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The Monologues
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Rodrigo Corral

Look Both Ways
Reviews & Opinions

“Especially touching”

Will Nixon

“Debbie Millman/Rodrigo Corral knock-out”

We Love Typography

“One of the most visually stunning books I’ve read in a long time. Debbie Millman’s essays about her life are expressed in an evocative and visual way. The essays are presented as paintings, cross stitches, chalk boards, drawings, index cards and more. A must read for those who believe design should be in every aspect of our lives.”


“A design world powerhouse.”

Core 77

“A very accomplished graphic designer.”

Apartment Therapy House Tour: Debbie Upgrades to Mid-Century

“What I loved so much about this book was how personal it is, and how open Debbie is expressing her fears, failures, and triumphs. Ultimately these personal things possess much more meaning, and are much more genuine than some logo we design for a client.”

Daniel C. Wiggins

“Millman’s day is spent in a milieu in which one generally does not benefit from telling deeply personal stories about oneself. In her business life she works a tough room, where revealing insecurities and engaging human-to-human are not considered a winning strategy. It took guts for Millman to publish a book that contains thinking on her own past and future, on her intimate confusions, errors in judgment, fallibility. She could have so easily stuck to what, for her, has proved a winning formula: the examination of other people’s methods of working, the definition of other people’s characters, values, beliefs. She could have avoided telling her truth, she could have spoken only in universals. She could have left the rock unbroken, never shown us the crystalline light in that geode. “

Communication Arts Review

Communication Arts

“Branding, design, style, new technologies and social media. We tend to look at all of them in isolation. Little do we realize sometimes that their is a very personal narrative that connects the things we buy, admire, use and connect with. Each of us is a part of a story with hundreds of tellers that represents the story of our lives.”

Radio interview with Jeff Schechtman on KVON-AM in SF

The thought-provoking personal essays she wrote in Look Both Ways will convince you—through desire, envy, optimism, embarrassment, and love, why design is the answer to the question of what it is that makes people buy.

Sacramento Book Review

The essays are presented in various methods of typographic expression, with twists and turns which illuminate and magnify the words into something more than a mere piece of prose. It’s a beautiful little gem of a book which can be dipped in and out of with none of the essays especially long, just the thing with a cup of coffee on a Sunday morning.

Paging A Life In Books

It’s personal, and meant to be experienced as such, personally.
Personally, the…words made a difference in my life.

Netdiver Magazine

Aside from the beautiful ways in which she designed and handlettered each essay, which instantly dropped me into Debbie’s world, or the constant connections she made with branding and art, I felt most moved by the stories of her life.

Christine’s Design Blog

Look Both Ways may have been the advice your mom gave you prior to crossing the street, but in Debbie Millman’s newest book of this title, it is the intersection of design and our everyday life that comes alive….it is a fun and unique read.


Inspiration Overload Alert.

Design For All Mankind

Illustrating the outstanding moments of when design connected with her everyday life, Debbie Millman’s quirky book “Look Both Ways” offers readers a lighthearted look at the design aficionado’s past….Organized as a series of short stories, the book of “typographic poetry” easily entertains….Her energetic biography poses intriguing questions among astute observations on design, branding and the relationships we all have with them. Her brilliant essays fundamentally compel and engage in a refreshing manner.

CoolHunting: LBW is “typographic poetry”

Whether she knows it or not, Debbie Millman, host of the radio show Design Matters, is a design anthropologist. Her new book Look Both Ways is a collection of “typographic poetry” that provides a quirky look at design and how it coincides with daily life. It’s a biography of her life formed by a series of essays, but it illuminates how design affects all our lives—from observations on branding to insightful thoughts on the artifacts of design and why they’re important.

Society for Environmental Graphic Design

I think it’s this unique combination—an innocence and willingness to talk about personal details, an eye for design and aesthetics, and a voice that’s unique—that make this book so different from the other design books I’ve read….You want to keep turning the page to see the uniquely illustrated pages and following Ms. Millman on her strange and and sometimes hilarious adventures.

Jarrett Fuller

Look Both Ways is a treat…Millman—a renowned branding consultant, design-world presence and native New Yorker—turns out a collection of musings presented in a range of type treatments, fonts and stylings. From describing her experiences with design to her affinity for entertaining at home, it’s a charming retell of a well-explored life.

Gotham Magazine

Underconsideration’s blog Brand New adds Look Both Ways to their list of recommended books.

Brand New recommends Look Both Ways

I love it….When I open this book at random, I’m knocked over by Debbie Millman’s incredible use of some very cool hand-made design elements that totally align with the words she chooses for each chapter….It’s a great way to kick-start the right hemisphere of your brain. Open at random. Enjoy.

Branding Blog

Andrew Gibb covers Look Both Ways on the world’s #1 package design website.

The DieLine

Look Both Ways covered on this beta website.

Al Gore’s Current TV

“Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design” is a book that brings a rich visual take to short narratives by Debbie Millman, current president of the AIGA and Sterling Brands. Tales of brand-name first loves and life lessons learned are told with words stiched in needlepoint, scrawled across the page, or written neatly on notecards, in chapters that engage the reader to pay as much attention to the presentation as the stories themselves. A beautiful read.

Dwell Magazine

“One of the Best Design Books of 2009”

Fast Company

“In her new book, Look Both Ways: Illustrated Essays on the Intersection of Life and Design, Debbie Millman, the mastermind behind some of today’s biggest brands (Tropicana, Dove) and the president of AIGA, uses a variety of techniques—painting, photography, cross-stitching, hand-lettering—to tell intimate stories.”

The New Yorker

“Truly Spellbinding.”

Short and Sweet NYC

“I just finished reading Look Both Ways by Debbie Millman cover to cover and I must say it was a delightful read. The book is a beautiful collection of designed essays about her passion for graphic design, art, love, brands, music, life, and Levi’s.”

Design Milk

Look Both Ways noted in Authentic Boredom’s Premium Linkage.

Cameron Moll’s Authentic Boredom

“Twenty imaginatively written and illustrated personal essays give you a glimpse into how this design leader got where she is today.”

HOW Magazine, February 2010 issue

Look Both Ways noted in Dexigner Network.

Dexigner Network

“I found myself wanting to read most of this book in the evening before I went to bed. I’m not much for reading in bed but I found that taking on a couple essays was an earned gift for the day I had just completed. I also noted that all those visuals affected my sleep state. I was dreaming a lot more. I’m sure this sounds a bit weird but I do think it’s important to note in this review. If you get the chance to read this book, try reading it before you fall asleep, it will change things entirely.”

Michael Surtees

Look Both Ways noted in Graphic Design USA’s November 2009 newsletter.

Graphic Design USA

“It will change the way you think about things, how things work, how things look, what brands mean to us and how they function, and how all this work and business and function and design is not just our jobs, but a part of who we are, how we think, and what effect we can have on the world.”

800 CEO Read

Excerpts from Look Both Ways appear in the design blog of Fast Company.

Fast Company

Look Both Ways lands in the Highbrow/Brilliant quadrant of New York magazine’s Approval Matrix for the week of November 16, 2009.

New York Magazine

“Highly recommended for lovers of design and vise versa. Debbie Millman proves here beyond any doubt that she is the Susan Sontag of graphic design, only without the two-tone hair and sexual confusion.”

Chip Kidd

“Debbie Millman’s interviews and commentaries in both radio and print have been engaging and inspiring because she has successfully married the personal with the professional. … In her new book, Look Both Ways, Millman very bravely goes one step farther by shining her piercing light on herself to reveal an intimate expression, both written and depicted, of a passionate, vulnerable and intelligent life in design.”

Paula Scher

“Ms. Millman has an original and intriguing mind that makes her a delightful companion throughout this unpredictable stroll through her life in design.”

Milton Glaser

“Some writers will open up their souls and show you the dark secrets hidden there. Others will open up their purses. That’s what Debbie Millman does in this deliciously intimate book. This charming book is stuffed with treats—sweet, spicy, and tart.”

Ellen Lupton

“In Look Both Ways, Debbie Millman … commits one of the last forbidden sins of the design world; she tells us about her fear, love, and beliefs. Design is not about Garamond, it is about a unique vision formed by a personal life experience. Look Both Ways is a remarkable book; beautiful and incredibly engaging.”

Sean Adams

“Typographer. Philosopher. Genius. Debbie Millman’s inspired design, brilliant storytelling, and courageous revelations in Look Both Ways create a whole new genre of books. Her willingness to share her insecurities is both brave and beautiful.”

DeeDee Gordon

“Through her books, blogs, and radio interviews, graphic designers have been the lucky recipients of Debbie Millman’s intellect, respect and heartfelt devotion. Look Both Ways, thankfully, takes the spotlight off us for once and movingly introduces Millman’s unique, painterly illuminations of her essays and personal musings.”

Carin Goldberg

“This extraordinary book is an unexpected personal journey through the strange and surreal world where growing-up meets that ever-so daunting place of brands, hopes and etiquette; gateways of experience which are here unlocked by surprising twists of typographic expression and experiment. … This is a book of typographic poetry, a valuable commentary for our times.”

Neville Brody

“Debbie Millman is one of the few people who understands the potential of the relationship between image and words. In this book she proves it by visually enticing us into her poignant memories and sweet, smart musings which knit us in as though we were part of the yarn.”

Marian Bantjes

Look Both Ways is the perfect window into Debbie’s world of joyful observations, big and small, where nothing is taken for granted and everything has value.”

Emily Oberman

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By Debbie Millman
Look Both Ways
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The MonologuesMore
Audio versions of the illustrated essays as they originally appeared in Design Matters between 2005 and 2009.