What I'm Listening to: Design Life
"Design Life is a podcast about design and side projects for motivated creators."
One of the most enjoyable parts about discovering a podcast early in it's existence is witnessing the progress of the shows' hosts as they polish their delivery and become more comfortable with each other and their audience. It has definitely been a pleasure to hear the progress that Femke and Charli have made during the course of their relatively young podcast, Design Life. Not just because it's fun to witness someone improving at their craft, but because taking action, iterating in public and just putting in the hard work are major themes of their show.Charlie and Femke practice what they preach and put it on display through the podcast itself.
Design Life is meant to help creatives tackle issues like staying motivated, finding clients, and managing their time. The podcast has a special focus on side projects, which is what initially drew my attention. What you're looking at right now is my side project. Listening Design Life every Monday encourages me to keep at it and helps me wrestle with the unique problems that creative side projects entail.
The hosts use examples from their own lives and share about their personal side projects to help make the takeaways more concrete and practical. It's great to hear from other designers who are trying to balance a full-time job with ambitious side projects and a personal life. The conversational style of the show is very engaging and I often find myself wishing I could throw my two cents into the discussion. It's great to hear the ladies' struggles, solutions and aspirations; it makes it feel like they are right there with you as you strive toward your own goals.
The production quality of Design Life is apparent from the catchy intro music and smooth audio mix to the show prep that keeps each episode moving and on-topic. I've grown to really appreciate the consistency of this podcast; I can count on a new installment every Monday and I know it will be right around 4o minutes long. I've developed a routine where I listen to Design Life on my Monday evening commute and arrive home ready to get cracking.
Charli and Femke love to engage with their growing audience on twitter. Listeners comments are regularly incorporated into the podcast and sometimes questions from twitter even spark entire episode topics. This kind of audience interaction goes a long way to building listener loyalty and adds an interesting dimension to the show.
It's great to find a podcast hosted by two women in what seems like a male-dominated industry. My hat is off to Femke and Charli for boldly stepping into that niche and sharing what they have learned and continue to learn as young designers. The icing on the cake is their charming New Zealand accents; I could probably listen to these two talk about anything for 40 minutes. What can I say? We Americans are suckers for accents.
The Cover Art
As you would expect from a show hosted by two graphic designers, Design Life has simple, attractive and effective cover art.
Subtly faded in the background are a laptop and a sketchbook, two essential tools for any designer. The white, hand-lettered title pops off the purple background to make an eye-catching composition.
Part of the beauty of hand-lettering is that it conveys the human element and communicates just a bit more than normal typography can. This cover art takes advantage of that authenticity and carries it over into the content of the podcast. Charli and Femke are constantly working to improve and create; and they've graciously invited us along for the journey. That's what Design Life is all about.