A podcast about how design creates and shapes our world

Hosted by Frontier’s founder Paddy Harrington and produced in partnership with the Association of Registered Graphic Designers, First Things First talks to some of the world’s leading designers about how design shapes and creates our world.

Listen via: Apple Podcasts · Spotify · RSS

Recent Episodes
Portrait of Barbara Groth, who is wearing jeans and a jacket, standing in front of a lake with mountains in the background

Barbara Groth — May 13, 2022

Barbara Groth on her pioneering multimedia designs, the importance of play, and helping people to be present in the moment.

Portrait of Bruce Mau

Bruce Mau — March 31, 2022

Legendary designer Bruce Mau on his latest book and the importance of inspiration to creating lasting change

Climber Alex Honnold, in a red shirt, holding on to a rock face with mountains in the distance

Alex Honnold — March 1, 2022

We talk with rock climber and environmental activist Alex Honnold about prioritizing your passions, helping people meet their basic needs, and broadening your impact.

Cey Adams. Photo: Jonathan Mehring

Cey Adams — March 2, 2020

We talk with Cey Adams about the relationship between art, music, and design, what makes a good client, and the importance of passion.


Jeremy Leslie — February 19, 2020

We talk with magCulture founder Jeremy Leslie about magazines as recording devices and the evolution of ideas in the space where print and digital meet.

Marina Willer at What Design Can Do 2018

Marina Willer — December 16, 2019

We talk with Pentagram partner Marina Willer about her film Red Trees and the role of the designer in a world overrun by consumption.


Tina Roth Eisenberg — December 2, 2019

We talk with Tina Roth Eisenberg about magic and the importance of listening to everything the universe has to tell you.


Robert Brunner — November 19, 2019

Named one of Fast Company’s "Most Creative People in Business," Robert Brunner is the designer of such iconic products as the Apple PowerBook and Beats by Dre headphones.


Paul Lavoie — October 2, 2019

We talk with ad-agency vet Paul Lavoie, who founded Beau Lake, a luxury paddleboard and lifestyle brand. The conversation touches on wildnerness, the intersection of advertising and design, and designing a new logo for Canada.


Pia Betton — July 24, 2019

We talk with leading Danish designer Pia Betton about the challenges of growth, change, and design thinking.

Information designer Jessica Bellamy

Jessica Bellamy — June 10, 2019

We talk with information designer Jessica Bellamy about how design can be used as a tool to help fight for social justice and the problem with ”askholes.”

Laura Stein

Laura Stein — May 1, 2019

This episode of First Things First was recorded in October 2018 as part of our Live Magazine project at DesignThinkers in Toronto. The interview is with Sid Lee creative director Laura Stein and was conducted by Frontier Senior Designer Tristan Marantos.


Grace Hwang — April 18, 2019

Grace Hwang leads Design at Carrot, a technology company that helps people quit smoking. For twelve years, she lead healthcare-focused projects around the world in her role at IDEO, a global innovation consultancy.


Jessica Hische — March 15, 2019

Jessica Hische is an artist, lettering designer, and author whose clients include Wes Anderson, the US Postal Service, Wired, Starbucks, and others. Her first picture book, Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave, was a New York Times bestseller.

Bonnie Siegler onstage at DesignThinkers 2018 Toronto. Photograph by Connie Tsang.

Bonnie Siegler — February 28, 2019

We talk with Bonnie Siegler about the good and the bad when it comes to working with clients as a designer.

Forest Young. Photo by Connie Tsang.

Forest Young — February 16, 2019

Forest Young is a designer and educator whose knowledge ranges widely and who challenges audiences in unexpectedly delightful ways.


Michael Bierut — January 15, 2019

Michael Bierut is a partner in the New York office of Pentagram and a proper gentleman.


Ellen Lupton — March 6, 2019

Ellen Lupton is curator of contemporary design at Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York City and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore.


Paul Sahre — November 15, 2018

Paul Sahre is a New York–based designer who has worked with everyone from Marvel to Google to The New York Times. He’s an expert cover designer, having created the look of iconic albums, magazines, and books.


Krys Blackwood — October 15, 2018

Krys Blackwood has designed interfaces of many kinds for over twenty years, often with Silicon Valley startups and Fortune 500 companies.


Jan Chipchase — September 15, 2018

Jan Chipchase is a Tokyo-based researcher, designer, and strategist. He is also the author of a handbook considered an essential reference to running international field research.


Timothy Goodman — August 15, 2018

Timothy Goodman is a New York–based designer and illustrator. He is also an author and activist concerned with social issues and an unending quest for authentic experiences and human interaction.


Astrid Stavro — April 30, 2018

Astrid Stavro spent years designing magazines and brands from an office on a warm island in the Mediterranean. How does a person who once studied journalism get into design? And how can design help us better understand content?


Jeff Greenspan — April 30, 2018

Jeff Greenspan is a designer and a stand-up comic based in New York City. He once quit a job after fifteen minutes. This episode is about how design can be used to convey ideas powerfully and emotionally.


Emily Oberman — April 19, 2018

Emily Oberman is a partner in international design firm Pentagram’s New York City office. She has worked with everyone from Jimmy Fallon to DC Entertainment to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and believes design can change the world.