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5 Great Must See Movies for Designers

5 Great Must See ...

Ah, the holidays.

It’s a lot of fun kicking back at your parents’ house until, well... it’s not so much fun.

There’s a blizzard outside, Uncle Joe has fallen asleep in the EZ Chair, and mom and dad are STILL arguing about who forgot to buy cream of mushroom soup for the casserole....

Now is the perfect time to settle in with a great movie on design. You know, something only a designer might appreciate.

Start watching one now, before Uncle Joe wakes up and begs you to play Yahtzee.



Whichever side of the Helvetica debate you’re on, this is a great go-to film on typography, graphic design, and visual culture.

Our favorite comment about the movie on its YouTube trailer? “Comic Sans could be a great horror movie.”

Available for download at filmmaker Gary Hustwit's site

Which actually brings us to our next recommendation:


Comic Sans: The Man Behind the World’s Most Contentious Font

Yes, the font that needs no introduction. As we’ve said before,If you’ve ever wondered who could have unleashed such depravity (and can stomach seeing Comic Sans in action), this video is certainly worth a watch.

It’s like Krampus for designers.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


Art and Copy

The star-studded cast pretty much helps this film sell itself.

  • Lee Clow
  • Dan Wieden and David Kennedy
  • Phyllis K. Robinson
  • Hal Riney
  • Mary Wells
  • George Lois
  • Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby

This documentary has been called by some “an advertisement for advertisements.”

Which we don’t necessarily think is such a bad thing.

Available on iTunes


If you’d rather shy away from the glitz and the glam this holiday season, slow things down with Sign Painters. This documentary follows more than two dozen craftsmen who still work (or have retired from working) on signs by hand.

If you have no idea what the creative world was like before HTML or long for those good ol’ timey days, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Available at the filmmaker's site



Abstract: The Art of Design

Not quite a one-off (sorry), Abstract is an eight-episode Netflix documentary series on creativity co-produced by WIRED’s editor-in-chief Scott Dadich.

It’s about the visionary designers who shape the world—from illustration to architecture, cars to typography. Think Chef’s Table for creatives.

Start with stage designer Es Devlin (2012 Olympics closing ceremony) and see what you think. If you’re hooked, we recommend following up with designer Paula Scher (MOMA, The Metropolitan Opera) and

illustrator Christoph Niemann (New Yorker and NY Times).

Available on Netflix

Have just a LITTLE more time?

Check out three short films (as in less than three minutes apiece) we produced in partnership with the Webby Awards.

"The Work That Made Me," are interviews with top creatives on the projects and experiences that shaped their professional lives.



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