Inspiration for graphic designers can come from anywhere at any time. And it can take many forms; a subtle interaction sparking a new way of thought, research taking you down a path seldom explored. And sometimes it comes in the form of watching other designers pursue their craft with diligence and perseverance. This post aims to inspire through the latter. Here are the 12 must-see films for every graphic designer.
When available the full movie is embedded.
Sheridan College students, teachers, and artists present their views and thoughts on the art of illustration.
ART & COPY (2009)
Art & Copy is a documentary about the advertising industry in the U.S. It covers the biggest players and the biggest campaigns ever to run in America. Campaigns included: “Just Do It”, “I Love New York”, Where’s the Beef?”, “I Want My MTV”, Got Milk?”, and “Think Different”.
Bauhaus: The Face of the Twentieth Century(1994)
Bauhaus: The Face of the Twentieth Century follows the Bauhaus school from its creation to its closure. Founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, the documentary weaves the political situation in Germany during World War I with art, architecture, and design ideology that it was pushing forward.
Design and Thinking (2012)
Design & Thinking is a documentary exploring “design thinking” as a concept and how it impacts society and business. Tim Brown, Roger Martin, Bill Moggridge, David Kelley, and other leading design thinkers are included in the discussion.
Design Is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli (2012)
This documentary covers the life and work of Lella & Massimo Vignelli. It examines everything from graphics to interiors to products and corporate identities. If you want a glimpse of high-quality work in the world of graphic design, this is it. Everything the Vignelli’s touched changed for the better..
EAMES: The Architect and The Painter (2011)
Covers the life and work of the industrial designer Charles and Ray Eames. Narrator: James Franco..
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary by Banksy, the famous street artist. It tells the story of Thierry Guetta, a French immigrant in L.A., and his obsession with street art.
Every list regarding graphic design movies starts and ends with Helvetica. American filmmaker, Gary Hustwit takes on telling the story of Helvetica’s place in typographic lore while firmly placing it in the typeface that all others are compared to. Hustwit interviews some of the world’s most well-known designers and typographers to understand how and why Helvetica is the face of typography.
As the second documentary on this list by Gary Hustwit, Objectified takes on the massive subject of manufacturing and the art and design that lies within. In it he explores the everyday objects and the consumer’s relationship to it.
The third film on this list by Gary Hustwit, Rams is the most recent film on the list as well. Released in 2018, Rams delves into the work and life of industrial designer, Dieter Rams. Rams is most widely known for his work with Braun. Rams was also instrumental in his influence of Jony Ive, the former Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc..
The Man Behind the Poster (2013)
The Man Behind the Poster is a documentary that showcases the life and work of poster artist Drew Struzan. Struzan was considered one of the greatest poster artist of his time. Movie titles he has created for include, Coming to America, Blade Runner, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, First Blood, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and many, many more.
The final film on this list is also the final film by Gary Hustwit on the list. In Urbanized, Hustwit discusses the design of cities and urban communities. He takes an comprehensive look into the issues that architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers run into in city planning and building the infrastructure for the masses.
Inspiration comes in many forms. If you don’t have time to see all of the 12 must-see films for every graphic designer, check out the list of 15 websites i go to for design inspiration. It’s a quick read that should lead to a burst of creative inspiration for a long time to come.