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Design Podcasts – A Letter Of Fondness

/ Thoughts & Opinion

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We’re a good while away from Valentines day yet, but I’d like to write a letter of fondness. To those who spend time podcasting.

Since the middle of last year I’ve become aware of an increasing number of design and creative podcasts, and after the festive season’s “Christmas Crossover” seemingly orchestrated, or at least suggested by Andrew Clarke I feel I’ve discovered a few more podcasts to enjoy.

After running my own music podcast for 10 years, I can appreciate the time and effort that goes in to recording and editing these things, as well as updating sites, pinging directories, and generally keeping up with all sorts of gubbins.

The podcast is a format I’ve come to really appreciate in the past few months, and there are a few reasons why.

Getting To Know You

Despite never having met or spoken to the hosts in person, I feel that after having a 30-60 minute insight in to their discussions and thoughts on design and other things, that I’ve gotten to know them a little better. As that builds up over a period of months, I now feel that were I to meet any of the podcast hosts, I’d probably have much more to talk to them about, than if I hadn’t been listening. As someone who doesn’t cope well with large social situations, I feel this stands me in better stead, were I to venture out to any conferences this year.

Light Hearted

Whether discussing serious issues, or frivolous chit chat, I feel that the podcasts largely presents a rather light-hearted approach to industry issues. A joke or a giggle here and there makes all the difference, especially when topics can cover things you had previously only read serious blog posts, or had rather deep conversations about.

The Personal Touch

Having moved to Riga, Latvia last Summer, I have put myself in a position where I’ve had to make new friends, find new contacts and generate new leads, all while being unable to speak the local language. Working remotely, and by and large, for companies in the UK, I’m generally fairly cut off from events, social gatherings and suchlike in Scotland where I grew up.

The irony here is that I wasn’t really all that active within the design community for the 29 years I did live in and around Edinburgh, but now that I’ve left, it’s a little odd, not being able to have the opportunity to pop down to the pub for a chat with my fellow designers on, say, the first Wednesday of every month.

So with that in mind, these podcasts bring a bit of informal design discussion in to my life on a weekly basis, which helps me keep on top of what’s going on, and keeps me working away contently.

Which brings me to:


Whether or not the discussions are directly focussed on design, development or some other aspect of the community, I feel like listening to those who are doing what they do on a daily basis, and talking about it, gives me the motivation and drive to do what I do. Not only that, but it reminds me that there are others going through similar thought processes to my own, trying out different solutions, and wondering some of the same things that I do from time to time.

So ultimately, this is a big thank you to those who podcast. Specifically to those podcasts that I try to keep up with as much as possible. Sean Johnson and Liz Elcoate at The Freelance Web, Kier and Kieran at The Back to Front Show, Sarah Parmenter and Josh Long at Happy Monday, Andrew Clarke at Unfinished Business, Paul Boag at Boagworld and more recently, Rachel Shillcock at Beyond Ink. I should also say thaks to those podcasts I’ll likely be checking out soon, the likes of Businessology, Fresh Squeezed, Seanwes and a bunch of others you can find at the very useful Webby Podcasts site.

I should also add, that in listening to all these podcasts, I’ve been inspired to do a new podcast myself, but since there are plenty out there already, and I’m not sure I’ve got anything new to add, I’m thinking about recording all my blog posts instead, so that not only do I get to podcast in a sense, but I can add value to my blog, for those who would rather listen, than read.

So once again, thank you – and perhaps I’ll get the opportunity to meet some of you at a conference this year.

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Alex Cowles

About The Author: Alex Cowles

A largely cynical and often sarcastic designer and front-end developer by day. Unknown international DJ & music producer extraordinaire by night (and at weekends). You probably won't like him.