Design Podcasts



Podcasts can be a useful source of inspiration and information. What have you come across?

Two that I’ve listened to include:

99% invisible—this has a good website too.

Design Matters—wide ranging topics; check out the archives for interviews with some very famous designers.


TED has an excellent section dedicated to Design with over 400 talks:

Within that they have a section on “Design Giants” which is 14 talks by household names like Philippe Starck and Milton Glaser:


Okay, so I spent last night listening to this podcast, an interview with James Dyson (inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, etc).

It’s a beautiful case study of design (and the potential for it to change the world).

  • The idea for the vacuum cleaner came to him whilst solving a different problem. He was painting wheelbarrows and got the idea from inefficiencies in the extraction fan
  • It then became an engineering problem, which he solved through thousands of prototypes in his backyard shed (whilst he had three young children I might add)
  • It then became a design problem to make it fit the needs of the user
  • It then become a marketing/communication problem about how to sell millions of the things

The podcast is quite a perfect fit for inspiring students in this subject:


Featuring this gem:

RAZ: And what were you doing in the shed? Like, was it, like, trial error, trial error? Was it…

DYSON: Exactly that. It was empirical - entirely empirical because this is before the days of computer simulation.

RAZ: Yeah, sure.

DYSON: I was building one prototype at a time, making one change at a time. So I knew what difference that one change made, and so I progressed. There were quite a number of problems to solve. Firstly, at that time, the state of the art was that cyclones were only good at separating dust down to about 20 microns, whereas I had to get it down to half of micron - cigarette smoke-type particles. So that was the first problem. And the second thing was that I found that hairs and fluff would go straight through the cyclone and not be collected. And I built 5,127 prototypes before I got it right.

What is meant by "commercial design" (Unit 2)

I should add, that same series “how I built this with Guy Raz”, also has great examples of digital design:

  • AirBnb has a great story that starts with selling novelty cereal boxes
  • Reddit is probably the most entertaining of the episodes. It just seems so improbable that it could have been designed in this way! Makes you think that anything is possible:


Used the Dyson video as the catalyst for assessment task. We deconstructed my own Dyson Vacuum (and then reconstructed), and two vacs from different companies, then evaluated design and construction. The other two were always non functional after deconstruction. Students really enjoyed the activities and it provided great insight.


There’s a new podcast called “wireframe” hosted by Adobe’s lead designer.

It’s actually really good. This episode is called “good design is human” and possibly applies to the human centred design part of the curriculum

The website for the podcast is here:


Hi All! Recently launched podcast ‘Inspiring Design… with Rashan Senanayake’ is designed specifically for Design Teachers to learn and develop! My team and I recently launched it and is available for FREE on Apple Podcasts and Spotify for you to download/stream.

Always open to your thoughts, so please don’t be shy! :slight_smile: If you have anyone you would like to hear from as well, please just shoot a message on the FB page with your ideas.

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