5 Documentaries Every Graphic Designer Should Watch

8 documentaries/films every graphic designer should watch

You may have heard, seen, or been recommended books on graphic design to help you with your career goals. But what if reading isn’t your thing or you just don’t have time to settle down and read a lengthy book

No worries, because in this blog post we will be talking about 5 documentaries or films that should be on every graphic designers watch list.

If you don’t enjoy reading or are on a tight schedule, you’ll love these films that you can watch wherever you are.

Table of Contents

8 documentaries/films every graphic designer should watch

Art & Copy

Art & Copy is a documentary focused on the advertising industry and interviewing very prominent people in the industry to gain a better sense of the ins and outs of the advertising industry itself.

This is a great pick for graphic designers who may want to go into designing for the advertising industry or for designers who are stuck and need tips on how/where to find inspiration.

The documentary was released in 2009 and is available on Amazon Prime Video.

Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight

For all of the biography lovers out there, this is the film for you. This film is about Milton Glaser, a very well-known name in the graphic design industry of America. He is known for being a co-founder of New York Magazine and the very popular “I Heart NY” design.

In this film, you will be able to watch his journey and take notes on the techniques he used to become the designer he is known as. This is yet another inspirational film that might just inspire you to create something unique and different.

So watch this film if you want to learn from the life of a successful designer who achieved great success from humble beginnings.

It is available on YouTube and Amazon Prime Video.

8 documentaries/films every graphic designer should watch


Something more catered to graphic design, Helvetica is a very popular documentary about the popular typeface Helvetica. You will learn about the history of this versatile typeface and watch exclusive interviews with experienced graphic designers.

This is the first part of the design trilogy by Gary Hustwit and is a favorite of graphic designers. Someone who experiments with different typefaces and uses them frequently in their designs would enjoy this documentary thoroughly. 

It is available on Amazon Prime Video.

If you’re interested in typeface and font work, check out our blog post about some of our favorite fonts for designers in 2020.


Objectified is another film in the design trilogy by Gary Hustwit. However, it is different from Helvetica because it is a documentary about the design process and its relationship with consumers that are ultimately affected by this process.

Although this does focus on industrial design, some of the same concepts and ideas can be applied to graphic design. The end product would be the design and the consumer would be the client.

This is a very informational film for a designer who wants to better understand the relationship between designers and their consumers, as well as the design process as a whole.

It is available on Amazon Prime Video as well as YouTube (for a fee).

8 documentaries/films every graphic designer should watch

Why Man Creates

If you’re looking to get your creative juices flowing, watch Why Man Creates by Saul Bass. It is an animated documentary about creativity and its history and nature. The documentary takes you through the history of human creativity and why humans create things.

It is very inspiring and especially so for creators like people in graphic design. Although it came out in 1968, several creatives are still able to connect with this documentary and its message today. 

If you are the type of person who loves to watch films that are very open to interpretation and often finds inspiration from these types of films, you should definitely check this out.

It is available on YouTube.


  • Art & Copy is a great documentary to watch if you’re interested in learning about the advertising industry aspect of design

  • Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight is a delightful biography on one of the greatest American graphic designers

  • Watch Helvetica to learn more about the typeface and the role o typeface in design

  • Objectified will familiarize you with the design process as a whole, as well as showcase the connection between the designer and his/her clients/consumers

  • If you want to know where it all began, watch Why Man Creates and be amazed by what you see


Make your quarantine more exciting with these documentaries/films to really bring out your inner designer. Each one is different and carries a different message, all of which you’ll want to find out.

So have fun and enjoy these documentaries/films over video call with your fellow designer friends or at home with your family.

Have you watched any of these films? Which one was your favorite? Comment down below!

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