25 Inspiring TED Talks For Designers, Creatives, And Curious Minds
From activism and war to virtual reality and urban planning, TED talks offer us bite-sized chunks of education, insight, and inspiration from some of the world’s leading thinkers.
It’s an incredible resource, and no matter what subject you’re interested in, there’s a TED talk out there (usually several) to suit you.
Luckily for us, TED has a sizeable back catalogue of design- and creativity-themed talks. And with so many to choose from, we thought we’d help you along the way by sharing 14 of our personal favourites (in no particular order, of course).
Chip Kidd: Designing books is no laughing matter. Ok, it is
Chip Kidd is a master of book cover design, and in this talk he shares the thinking and philosophy that goes into his work.
Joe Gebbia: How Airbnb designs for trust
Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb, discusses how one of the company’s core beliefs (that people are inherently trusting of one another, enough to spend time in strangers’ homes) is manifested through their design. His dream is to live in a culture “in which design helps foster community and connection instead of isolation and separation.”
Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius
Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of (amongst others, but perhaps most notably) Eat, Pray, Love. Here she about talks about the elusive concept of genius, and the lofty expectations (sometime self-imposed) placed on artists. An inspiring talk for creatives in any field.
Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers
What makes people original? Well, there may be many factors. After all, the concept of originality is somewhat subjective and can be tricky to define. But in this talk organisational psychologist Adam Grant shares three habits that original thinkers often share (like, for example, embracing failure). Insightful and thought-provoking.
Janet Echelman: Taking imagination seriously
Janet Echelman creates big, billowing, beautiful sculptures the size of buildings. Her inspiring talk encourages us to think outside the box, and is a reminder of the amazing power of the imagination!
Julie Burstein: 4 lessons in creativity
4 lessons on the creative life, from facing challenges to dealing with self-doubt. With insights from a filmmaker, a writer, a sculptor, and a photographer.
Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?
In this talk, Sir Ken Robinson presents an argument for encouraging creativity in our educational system. Thought-provoking, entertaining, and the most viewed TED talk ever.
Margaret Gould Stewart: How giant websites design for you (and a billion others, too)
Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s director of product design, sheds light on the principles behind successful design at a global scale. She teaches us that, even at this level, it’s the little things that sometimes matter the most.
Jacek Utko: Can design save newspapers?
We’ve heard it a thousand times before: print is dead. Digital media has taken over. Newspapers and magazines are becoming obsolete. But Jacek Utko, a Polish newspaper designer (whose redesigns for papers in Eastern Europe have helped increase circulation by up to 100%), argues that the curtain hasn’t quite fallen on printed papers yet. In fact, there may be an encore coming. It all comes down to one key question: can good design save the newspaper?
Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces
A legend of typeface, Matthew Carter is the creative brain responsible for such fonts as Verdana and Georgia. A must-see for anyone remotely interested in the aesthetics of the printed word.
David Korins: 3 ways to create a space that moves you, from a Broadway set designer
What if we viewed our homes and workspaces as sets? How could taking control of our day-to-day environments effect us? David Korins lays out three steps to sculpting our own personal worlds.
Chip Kidd: The art of first impressions — in design and life
Yes, this is the second Chip Kidd talk on the list, but he deserves it. This one’s all about, as you might have guessed first impressions. Chip Kidd discusses how two design techniques, clarity and mystery, are often employed to achieve instant communication.
Béatrice Coron: Stories cut from paper
You should watch this talk for the phenomenally intricate cut-outs alone. Inspiring and vastly creative, Béatrice Coron’s work is a stand-out example of the rewards of patience, vision, and dedication to a craft.
Tim Urban: Inside the mind of a master procrastinator
Tim Urban is the co-founder of the wildly popular website WaitButWhy. Here he shares his personal (and lifelong) struggle with procrastination, and discusses the anomaly of procrastination as a whole. Relatable, funny, and encouraging.
The Creative Life
For more design and creative inspiration, see the 22 Best Books On Graphic Design and The Wonderfully Inspiring Workspaces Of Famous Creatives.