Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

After a long day of hard work it’s time to relax and drown in your comfortable sofa. We often provide inspirational articles and showcases, but what about silver screen inspiration? I personally love documentaries and strongly believe that they educate you more than movies can. Duh, right? I felt so inspired after every single film, that I diligently made myself create something. Trust me, these films will have the same effect on you.

The following documentaries are very entertaining, but they also all teach you a good bit about design history, practical design theory, art, architecture and about some of the great designers of the past and today. I personally watched and judged all the documentaries presented in this article. I feel like they are perfectly targeted for our readers, and I highly recommend all seven. I guarantee you will enjoy these, and If you don’t, feel free to write us hate e-mail. Just kidding, enjoy!

Oh, and one more thing… All the documentaries listed are available for streaming on

1. Art & Copy: Inside Advertising’s Creative Revolution

art and copy documentary1 Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

Art & Copy is a powerful film about advertising and inspiration, by filmmaker Doug Pray. It reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time—people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry. I especially enjoyed the stories about how some famous campaigns came to be—”Where’s the Beef?,” “Got Milk,” “Just Do It,” and “Think Different?”

2. Helvetica

helvetica11 Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture, produced and directed by Gary Hustwit. Since it’s birth in 1957, the ubiquitous Helvetica typeface has woven itself into the fabric of our culture—from coffee cups to corporate signage, subways to TV shows. This documentary tells the story behind the typeface and covers the controversy around its use today. Interviews with renowned designers adds insight to their creative processes while starting a conversation about how type affects our lives and greater world.

3. Exit Through the Gift Shop

banksy gift shop1 Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

Amateur filmmaker Thierry Guetta’s project to chronicle the underground world of street art takes a fascinating twist when he meets Banksy, an elusive British stencil artist, in this Independent Spirit Award winner for Best Documentary. Unimpressed with Guetta’s footage, Banksy takes over filmmaking duties while Guetta reinvents himself as a street artist and — much to Banksy’s surprise — instantly becomes a darling of the Los Angeles art scene.

4. The Modernism of Julius Shulman

3071 Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

Filmmaker Eric Bricker directs this fascinating documentary about the life and times of architectural photographer Julius Shulman, whose work is known for helping to launch the careers of giants like Rudolf Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright. With insight from fellow architects Frank Gehry, Ricardo Legorreta and Shulman himself, Bricker’s effort illuminates the legendary artist’s gift for capturing space, form and design. A must watch for architectural enthusiasts.

5. Beautiful Losers

beautiful losers1 Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

In this absorbing documentary, filmmaker Aaron Rose explores the world of a group of underground artists who began influencing areas from fashion and film to music and pop culture in the early 1990s. With outsider art elements such as graffiti, skateboarding and street music, these mavericks redefined creativity. Interviews with Shepard Fairey, Margaret Kilgallen, Barry McGee, Jo Jackson and others shed light on this remarkable movement.

6. Objectified

objectified1 Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

Discover how manufactured objects that surround us such as cars, phones and chairs influence our daily lives with this revealing documentary, which features top industrial designers discussing their creative processes and professional objectives. Director Gary Hustwit (Helvetica) explores not only how objects get made, but also why they make us feel the way they do and how they can make our world better.

7. Bomb It

bomb it Lucky 7: Must See Documentaries for Designers

Graffiti isn’t simple vandalism; it’s an artistic expression employed around the world. Filmmaker Jon Reiss travels five continents to reveal graffiti’s history, cultural impact and social relevance. Noted artists share their stories, bringing this vital form of expression out of the shadows. It’s on freeway overpasses, buildings and billboards. Now, see the real meaning of the world’s graffiti.

Check out our previous minimalism based articles!

  • Minimal Marvel Posters by Marko Manev
  • One Object Movie Minimalism by Pascal Richon
  • 70 Powerful Examples of Minimal Movie Poster Designs
  • 35 Free Clean and Useful Minimal WordPress Themes
  • 55 Examples of Minimalistic Web Design

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