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Jun 01, 2022

A Cautionary Tale of Hopes, Dreams and Rejection

Debbie Millman
Debbie Millman presenting with screen image of Law & Order Special Victims Unit cast

About this video


A Cautionary Tale of Hopes, Dreams and Rejection is a funny and heartbreaking tale of making it (or not) in New York City. The presentation begins in early 2003 when a good friend sent Debbie Millman an email containing a link that took her to a “blog,” the first-ever online forum about graphic design and branding. Suddenly she found herself reading an article that disparaged her entire career. This experience—in tandem with a number of historical rejections and setbacks—sent Debbie into deep despair, and she seriously considered leaving the design profession altogether. In a series of poignant, revealing and sometimes hysterical anecdotes, Debbie will share her journey out of heartbreak and offer insight on how the worst moment in your life can actually become the most profound and life affirming.


Debbie Millman

Named “one of the most creative people in business” by Fast Company, and “one of the most influential designers working today” by Graphic Design USA, Debbie’s podcast, Design Matters is one of the world’s first and longest running podcasts. Debbie has interviewed nearly 500 artists, designers and cultural commentators over the past 16 years. Debbie is the author of six books, including two collections of interviews that have extended the ethos and editorial vision of Design Matters to the printed page: How to Think Like a Great Graphic Designer and Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits. She is also co-owner and Editorial Director of Debbie co-founded the world’s first graduate program in branding at the School of Visual Arts. For 20 years, Debbie was the President of Sterling Brands, one of the world’s leading branding consultancies. 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 SVU actor and activist Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation to eradicate sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and the rape-kit backlog.