Founder & Host
Design Matters Media

Named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of
the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie
Millman is also an author, educator, curator and host of the podcast Design Matters.
Debbie’s podcast, Design Matters is one of the first and longest running podcasts,
and as host and founder, Millman has interviewed nearly 500 of the most creative
people in the world over the past 17 years. Design Matters won a 2011 Cooper
Hewitt National Design Award, in 2015 Apple designated it one of the best overall
podcasts on iTunes, and in 2021 designated it one of their “All Time Favorite
Podcasts.” In addition, the show has been nominated for six Webby Awards, and has
been listed on over 100 “Best Podcasts” lists, including one of the best podcasts in
the world by Business Insider and Vanity Fair.

Debbie is the author of seven books, including two collections of interviews that
have extended the ethos and editorial vision of Design Matters to the printed
page: How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer and Brand Thinking and Other
Noble Pursuits. Both books have been published in over 10 languages. Her most
recent book, Why Design Matters: Conversations with the World’s Most Creative
People, will be published by Harper Collins in Fall 2021. She is also the co-owner
and Editorial Director of

Debbie co-founded the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of
Visual Arts in New York City in 2010. Now in its eleventh year, the program has
achieved international acclaim. The inaugural class wrote and designed the
Rockport book Brand Bible: The Complete Guide to Building, Designing and
Sustaining Brands, in 2013 the students created branding for the Museum of Modern
Art’s retail program, Destination: New York, the class of 2015 worked to reposition
a Kappa Middle School in Harlem, the class of 2016 rebranded Mariska Hargitay’s
Joyful Heart Foundation, the class of 2017 worked with Kholsa Ventures,
Performance Space New York and Chobani Incubators, and the class of 2018 worked
with Brian Koppelman to design a logo for the television show Billions. The class of
2021, along with selected alumni, created the most recent design of the Sundance
Institute Film Festival.

For 20 years, Debbie was the President of Sterling Brands, one of the world’s leading
branding consultancies. She arrived in 1995 when the company was two years old
and had 15 employees in one office. Under her leadership, Sterling grew to 150
employees in five offices and she was instrumental in the firm’s acquisition by
Omnicom in 2008. Omnicom is one of the world’s largest holding companies. While
there she worked on the logo and brand identity for Burger King, Hershey’s, Haagen
Dazs, Tropicana, Star Wars, Gillette, and the No More movement.
Debbie’s writing and illustrations have appeared in publications such as The New
York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine, Print Magazine, Baffler and
Fast Company. She is the author of two books of illustrated essays: Look Both Ways
and Self-Portrait As Your Traitor; the latter of which has been awarded a Gold
Mobius, a Print Typography Award, and a medal from the Art Directors Club. Her
artwork is included in the Boston Biennale, Chicago Design Museum, Anderson
University, School of Visual Arts, Long Island University, The Wolfsonion Museum
and the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art. She has been critic-in-residence at
Cranbrook University, Old Dominion University and Notre Dame University, and has
conducted visual storytelling workshops all over the world.

Debbie is also President Emeritus of AIGA, one of five women to hold the position in
the organization’s 100-year history and was awarded a lifetime achievement award
from AIGA in 2019. She is a frequent speaker on design and branding and has
spoken at TED Women (her talk was one of the Top Ten most popular talks of
2020), moderated Design Yatra in India, presented keynote lectures at Rotman
School of Management, Princeton University, Michigan Modern, the Hong Kong
Design Association, the Melbourne Writers Festival, Design Thinkers in Toronto, the
Festival of Art and Design in Barcelona, Webstock in New Zealand, QVED in Munich,
ING in Dubai, ND2C in Pakistan, PS One in China, Web Summit in Lisbon and many
more. She has been a juror for competitions including Cannes Lions, The Clio’s, the
One Club, the D&AD awards and many, many more.
Debbie is currently working with Law & Order SVU actor and activist Mariska
Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation to eradicate sexual assault, domestic violence,
child abuse and the rape-kit backlog.

Summits Attended: 2018 NY, 2021 Pride, 2022 SF, 2023 SF

Diverse representation is a priority for us. We're proud to say that our Summit speakers are 80% queer women, 50% women of color, 25% Black & Latinx, and 15% transgender and gender nonconforming.