10 films suggestions for aspiring designers

Many filmmakers are intrigued by the graphic elements that build our lives. Generally, this curiosity leads to the development of films that combine different interpretations of industrial design, graphics and sound . These documentaries act as an opportunity for renowned designers to explain and discuss their inspirations and influences.

If typefaces, visual culture and graphic design are topics that interest you, this compilation of movies will interest you greatly. Between the Design trilogy, the famous group of films dedicated to design, and the always fascinating Vignellis will inspire you and put you on your path to having brave, new ideas.

1. Helvetica

Helvetica is an independant documentary about how design and fonts affect people in today’s world. The film (first part of the Design Trilogy) focuses its attention on cities, their spaces, typefaces and how it all mashes together in culture and design. Helvetica touches upon all things design, advertising, psychology, and communication. This film, directed by Gary Hustwit may just change the way you see words.

2. Linotype

The Film focuses on the Linotype casting machine and how it changed the world. This machine, invented by the prolific genius, Thomas Edison, was considered the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The documentary’s narrative revolves the human side of the machine’s profound effect on the Western world.

The Linotype casting machine affected its users in a similar way as the Internet is affecting us: radically on a revolutionary scale. However, like most technologies, the machine was out-innovated and would eventually become archaic. Today, very few machines can be found.

3. The Art of Logo Design

The Art of Logo Design by PBS Off Book, is a terrific look at what goes on behind the scenes of logo design that. This video offers us a new perspective on some of the famous and recognizable logos that we have come to know. Working with such a limited space and canvas, many would think that logo design is a tedious and numbing exercise, and many would be wrong.

4. Urbanized

Urbanized, also directed by Gary Hustwit, is a documentary that explores urban design, looking at the challenges and complexities behind city based design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, and thinkers.

5. Typeface

Typeface is about visual culture, technology and graphic design, all revolving Wisconsin’s Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. Typeface drills down on the relationship between artists and craftsmen and how they navigate modern design and traditional technique in an increasingly demanding world.

6. Design is One

Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world’s most beloved and talented designers. They still live up to their modo, ‘If you can’t find it, design it.’ The work is so broad and diverse that one could say the Vignellis have mastered it all. From graphics to interior design and corporate art, the film invites us into the living room and worksop of the Vignellis to witness their creativity first hand.

7. The Universal Art of Graphic Design

The Art of Logo Design, by PBS Off Book, is a terrific video that goes on to consider the actual thought, and artistic thinking, that can go into many of the logo and symbol designs that we view every single day. A video presentation like this is a nice way to better appreciate the true value of a well thought out logo design. Now we need to get this video out there, like proper out there, so that as many people as possible—and I’m thinking potential people/companies considering a new logo design—can soak it all up.

8. Design and Thinking

This documentary asks businessman, designers, and individuals to find common ground when confronted with the strange and borderless twenty first century. The film asks what design thinking is, how business models make use of it, or fail to, and how design blind people can become conscious of things they’ve never even conceived of.

9. Objectified

Objectified examines how objects affect human lives and the people who design them. This film is also directed by Gary Hustwit. The film is the second part in the 3 part Design Trilogy series.

10. Art & Copy

ART & COPY is a documentary about advertising without the glamourization and embellishment of Mad Men. Directed by Doug Pray (SURPRISE, SCRATCH, HYPE!), art & Copy explores the work and minds of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time. The influencers in this documentary were some of the thinkers behind “Just Do It,” “I Love NY,” “Where’s the Beef?,” “Got Milk,” “Think Different,” and many other brilliant campaigns.

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