Debbie Millman* is ubiquitous in the design realm. She is a writer, educator, artist and brand consultant. Her acclaimed Design Matters podcast has racked up an impressive 264 (and counting) conversations with leading luminaries of contemporary thought. Millman is the chair and co-founder, with Steven Heller, of the world's first graduate program in branding in the School of Visual Arts in New York. We've been fans of Debbie for ages and so glad she's noticed us waving, jumping and screaming from the sidelines. 

Work by Debbie Millman:

Debbie Millman "On Rejection" at the Weapons of Mass Creation Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2016.


Debbie Millman nominated Maria Popova, the writer, blogger and critic best known for her beloved Brain Pickings site. 

It seems as if the whole world loves And why not? With millions and millions of readers a month, the site is a treasure trove of combinatorial creativity. Maria Popova, the force of nature who created the site over 10 years ago, never expected her personal labor of love (originally sent as an email to seven friends) would become one of the most respected and beloved places on the internet to read about science, literature, art, poetry, technology, politics and the entirety of the human psyche.

The universe is a better, more meaningful place because she’s in it, and we are all the beneficiaries of her keen mind and salient spirit

But enough about Brain Pickings; I want to talk about Maria. Though it is hard to disconnect one from the other, it is important to do so. Maria is so much more than her tremendous accomplishments and success. Born in Communist Bulgaria, Maria first came to the US to go to college. Working four jobs while attending the University of Pennsylvania, Maria fine-tuned her now legendary work ethic. Here is where she also became an artist—a crafter of words and images. 

Maria brings her whole heart to the world. Her sensitivity and intuition fuel a profound empathy that is evident in everything she does. Maria seems to care about everyone, and she quietly does more for the people and causes she believes in than anyone I’ve ever met. Maria is deeply loyal, terrifically funny, terribly witty and utterly beautiful. The universe is a better, more meaningful place because she’s in it, and we are all the beneficiaries of her keen mind and salient spirit.

Maria Popova's wildly popular blog "Brainpickings," which started as a weekly e-mail to seven friends, now has fans like William Gibson, Drew Carey, Mia Farrow and Biz Stone and is included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive. Listen to her in conversation with journalist Alexis Madrigal.