I don’t understand how it is that I have never heard of 99% Invisible until this morning. I was listening to Debbie Millman’s Design Matters while I was getting ready for work. In the latest episode, she interviewed Roman Mars, producer and host of 99% Invisible, “a tiny radio show about design, architecture and the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.” As soon as I was dressed, I went to my computer, searched for it in iTunes, and proceeded to download all 55 episodes. I listened to about 30 of them today during my commute to teach my class down in Morgantown.
The show airs weekly on 91.7 KALW in San Francisco with support from Lunar Design. The shows range in length from five to twelve minutes, as Roman regularly adds content to the podcast version. The production value is nothing short of fantastic with special care given to the backing soundscapes—eclectic mixes of music, dialog, noise, and sound effects. Each episode is carefully designed and crafted as a aural experience. The content is, without fail, intensely interesting. The shows I’ve listened to have covered everything from the redesign of the toothbrush, to the architectural significance of the Transamerica building, and the hunt for a sidewalk graffiti artist. Regardless of your area of design specialization, this podcast will be relevant and well worth ten minutes of your week.