodes dropping weekly during each season. Recent episodes included a discussion about why people aren’t kind to their future selves, how to awaken your senses, and a fascinating series on happiness lessons from ancient philosophers that hold up today.