The iconic Debbie Millman is on the show. I have been an admirer of her work for years. For 20 years, Debbie was the President of Sterling Brands, one of the world’s leading branding consultancies. Under her leadership, Sterling grew to 150 employees in five offices. While there, she worked on the logo and brand identity for Burger King, Hershey’s, Haagen Dazs, Tropicana, Star Wars, Gillette, and the No More movement. Debbie is currently working with Law & Order SVUactor and activist Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation to eradicate sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and the rape-kit backlog. In 2009 Debbie co-founded the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Today we discuss branding as well as how to design our lives intentionally. All of the show notes can be found at


  1. The difference between design vs. branding
  2. “Branding is about manufacturing meaning through symbols and objects, and design is the expression of that meaning.”
  3. What it takes to create a new brand or rebrand. You have to ask one crucial question when working on a brand: “Why does the world need this?”
  4. Her work for the Joyful Heart Foundation and how she got involved as the Chairman of the Board.
  5. Why she believes a person shouldn’t aspire to be a brand.
  6. What drives her to impact others.
  7. Her 5 Year Life Plan that she took with Milton Glaser that transformed her life. Big dreams all manifested within 13 years, within ten years, 80%-90% of it was achieved.
  8. The importance of declaring your wants. Declaration of intention.
  9. Debbie teaches her students the 10 Year Life Plan at the School of Visuals Arts.
  10. How at the age of eight she created a picture that turned into her adult reality – like a vision board.
  11. Her advice on how to live a creative life.
  12. Her thoughts on advertising during COVID, and much more!

Debbie’s 3 Best Tips for Designing a Good Life:

  1. “Continually think if not now, when?”
  2. “If you want a remarkable life, you have to commit to doing it.” Don’t edit your dreams before you try. We often determine what’s impossible before you determine if it’s possible. “Try before you decide you can’t. You get over failure and rejection, but you don’t ever really get over regret.”
  3. “Don’t give up on love.”


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