If you are a designer looking for inspiration – or if you’ve exhausted all of the podcasts on your mobile phone and are searching for something to listen to during that long commute – TED Talks has got you covered. TED is a non-profit which promotes public speaking which can spread interesting ideas. The talks are normally restricted to 18 minutes or less.

These TED design talks honor the organization’s history. TED started in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged. Today TED Talks cover almost any topic in the world.

The Illustrated Woman

Author and illustrator Maira Kalman creates books for both children and adults. She discusses how she works and lives. Kalman’s illustrations grace the covers of The New Yorker and the pages of The Elements of Style. Kalman recounts how she picked up The Elements of Style at a garage sale and decided it needed some illustrations. She convinced the estate of E.B. White to let her do 52 paintings to illustrate the legendary grammar guide.

PacMan Takes On MOMA

New York City’s Museum of Modern Art sparked controversy in 2012 when it acquired 14 video games. Its design coordinator Paola Antonelli explains why she was happy to get people talking about how design is “about far more than just about cute chairs – it’s about everything that is around us in our life.” Antonelli uses her talk to challenge preconceived ideas about art and galleries.

Happiness by Design

Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is world famous for his album covers and posters. In this talk, he discusses the lessons he included in his book of life lessons, which includes the way that good design can make people happy. Sagmeister has designed for Lou Reed, OK Go, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, Jay Z, Aerosmith and Pat Metheny.

Designing Objects That Tell Stories

Swiss designer Yves Behar is known as the designer for some of the most iconic objects of the new millennium. He has worked extensively with silicon valley on projects like the Jawbone headset, Leaf lamp, JAMBOX audio speakers, and more. In this talk, he discusses his design roots and early failures, and why he decided to start working on the “$100 laptop.”


Destiny and Design

Philippe Starck has become one of the most recognizable names in modern design. Starting with designing luxury hotels, Starck later turned to redesigning everyday objects. In his talk he covers his design philosophies.

Fashion and Creativity

Fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi opens his talk by talking about his insomniac walks around the city, which stimulates his creativity. Mizrahi, who mixes high fashion wit mass market styles, explains the source of his inspirations. Mizrahi can be inspired by 1950’s pinups, but just as often gets a spark from a glimpse of a person on the street.

Iconic ceramics designer Eva Zeisel’s TED Talk takes a look at her extraordinary 75-year career. Zeisel, who died in 2011 at age 105, continued to debut collections through 2010. She explains her sense of beauty, her drive, and how to create rich, invigorating art for a lifetime.