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Look Both Ways
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Welcome to Debbie Millman 3.0!


Paintings by Debbie Millman circa 1992. Part of a 100 painting installation at Long Island University.

Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design is a book about life, art, love, design, tunes, brands, poetry, shame, and even physics. In many ways, it is the culmination of over 25 years of working in the design business, and probably took its first shape when I began my radio show on design and culture, Design Matters, nearly five years ago.

Design Matters first aired in February, 2005; I started it with a wish and a telephone connection to the Internet. My hope was to create a radio talk-show with brilliant designers and creative intellects from all disciplines and ask them lots of personal questions about why they do what they do and how they do it. Since then, I have conducted over 100 interviews with artists, designers and writers including Malcolm Gladwell, Barbara Kruger, Lawrence Weiner, Milton Glaser and even Nobel Prize winning scientist Eric Kandel. The format for the show is pretty consistent: I start with a monologue in which I try to weave a personal anecdote that relates to the guest in some small way. I then begin the interview itself, and ask lots and lots of questions. The interviews tend to be conversations rather than a grilling and I have sometimes been accused of gushing over my guests. I’ve decided I’m okay with that.

Since the beginning of the show, listeners have been urging me to collect the monologues and try to publish a book. But I felt that the essays were already “out there” and I wanted to do something different and unexpected. Also, my good friend and former editor-in-chief at Print Magazine, Joyce Kaye, thought it wasn’t a strong enough idea on its own. I respect her tremendously and what Joyce says, goes. Since I am also a painter (and have been painting and drawing for nearly my whole life) I decided to connect the two disciplines and try and create one holistic, unified experience of art and language.

As I worked on the book, the words of one of my best friends, Katharine Umsted, played over and over in my mind. She is both an artist and an art dealer, and insisted that when creating art with words, the quality of every illustration must be comparable to the quality of the writing, and vice versa. Neither could overwhelm or dilute the impression of the other; they needed to be fully integrated. This became my mantra throughout the entire journey of this effort.

This site is an aggregate of a lot of the work that went into the making of Look Both Ways. It includes sections on each chapter of the book, links to the spoken word podcasts that include each essay, a list of upcoming readings and events from the Look Both Ways book tour, press and reviews, and information and photographs from the workshop on “Visual Storytelling” that I am now conducting. The site was lovingly and patiently designed by my uber-talented friend, Armin Vit.

I hope you enjoy this journey through my book and the landscape of a life lived in and shaped by design.

POSTED ON Dec.06.2009 IN News

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By Debbie Millman
Events OverviewMore

November 30, 2010
AIGA Richmond
--- September 23, 2010
AIGA Baltimore
--- June 06, 2010
HOW Conference
--- May 27, 2010
Academy of Art University Visual Storytelling Exhibit
--- May 14, 2010
AIGA Seattle
--- April 29, 2010
Icograda Conference
--- April 14, 2010
Fuse Conference
Look Both Ways
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