Podcasts have become a leading form of entertainment in recent years, spurred on by the normalisation of smartphone ownership and the boredom of commuters.
Apple announced in 2018 that its Podcasts app features more than half a million podcasts in over 100 languages. Savvy advertisers have begun to recognise the potential of targeting podcast listeners, who can be easily segmented based on their interests and listening habits.
Podcasts are good for much more than just entertainment and advertising, though; many professionals have turned to the medium in search of informational and educational content.
Among these professionals is our very own designer, Jack Bevan, who has written about his discovery of design podcasts, and how they have helped him to develop his understanding of the industry.
Over to you, Jack!
Learning on the Move
Until recently, I lived in Hertfordshire and had to commute into London for work every day along with thousands of others. I would generally tolerate these adventures with the aid of music, reading, Netflix or, ideally, some company. One day, though, I found a far more productive and interesting way to occupy myself on the train.
It came in the form of podcasts.
Initially, I found the idea of listening to someone talk to themselves or amongst themselves for an hour (or, in some cases, hours) a little odd. I was taking baby steps in the world of podcasts, mostly listening to recommended content.
I wasn’t really listening to anything that expanded my knowledge of the industry I work within. Not that I think your personal downtime should revolve around your profession.
After binging on popular titles for a while, I began honing in on topics that I study and work on professionally. In doing so, I have gained access to a wealth of knowledge that I can now take in without it feeling like an enormous effort, which is mostly down to the quality of these podcasts.
A topic that I previously saw as ‘work’ has now been mixed up in an activity which I enjoy and, even better, one which fills the void of commuting.
Design and Tech Podcasts We Love
It’s Nice That
Design Matters with Debbie Milman
The Design Better Podcast
The benefits of listening to design-related podcasts have become quickly apparent, and have given me a nice way to allow my professional and personal lives to meet.
Shows like DesignBetter Co.‘s The Design Better Podcast keep me up to date with design processes and how the design industry is progressing.
I listen to 99% Invisible to expand my knowledge of influential designers and find out how design thinking can solve problems in what I thought were completely unrelated fields.
Just Our Type has a wealth of episodes on how the fonts we use on our computers every day came to be.
The Rightly Design keeps me informed about the world of branding.
This list is ever growing and with each episode I feel more prepared and informed for the decisions I need to take in the workplace.
Even podcasts that seem to go off piste in terms of design can still be informative and useful, weaving into other important subjects which I never thought I’d be interested in, such as etymology, politics and the economy.
While my favourite tunes or the odd game of Two Dots can still be a great distraction from the monotony of commuting, I’ve found so many benefits in twisting my dead commuting time into a period during which I can learn about new aspects of my field of work and, even better, gain an understanding of subjects which I had never engaged with before.
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