99% Invisible is a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.


The show started life as a project of KALW public radio in San Francisco and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. We are distributed by PRX on PRX Remix and public radio stations around the country.


We are a completely independent production and raise all of our funds directly from the listeners, most notably from our record breaking Kickstarter campaign, and from podcast underwriters.


Praise for 99% Invisible


“99% Invisible…is completely wonderful and entertaining and beautifully produced…”
-Ira Glass, This American Life


“We think what he’s doing is inspiring. It has a kind of rhythm and musicality that you don’t normally find in radio or podcast storytelling.”
-Jad Abumrad, Radiolab


“Roman Mars lights the radio. His pieces conjure other worlds, grapple with big ideas, make sound three dimensional. They are smart and funny and original. The Kitchen Sisters would like to be Presidents of his Fan Club.”
-The Kitchen Sisters, Peabody Award-winning producers for NPR


“I love the show. It’s wonderful. [It] actually reminded me of why I love radio.”
-Jonathan Goldstein, CBC’s WireTap


“Mars is the Ira Glass of design.”
-Allison Arieff, design columnist for The New York Times



RomanMars at Desk Aug2012 web

Roman Mars (@romanmars) is the creator of 99% Invisible, a short radio show about design and architecture. With over 17 million downloads, the 99% Invisible podcast is one of the most popular programs on iTunes. Fast Company named him one of 100 Most Creative People in 2013. The 2012 season 3 fund raising campaign for 99% Invisible broke all previous records for a journalism project on Kickstarter. He is also the host and program director of PRX Remix, a 24-hour, innovative public radio story stream broadcast on XM 123 and public radio stations across the country.



Sam Greenspan (@samlistens) left his job as a staff producer at NPR to work out of a tiny room in Roman’s back yard. His pursuit of a good story has lead him to debate the merits capitalism waist-deep in a dumpster, talk street soccer with displaced Palestinians in Brazil, and investigate claims of secret music inside of public transit systems. (Twice.) He has lived and made radio across the eastern seaboard, and now resides in Oakland. Hear more at samgreenspan.net.


katie for 99 website

Katie Mingle has lived on the Gulf Coast, the East Coast, the Third Coast, and has finally come to settle on the West Coast (Oakland). She comes to 99% Invisible from the Third Coast Festival, where she spent a few years producing Re:sound, eating tacos, and shivering. You can hear more of her stories at her website, katiemingle.com




Avery Trufelman (@trufelman) thought she wanted to be a designer, but nah, she’d rather make radio stories about design. An obsessive podcast listener, Avery was a fan of 99% Invisible long before she became the show’s assistant producer. She moved from New York to Berkeley and her favorite font is the official typeface of Sweden, Sweden Sans.


52 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Roman,

    It took me a while, but I finally finished to listen to all of your podcasts.
    Thanks for all your hard work, I’ve learn a lot and it inspired me to create more and better.

    When after listen to 5 podcasts I decided I wanted to listen to them all and write you I imagined a much more elegant message.
    I’m sorry.
    If you ever came to Portugal, you’ve a friend.

    I’ll be around, listening.
    Thanks again,

  2. I just listened to you (Roman Mars) on NPR. I have listened to one of your podcasts since I got home and I like the “feel” of your “style” or your “angle”, if that makes any sense. I plan on listening to you guys on a regular basis now. If you ever want to do some stories about poverty in Columbus, (C-bus) Ohio I would love to work with you. Thank you for guys for being who you are. Maybe someday we can become 99 percent visible. :) D.C.

  3. You and your show are with me when I am pulling weeds, cooking, baking, or just sitting in my favorite macramé chair while hanging in the mountains of Southern Colorado. Sometimes I laugh out, and sometimes I have to gather my thoughts and reflect. Thank you for the program…what a marvelous discovery!
    Best regards,
    P.S. Your sons sound awesome too.

  4. Although I dread the day I have to wait for new episodes, I literally cannot stop listening to this show. I think I’m averaging 2.5 episodes a day, so I’ve got about a three weeks before I run out of archive.

    Thanks for the great work.

  5. I just discovered your show, and website, so I’m a little euphoric, but….finally, the internet realized.

    Aside from the actual podcasts, and from feeling like I just discovered radio all over again, I love the fact that I can go anywhere on your website without disconnecting from whatever episode I happen to be listening to. And the photo galleries and videos you routinely link to are just incredible.

  6. I also love your show and its joy of finding wonder in new and old things.

    I just listened to some of your stories about memorials and to always reading the plaque, which made me think about a really big but quit invisible war memorial -
    I don’t know how famous the “Stolpersteine” outside of Germany are… Imagine a plaque or a memorial not at one place but all over the city. Stolpersteine are small golden stone blocks inserted into the walkways. They don´t jump out at you, but sometimes you walk down a street in Berlin, you look down, and in the ground is a little golden square – and engraved in it for example that in the house beside this street lived a Jewish family, murdered in Auschwitz.
    It’s just such a beautiful, quiet and simple idea. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolperstein

    • Clare — I was unaware of stolpersteine and am very moved by the idea and it’s implementation so many places. I travel to Amsterdam now for work and stay with a friend in Anne Frank’s neighborhood. I think of her when I hear the bells from the church tower near her hiding place. But to be reminded of all of these people who were persecuted throughout Europe is very powerful.

  7. Hi Roman and co.
    Congratulations, you and all your crew. Your recording creations are wonderful. I only recently discovered them and so, I have many hours of 99%I listening to look forward to. We love our radio in Ireland and might you be tempted to collaborate on an episode with Irish content at some stage? You will find us to be great listeners and talkers on any subject.
    Please keep up the enchantingly interesting work.
    With very best wishes to you, all involved in 99% Invisible and your all loved ones.
    Frank McGrath

  8. Hi Roman, Because English is my second language so sometimes I couldn’t catch up with you. Wouldn’t it be great if this site provide full transcript for each episode?

  9. Roman,

    i know you have heard this before but I wanted to say it anyway. The podcast is wonderful. It is is beautiful and stimulating and I am always so desperately sorry when it ends. On top of that it has actually changed my life. The episode on the Feltron annual report opened up a world of data visualization that had a HUGE impact on my career and happiness in my work. I can’t thank you enough for what you have brought forth. Things are better for it.

    marty S

  10. Greetings, Roman & all–The contribution I made to your extraordinary show is for you to keep, and is not contingent on meeting any goal. Thank you for making radio so smart. All my best! Siri Everett

  11. Hi Roman,
    Just donated at Kickstarter. Speaking for many out here in the female world, it would be AWESOME if you had the option of the same cool tee shirts in a women’s style. Men’s tee shirts suck for girls.
    Aside from that, you all totally rock.

  12. I finally got my butt in gear and kicked in to kickstarter. Can’t wait to get my T-shirt! I was reading plaques back in the day.

  13. When my sons were your sons’ age, we would talk about something as being “exceptionally cool.” Well! 99% Invisible qualifies. In fact, I am encountering so much coolness on your web broadcasts, I am overwhelmed with coolness! I face coolness gridlock! Aaaaah!

  14. Pingback: Un programa de radio que se financia con sus mecenas/oyentes | Crowdacy

  15. Hi Roman and Sam,

    I’m a big fan and I’m hyper local, here in Berkeley. I love your show, and hope to meet you some time. I just contributed to your kickstarter campaign. Keep up the great work! I’ve got about 5 episodes to go to have listened to them all so far. I’ll have a hard time waiting for the new weekly shows. Thank you for making the design world visible to non-designers, and for using your platform to highlight exciting projects and concepts that might otherwise remain unknown to many.

    While I’m here I’ll make a couple of shameless plugs (feel free to edit them out) for Metro Lighting, where we design and build lighting fixtures on San Pablo Avenue, and the West Berkeley Design Loop, a group of locally owned home improvement merchants. We’re hoping to spread the word that West Berkeley is the best place for retail home improvement shopping in the Bay Area.

    Lastly, I’d like to make sure you are aware of a couple of my favorite eccentric local architects and their work. Eugene Tsui is the architect of the “fish house” near San Pablo Park, and many other unusual biomorphic structures. And Daniel Liebermann who is building an amazing property in Inverness, but also designed my favorite Bay Area home, on Panoramic in Berkeley, a terraced hillside home with a sculptural tree-like roof structure.

  16. Pingback: So, You Want To Be A Rock n Roll Star (pt.2)? | Heartbreak A Stranger

  17. Hi 99%’ers.
    I was wondering why you dont distribute your podcasts as torrent files.
    By distributing your podcasts as torrents every single listener could be a redistributer which would heavily reduce bandwidth costs on your behalf.
    If you dont know bit torrent check this explanation video:

    kind regards -

  18. Excellent program! I’ve spread the word to my friends and have been supporting it through monthly deductions from my account.

    Unfortunately, I am on disability now, unable to work, and need to cancel the monthly payment. How do I contact your office to do this?

  19. If there is no way to “donate now”, you will certainly not get continuing donations. If you list no physical mailing address, you will receive no presents. If there is no place for comments, no one will pontificate. :-)

  20. Hi Roman,
    I love the show! I live in Oakland and just heard on your last podcast that you’ve moved your offices from across the bay. I’d love to buy you a beer some time. I work at the Layover Lounge and soon to open Lost & Found Beer Garden. Hope you come in some time.
    Best of luck with your show. It’s truly awe inspiring. I’ve been reading the plaques
    Sincerely Mac

  21. Here’s a show idea. Why is cheddar cheese orange? I know a google search would return the right answer, but the public needs the answer with 99% flair.

  22. Pingback: swordofscience | Podcast Roundup – Running Buddies

  23. Hey Roman,
    I just want to say that I absolutely love the show and say that I have listened to every single episode of 99% invisible. I just wish to point out that the demolition of the purple hotel features in the Samsung GALAXY Note 3 ad at around the 55 second mark, here’s a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nwuk90Gc2A

    99% invisible has opened my eyes to the world around me I am now noticing things that I would have never noticed without this podcast. Thank you!

  24. I wanted to say thanks! I found the show around the basketball shot clock episode and have been listening ever since. I’ve always had an interest in design and 99% invisible sheds so much light on the world of design around us. I’m looking forward to this season’s weekly episodes! Keep up the great work, it goes much enjoyed and appreciated!
    And at the end of Episode 100, where you pronounced your choice words for Chrysler, had me laughing out loud! He had it coming though.
    Thanks again!

  25. Roman! I don’t know who else to reach out to about this. MOMA is planning to tear down the former folk art museum building by Todd Williams and Billie Tsien Architects in NYC – this is an absolute travesty! Please help – this cannot happen!!!

  26. Pingback: Radiotopia Explores New Model for Sustainability in Digital-First Radio Programming | Idea Lab | PBS

  27. Pingback: 14 Podcasts to Help You Forget About Your Crummy Commute : MGTEKNS

  28. Roman, Sam, and Avery… truly truly inspired work! I’m along time fan of TAL and Radiolab which led me to your wonderful podcast. Having listened to all of the episodes, I’ve decided I would love to get involved on some level. Any chance of a tour or impromptu photo shoot? I love taking portraits of Oakland residents and free thinkers. I’d love to volunteer other ways but figured a tour/photo would be a great way to reach out. In any case, you guys all rock

  29. Hello! Just thought fans of 99% invisible and roman et al. would be interested, amused and entertained by the recent welcome to night vale episode about numbers stations :)

  30. Pingback: Design Everyday

  31. H! I don’t consider myself a connoisseur of things artistic, but I’m a big fan of the show. It’s helped me think about and appreciate even the simplest design elements all around me. So imagine my surprise when, on a whim, I check out your website and find it… ugly. Is this what one calls “ironic”?

  32. Hahaha I think that was hysterical. This website isn’t very user friendly – if the site was anything like the podcast then your mind would be blown…

  33. Pingback: This is Radio – Roman Mars | The Howell Report

  34. Pingback: Heyoon | HowSound TEST

  35. Pingback: Meet Our Featured Speakers At SPARKS | The Art, Science + Business of Housing

  36. Hi Roman, Sam, and Avery,
    I’m the choreographer who met you all at the KALW member party, and I wanted to let you know that the dance piece I’m making based on the episode of The Memory Palace “o how we danced” is being performed next week in San Francisco! I’d love for you guys to come if you’re interested!
    Here’s the info:
    New Works by Maureen Whiting and Jessi Barber
    July 9th and 10th 8pm
    The Garage, 715 Bryant St. SF
    Tickets $15 at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/617975-jessi-barber-maureen-whiting-san-francisco/

    Here’s the facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/493135710819697/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

    Hope to see you there!

Leave a comment

Featured Posts