Last year I read a lot of books, and this year I intended to read a lot of books, until I fell into the internet black hole of the podcast. I had never really dipped into them until the cultural phenomenon they call Serial ate up a few weeks of my daily commute, one addictive episode at a time (season two, now available!). I soon discovered that podcasts offered a wealth of content and knowledge beyond simple entertainment, and found myself frequently setting my books aside in favour of this more passive (lazy) medium.

Being able to seek out any topic and find an easily digestible hour of radio within a click or two made this a great potential resource for professional inspiration. Starting out with industry podcasts like Design Matters with Debbie Millman, I considered them à la carte design conferences, an easy way to spend a bit of time with my design heroes. Soon I found myself seeking out a few of my idols by name and spending my commute sponging up their stories and insights.

Here’s a few of my recent favourites:

Read Between the Leading

Don & Ryan Clark, the brothers behind Invisible Creature, have long been a huge creative inspiration for me, so the opportunity to spend some time hearing the story behind this grammy-nominated design studio was a no-brainer- even if it is several years old now.

Read Between the Leading – Don & Ryan Clark (Invisible Creature)

Creative pep talk

Andy J. Miller’s Creative Pep Talk podcast was a great find for me late this year. While his guests are often the stars of illustration and design, it’s Andy himself who takes it beyond the standard interview format, often lending his own insights, and expanding on the themes his guests bring to the table. It’s for that reason that I find Creative Pep Talk to be among the best in the design podcast genre.

Creative Pep Talk – Brandon Rike

WTF?! WITH Marc Maron

Earlier this year, comedian Marc Maron played host to President Obama in his garage for an intimate one-on-one interview, the probable peak of his broadcasting career. So how do you follow that up? Maybe a Portland studio visit with a certain outspoken graphic designer? Aaron James Draplin digs a bit deeper than his Tall Tales talks here, sharing personal and professional stories that are equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking.

WTF with Marc Maron – Aaron Draplin

RADIOLAB

While not a podcast tailored specifically to creative professionals like some of these others are, Radiolab represents some of the best storytelling in the medium. This episode examines the creative process behind the original reality show, “Candid Camera”, and ends with one of the best stories you’ll ever hear.

Radiolab – Smile My Ass

What are your essential podcasts, industry-related or otherwise? Let us know in the comments, and help us kill off a few more commutes while we put off reading that book for yet another day.