Debbie Millman


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The United States
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Debbie Millman is an American writer, educator, artist, and designer who is perhaps best known as the host of the Design Observer podcast 'Design Matters'. She is 'President of Design' at Sterling Brands, based in New York City, working with brands such as Pepsi, Gillette, Colgate, Kimberly-Clark, Nestlé, and Campbells. She chairs the 'Masters in Branding' program at the School of Visual Arts, is a contributing editor to Print, a blogger for Fast Company, and the 'President Emeritus' of AIGA.

Average rating: 3.96 · 3,133 ratings · 181 reviews · 17 distinct worksSimilar authors
How to Think Like a Great G...

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4.01 avg rating — 1,932 ratings — published 2007 — 3 editions
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Brand Thinking and Other No...

3.92 avg rating — 551 ratings — published 2011 — 12 editions
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Look Both Ways: Illustrated...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 214 ratings — published 2009 — 4 editions
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Self Portrait as Your Traitor

3.84 avg rating — 99 ratings — published 2013 — 3 editions
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Way More than Luck: Commenc...

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3.62 avg rating — 99 ratings — published 2015 — 3 editions
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Brand Bible: The Complete G...

3.93 avg rating — 73 ratings — published 2012 — 3 editions
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The Essential Principles Of...

3.62 avg rating — 63 ratings — published 2008 — 2 editions
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21 Grandes Designers & suas...

4.40 avg rating — 5 ratings — published 2011
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Why You?: How to Market You...

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2016
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Self Portrait as Your Traitor

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 1 rating
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“I will never be a brain surgeon, and I will never play the piano like Glenn Gould.

But what keeps me up late at night, and constantly gives me reason to fret, is this: I don’t know what I don’t know. There are universes of things out there — ideas, philosophies, songs, subtleties, facts, emotions — that exist but of which I am totally and thoroughly unaware. This makes me very uncomfortable. I find that the only way to find out the fuller extent of what I don’t know is for someone to tell me, teach me or show me, and then open my eyes to this bit of information, knowledge, or life experience that I, sadly, never before considered.

Afterward, I find something odd happens. I find what I have just learned is suddenly everywhere: on billboards or in the newspaper or SMACK: Right in front of me, and I can’t help but shake my head and speculate how and why I never saw or knew this particular thing before. And I begin to wonder if I could be any different, smarter, or more interesting had I discovered it when everyone else in the world found out about this particular obvious thing. I have been thinking a lot about these first discoveries and also those chance encounters: those elusive happenstances that often lead to defining moments in our lives.

[…]

I once read that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I fundamentally disagree with this idea. I think that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of hope. We might keep making mistakes but the struggle gives us a sense of empathy and connectivity that we would not experience otherwise. I believe this empathy improves our ability to see the unseen and better know the unknown.

Lives are shaped by chance encounters and by discovering things that we don’t know that we don’t know. The arc of a life is a circuitous one. … In the grand scheme of things, everything we do is an experiment, the outcome of which is unknown.

You never know when a typical life will be anything but, and you won’t know if you are rewriting history, or rewriting the future, until the writing is complete.

This, just this, I am comfortable not knowing.”
Debbie Millman, Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design
tags: life

“Real education is a radical process. It thumps you on the head until everything you know makes no sense anymore. Then you run around picking up the pieces of your head and picking them back together. The pieces never go back together in the same way.”
Debbie Millman

“The grand scheme of a life, maybe (just maybe), is not about knowing or not knowing, choosing or not choosing. Perhaps what is truly known can’t be described or articulated by creativity or logic, science or art — but perhaps it can be described by the most authentic and meaningful combination of the two: poetry: As Robert Frost wrote, a poem 'begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It is never a thought to begin with.'

I recommend the following course of action for those who are just beginning their careers or for those like me, who may be reconfiguring midway through: heed the words of Robert Frost. Start with a big, fat lump in your throat, start with a profound sense of wrong, a deep homesickness, or a crazy lovesickness, and run with it.”
Debbie Millman, Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design



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