January 20, 2021

Five Questions with Debbie Millman: Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at SVA

INVT21 Creative Burst Leader Debbie Millman on where she finds inspiration and what drives her to create.

Debbie Millman has come a long way since her first job, assembling mascara brushes in a makeup factory. In a storied career, she has worked on the design and strategy of over 200 of the world’s largest brands, and currently is the Chair of the first-ever Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts.

Debbie is also Editorial Director of PrintMag.com and the author of six books on design and branding, including How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer, Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits, and the award-winning Self-Portrait As Your Traitor. As the host of the award-winning podcast Design Matters, the world’s first podcast on design, she engages in conversations with creatives on how they design the arcs of their lives.

At INVT21 on January 14, Debbie will be engaging with us in a Creative Burst. Her “Visual Essay” will feature a short film she and Hillman Curtis created with conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner.

Here are some of her thoughts about her creative life.

What did 2020 bring into focus for you that you want to Re:Make, Re:Think, Re:Imagine, or Re:Design for 2021?


What is your relationship to the creative process?

Complicated but fervent.

How or where do you find inspiration?

In living.

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

Overcoming trauma.

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

I can’t ever remember not wanting to be creative.

Bonus Round: What drives you to create?