Ever wonder how inflatable men came to be regular fixtures at used car lots? Curious about the origin of the fortune cookie? Want to know why Sigmund Freud opted for a couch over an armchair?

99% Invisible is about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world. With over 400 million downloads, 99% Invisible is one of the most popular podcasts on iTunes and is available on RadioPublic, via RSS and through other apps.

99% Invisible started as a project of KALW public radio and the American Institute of Architects in San Francisco. Originally, host and creator Roman Mars produced 99% Invisible from his bedroom. Roman Mars is also a founding member of the podcast collective, Radiotopia.

While Mars has since upgraded from his bedroom digs to a studio behind his house and an office shared with 99pi’s wonderful staff (in beautiful downtown Oakland, California), most of the equipment and production process remains the same.

We are a completely independent production. Funding comes directly from our phenomenally dedicated listeners, including our record-breaking Kickstarter campaign, and from podcast underwriters.

If you’d like to support our show, you can . If you’re wondering where to start listening, see the F.A.Q. below as well as staff favorites. Be sure to , too. And if you’re looking for specific series pages: check out Article of Interest as well as According to Need.

Our beautiful website, custom episode player and playlist system were created by the dynamic designer-and-developer duo known as Duck Brigade with help from Michael Waggoner and 99pi’s own Digital Director, Kurt Kohlstedt – you can read Kurt’s articles here.

And remember: always read the plaque!


Frequently Asked Questions

Where should I start listening? Guide me please!

Try starting with the ones below, or browse one of eight main categories (in the sidebar to the right). But, really, all of the past episodes are evergreen (that’s radio lingo for “they are never pegged to any date or time”) and they never repeat. So you should subscribe and then immediately download all the back episodes. You will be glad you did. Each episode gets better and better, no matter if you go backwards or forwards. It is amazing and impossible, but also true. Explore the archives or go see our staff favorites.

Can I pitch a story to 99% Invisible?

Yes! We welcome pitches and love hearing from our listeners. Got a great idea you’d like to share? Get in touch on our contact form!

How can I support the show?

We are very thankful for our loyal listeners. You beautiful nerds make this all possible! There are many ways to support 99% Invisible.

and can assure you that your contribution will be put to good use. Buying 99% Invisible merchandise via our online store or getting a copy of our book is really helpful and appreciated, too!

You can also help support the show by spreading the word within your community. Please invite your friends, family and everyone you know (seriously, everyone) to listen, and be sure to share your favorite episodes online. We also encourage you to review 99% Invisible on iTunes.

A kind word can go a long way, and every little bit helps!

How can we air an episode of the show?

If you are a content manager at a radio station and would like to air an episode of 99pi, go here for standardized versions (4.5 minutes) or here for director’s cut versions (generally between 10 and 25 minutes). Contact us if you can’t find what you need.

What was it like to bootstrap the show?

Everything was originally located in Roman’s bedroom: “I *ahem* strategically keep clothes strewn around and pile papers and books to make the room soft and free from echo. My desk is next to the closet, so I took the door off and replaced it with a curtain. You don’t need nice stuff or a studio. You just need to work. If you are picturing me as Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV, working out in a Siberian cabin by chopping wood, while the evil Ivan Drago uses the state of the art facility and gets pumped full of steroids, that’s exactly how it is.”

What do the symbols on the 99pi challenge coin mean?

Get to know the stories behind the icons on the back of our challenge coin (clockwise starting at the top) by listening to Vexillionaire, The Fancy Shape, Good Bread, Perfect Security, U.T.B.A.P.H, Octothorpe, O-U-I-J-A and A Cheer for Samuel Plimsoll. And, from the front: Always Read the Plaque (Coin Check). Special thanks to designer Helen Tseng!

What are some other great podcasts?

Yes, we are also obsessed with podcasts. If you need some recommendations, you have come to the right place. Here are some of our favorites.