Why Design Matters

Thursday, November 11, 2021, 7 - 8:30pm

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Millman event

Award-winning podcast host and branding visionary Debbie Millman is joined by Maira and Alex Kalman for a discussion that considers "How do you create a life with purpose and meaning?" The free public program is to preview the curated anthology WHY DESIGN MATTERS: Conversations with the World’s Most Creative People which features text from Millman’s conversations with the world’s most gifted creative minds, leaders, and intellectuals. The Strand Book Store will have a limited number of advance copies of the book and will take pre-orders at the event. 

Registration is required for this free public program. Attendees must show proof of vaccination and wear a mask indoors.

The first “Design Matters” podcast was released in 2005. Since then, Millman has recorded nearly 500 episodes continuously over the last 16 years, making it both one of the first and longest-running podcasts in the world, and the first ever about design. The book features nearly 60 of Millman’s best interviews, including several with Cooper Union School of Art alumni.

Debbie Millman is a designer and branding visionary who’s been named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA. In 2009 Debbie co-founded with Steven Heller the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts. She’s also an author, educator, curator, and host of the podcast "Design Matters" which has garnered a Cooper Hewitt National Design Award and six Webby nominations. Her artwork is included in the Boston Biennale, Chicago Design Museum, The Wolfsonion Museum, and more. Millman is also President Emeritus of AIGA, one of six women to hold the position in the organization’s 100+-year history.

The Kalmans

Maira Kalman is an artist, illustrator, author, and designer.  She has written/illustrated over 30 books for adults and children. She has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New Yorker. She has created textiles for Isaac Mizrahi and Kate Spade and sets for Mark Morris. Other collaborations have been with David Byrne, Nico Muhly, Alex Kalman, Michael Pollan, John Heginbotham, and Gertrude Stein. Her watch and clock designs appear under the M&Co label, the design studio created by her late husband Tibor Kalman. She has won many awards and given numerous talks. Her art has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world.

Alex Kalman is a curator, designer, editor, journalist, and filmmaker. He is the creator of Mmuseumm and What Studio? His exhibitions have been shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Museum of Modern Art. He is an infrequent contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic and the New Yorker and others.


Located in The Great Hall, in the Foundation Building, 7 East 7th Street, between Third and Fourth Avenues

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.