My favorite non-creative podcasts for creatives

 
My favorite non-creative podcasts for creatives

I’m a podcast junkie. And on a holiday like this week, I’m going on a binge while I’m stuck in a car for 8 hours driving home for Thanksgiving. Who’s with me?! Today’s post is super short, but only because you just need to get over to iTunes and start downloading these shows. We all know the great “creative entrepreneur podcasts” that always make the list — I’m looking at you Being Boss, SeanWesInvisible Office Hours, The Lively Show, The Fizzle Show, Make it Happen, Startup, ShePercolates (which I’ve had the pleasure of being on!), etc.

BUT, today I’m sharing a list of my favorite NON-creative podcasts that I often find myself inspired by. Break away from the usual list and try a few of these on for size, I think you’ll be glad you did. There’s something fascinating to me about the art of storytelling, and each of these podcasts does a fantastic job of just that. I listen to these so much while I’m working, that I begin to associate certain episodes with certain design projects – weird, huh? So whether you’re traveling this week, you’re cozied up with some pumpkin pie, or working on your side gig while your main gig is on break — be inspired by this collection of not-so-business-focused podcasts.

Disclaimer: When I say “non-creative,” I’m referring to the content — it’s not specific to creative business owners or entrepreneurs or the world of online business. But the delivery, the writing, the editing, the storytelling is MOST DEFINITELY creative :)

 

RadioLab

Ahhh, Jad and Robert. Their witty banter makes me smile every time. The editing and sound engineering on this show is stunning. I absolutely love the way they tell a story using sounds other than humans talking. RadioLab shares some truly amazing stories, a lot of times centered around science, that truly mystify me. They take super simple concepts (sometimes related to design, I’ve noticed!) like color or symmetry and explain how our brains make sense of it. It’s pretty wild to listen to, especially when you’re sitting at a computer working with color and symmetry as you listen :)

A cool thing about this podcast, is the two hosts will often times research stories independently, and then report on them with the other host not knowing anything about the story. It’s super fun to hear their genuine reactions and questions, it’s like they’re learning things right along with you. Super creative way to tell a story via audio only, in my opinion.

My favorite episodes:

Desperately Seeking Symmetry
Colors
Patient Zero

 

This American Life

TAL, where do I even begin. I’ll tell you where I begin: Episode 1. Literally. When I worked for a design agency, I decided to pass the design time with a podcast and stumbled on TAL on a recommendation from my brother. I listened to a few of the current ones and fell in love. I knew I had hours upon hours to listen, so I decided to start back at the beginning. I’m proud (and maybe a little embarrassed?!) to say I’ve listened to every single TAL episode, in order from start to finish — as of today, that’s 572! #sorrynotsorry

But seriously, who doesn’t love TAL? Ira’s soothing voice keeps me company while I design. The most extraordinary stories from the most ordinary people is what blows my mind. It pushes me to look beyond my own life and try to notice more of these amazing stories all around me. If you need a reality check – whether humorous or serious – TAL is a great escape.

My favorite episodes:

hands down, Switched At Birth (#360)
The Giant Pool of Money (in production with Planet Money - #355)
No Coincidence, No Story (#489)
House on Loon Lake (#199)
OMG, seriously there are too many, I can’t pick favorites.

 

99% Invisible

Another great radio voice – Roman Mars! 99% Invisible is probably the most design-centric on this list. These episodes are shorter, which is nice for just a quick listen, and they explain interesting, often times historical, stories in the world of design and architecture. I’ve always thought architecture was fascinating, so some of my favorite episodes have to do with the history of specific buildings or structures, oddities that few people know about, and general stories about cities that make me wish I was in New York. And again, 99% Invisible has some really great sound engineering that makes you feel like the host is standing right next to you.

My favorite episodes:

The Mystery House (#162)
Children of the Magenta (#170)
Structural Integrity (#110)

 

Planet Money

Planet Money is a spin off from This American Life (it started after the wildly successful TAL episode The Giant Pool of Money). I’m a bit of a financial doofus, so I love the way this podcast explains complex financial concepts in simple, easy to understand language and analogies. My favorite episodes are the ones that explain basic financial things like currency or taxes, but in such a practical way to make the listener understand exactly where it came from, how it works, and why we’re still using it. Being a business owner, this one encourages me to learn more about the world of finance and think hard about how I’m making and spending my own money.

My favorite episodes:

The Birth of the Dollar Bill (#421)
The Surprisingly Entertaining History of the Income Tax (#356)


Alright, go forth and listen. As entrepreneurs, we tend to consume, consume, consume business-related content WAY too much. We binge on business advice and so-called secrets. The more I take it all in, the more I think it might be better to take a break from all that noise and consume something for pure imagination and creativity. These are my go-to’s for that creative break, what are yours? Besides the greatness that was Serial, obvi. 


 

Kelsey Baldwin

Graphic designer + blogger providing design resources to help creative entrepreneurs navigate the world of design + branding for digital products so they can share what they know.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin