Sometimes there’s nothing better than sitting down to watch a good documentary to educate and inspire us.

As designers it’s important to keep our creativity stimulated, and exposing ourselves to the stories behind culture-changing ideas and world class innovators can be just the ticket to keep us going.

Whether you’re looking for a film about font or the tale of a generation-defining poster artist, we’ve got something here for you. The only prerequisite is that you have a creative mind and a love of all things aesthetic.

So without further adieu, here are 7 excellent documentaries for designers.


A documentary about our favourite typeface? Count us in. 

This film is about typography, design, and its place in the visual culture. Of course its heavily focussed on Helvetica, but beyond that it encourages us to consider typography in general and how it permeates our daily lives.

Available to buy or rent on Amazon and iTunes. 

Abstract: The Art of Design

This documentary-series is for anyone who likes to get inside the minds of industry experts and top-level innovators. 

Season 1 features eight 40-minute episodes, each following a leading designer from a different industry. From illustrators and architects to graphic designers and photographers, Abstract has something to inspire every kind of aesthetically-inclined  creative. 

Available on Netflix

Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight

Milton Glaser’s famous “Dylan” image featured on our recent list of favourite pop art designs. So it’s only fitting that a documentary on his life and work should feature here too.

Glaser’s career has been hugely influential, and the ripple effect of his creative output can still be seen today. The I ♥️ New York campaign, and the co-founding of New York Magazine, are just two marks of his remarkable legacy.

Available to rent or buy on Vimeo.

Drew: The Man Behind the Posters

Even if you’ve never heard of Drew Struzan, you’ll certainly know his work. Notable among his 150+ movie poster designs are Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Star Wars.

This documentary is a tribute to Struzan’s prolific and immensely influential career. Featuring interviews with the likes of Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Guillermo del Torro, it’s one to check out!

Available to rent or buy on Amazon and iTunes.  Trailer:

Sign Painters

The reality is that these days the world of design is dominated by the digital landscape. And it’s not only on our laptops and smartphones, but also in our cities too. More and more digital screens are replacing traditional physical posters and billboards, and with them an entire branch of designers, the sign painters, are dying out.

Sign Painters takes a close look at the world of hand-painted signs and their creators as it is in the USA. Featuring true artisans of the craft, and looking at both the past and future of the industry.

Available to rent or buy on Amazon and iTunes. Trailer:

Print the Legend 

From hand-painted signs to 

Turning our gaze from hand-painted signs to the technological revolution, Print the Legend gives us a glimpse of where the creative industries may be heading in the future.

The job of a designer is to innovate, communicate, and navigate the waves of technological change. And just as home computers changed the workings of the industry, so too could 3D printing have enormous implications for the way designers operate. So, though it may not be a documentary exclusively about graphic design, its subject matter is something that all designers and creatives should be aware of. 

Available on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes. 

Design The New Business

How does design affect business, and how does business affect design? This film looks at the interconnectedness of the modern world, and explores the ways in which the design and advertising industry is shifting with the times.

Available on Vimeo.  Trailer:

No time for films?

We hope you enjoyed our list. It’s by no means exhaustive, we know, but it’s a start!

And if you’re in the mood for something a little lighter that requires a smaller investment of time, why not check out the 14 must-see Ted Talks for designers and creatives?