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The Designers’ Documentary Guide: Our Top 15

More than teaching you anything about Design, the documentaries listed below teach something about people — how they behave, what motivates them and how they shape art and culture at the same time they are shaped by it. Design can be done by anyone in their respective field of interest and passion. It is just about the way you conduct your ideas and hopefully these documentaries will inspire you as well.

Abstract (Netflix)

Each episode of Abstract follows the journey of a different designer across a whole spectrum of fields.  It currently has two seasons out on Netflix, and covers topics from computer design to shoe design, typography. Covering amazing individuals who have changed the way they interact with their creativity and design themselves. 

Check out the trailer below:

Objectified (Netflix)

The object is only as good as the design, and once man interferes with a natural product that immediately becomes design. This documentary explores the relationship we as consumers have with manufactured objects and the designers who created them. Diving into depth of different products and what impacted their creation, their growth and their designer. It explores the relationship that designers have with products and truly gives you perspective to appreciate the nuances of good design.

Check out the trailer below:

Design Disruptors

InVision explores the human side of good design and how this is impacting the global economy and the whole world of consumption. This documentary explores the new type of company, the disruptive companies -those that see a new truth: Design is HUMAN – the connection between the product and the user is understood differently by these companies and this documentary will show you exactly how.

Check out the trailer:

Helvetica

What did Helvetica tell you today? – Typography is everywhere, covering the world all around us: but do you even notice it? It blends seamlessly into your everyday life: Helvetica. This documentary will open your eyes to the power of fonts, and really change the way you walk down the streets for the next couple of weeks. 

Watch the trailer:

 Urbanized

 Have you ever wondered how the cities around you are built? What are the forces that drive and dream up what a modern urban setting looks like? This is the deep dive into understanding the nuances and decisions made behind the streets we walk down every day. 

Watch the trailer:

Indie Game:  The Movie 

In the era of video games, augmented reality and VR spurring to the frontline we need to know where they came from. This documentary follows the journey of Indie Game developers who create games and release them out into the world. Throughout the documentary, you come to appreciate the characters as parts of the designer and gain insight into this fascinating field. 

Watch the trailer:

Exit Through the Giftshop

Ever wonder how street art comes to life? In this artistic rendering (faux documentary) of bringing his works to life an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. Though this documentary promised more to Banksy fans than what some believe it gave, it captures the essence of street art culture and will break your mind free for a while. 

Watch the trailer:

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Netflix)

Getting to be known as the very best in a field you have dedicated your whole life to can you imagine anything more fulfilling? Jiro has mastered the art of sushi, earning him a top place in the world’s rank, and the highest of Michelin ranks. Take a trip into Jiro’s dreams and follow the craft that goes into the little piece of heaven between your chopsticks.

Watch the trailer:

PressPausePlay

This documentary takes a look at how the digital revolution of the last decade has impacted mass culture. The unprecedented accessibility to the market of music, videos and content creation has changed the way masses are processing culture. Does democratized culture mean better art, film, music and literature or is true talent instead flooded and drowned in the vast digital ocean of mass culture? Is it cultural democracy or mediocrity? In a quest to answer these questions PressPausePlay interview the worlds most influential creators of the digital era. 

Watch the trailer:

Design & Thinking

Exploring the idea of design thinking, interviewing the leading design thinkers in the world such as the likes of  Tim Brown, Roger Martin, Bill Moggridge, and  David Kelley.  This documentary grabs businessmen, designers, social change-makers and individuals to show what design thinking can do in all streams of life and economic ventures to show the direction we are heading in this ambiguous 21st century.

Watch the trailer:

Gucci: The Director

This documentary dives deep into the family past of Gucci, tracing the history of the family and the company through its humble beginnings through their success and downfall, and their rebirth under the new owners. 

Watch the trailer:

Art & Copy

A powerful movie about the art of advertisement, and inspiration. It is a fascinating look inside an industry that has sold much more than products themselves; they have sold ideas, emotions, desires and lifestyles. This film focuses on traditional advertising largely ignoring the explosion of digital advertising, which some consider a downside, while others view it as a beautiful tribute to our roots.

Watch the trailer:

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry

The first feature-length documentary about the internationally renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The documentary chronicles the lie of artist/activist Ai Weiwei as he clashes with the Chinese government over his latest exposition. A documentary with a human touch, showing you how design and art transcend into the world of politics and what artistic influence can speak to. 

Watch the trailer: 

Sign Painters

The world is now dominated by computer-generated signage – how are those who still work the craft with their hand maintaining relevance in today’s world? This is what this incredibly interesting documentary shows us.  Take a closer look into the past, present and hopeful future of the hand-painted sign industry in the USA.

Watch the trailer:

To inform & Delight 

Best known for co-founding New York MAgazine and the I Love NY campaign, Milton Glaser is to many the personification of American Graphic Design. This movie directed by Wendy Keys explores Glacer´s personal life and gives you glimpses of his humanity and boundless depths of creativity and knowledge.  You can watch the whole movie here.

Laura Brazay

Laura Brazay

Digital branding specialist with experience in social media strategy, and a background in Business Administration, who sees life in the full spectrum of colours. I spend my free time taking long walks exploring the city with my pup.

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