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5 Films About Graphic Design

It’s always nice when filmmakers are able to craft a movie that’s not only thematically compelling but also a feast for the eyes. But then there are also those films that are about graphic design, from documentaries that delve deep into its history and evolution to fictional stories that showcase the creative process behind iconic designs. Whether you’re a graphic designer or a fan of fonts and color palettes, this list of 5 films will provide a wide range of cinematic experiences for graphic design enthusiasts.

Graphic design is not just important because it helps you achieve technical goals, from creating something that’s visually appealing to using the Mac resize image picture editor Luminar Neo, with straightforward controls and cutting-edge technologies, to save some time. Professional or amateur graphic designers may easily enhance and modify their photos using these tools. Graphic design is important because it makes communication so much easier, conveying so much information and ideas with mere glances.

So let’s take a look at 5 films about graphic design, from box office hits to lesser known documentaries!

1. Air (2023)

loud and clear reviews air
The “Air Shoe” design in Air (MGM)

We know what you’re thinking: how is Ben Affleck’s latest film connected to graphic design? On paper, Air is about the history of Nike’s Air Jordan shoes, but much more happens in this great biopic to make it a must watch for graphic design fans. Air begins when Nike employee Sonny (Matt Damon) is tasked with finding basketball players who will become the new faces of the company, who is about to launch a new line of shoes. But at the time, Nike wasn’t really known for its basketball division, and competitors like Adidas and Converse were much stronger, and therefore much more likely to get the big names to sign with them. And, on top of this, Sonny’s budget is much lower than theirs.

But Sonny is a determined man, and he has a very good feeling about a young basketball player named Michael Jordan (Damian Young). And so, our shoe salesman manages to get in touch with the boy’s parents (Viola Davis and Julius Tennon) and agent, until a meeting is eventually arranged. Which is exactly when graphic design comes into play, as the Nike team needs to present Michael with something that stands out from all the other pitches he’s received from these much bigger companies. Soon, we are introduced to a certain design legend named Peter Moore (Matther Maher), who, in the few scenes he has, manages to give us an enthralling lesson on branding that will empower you and move you deeply.

2. Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

Exit Through the Gift Shop Trailer (Paranoid Pictures)

Remember when Banksy used to be incredibly secretive and about their work? While the England-based street artist’s identity remains anonymous to this day, Banksy has become less mysterious about the art itself, so much so that they directed a documentary that is actually pretty great. Exit Through the Gift Shop is more about art than it is about graphic design, but it’s still a remarkable autobiographical work that is bound to give you not only insight into Banksy’s work – tackled with the perfect dose of irony – but also plenty of visual inspiration. At the center of it all are Banksy and LA-based French cameraman Thierry Guetta, who is obsessed with Banksy’s work. If you’re looking for a movie with plenty of modern art and some commentary about reality and illusions, Exit Through the Gift Shop is the right film for you.

3. Helvetica (2007)

loud and clear reviews Helvetica (Swiss Dots)
Helvetica (Swiss Dots)

If you’ve ever met anyone who’s into graphic design, you’ll probably know that the infamous Helvetica font is often a topic of discussion. In this charming 2007 documentary, director Gary Hustwit explores the origins of the font and tries to understand the reasons for its popularity, looking at the effect and ubiquity of the Helvetica typeface in our everyday lives.

Featuring interviews with various designers like Massimo Vignelli, Erik Spiekermann, and Stefan Sagmeister, the documentary is a little bit too long and doesn’t always stay on track, but it’s also a fascinating look at something non-designer don’t often pay attention to that sheds light on the importance of typography in a visual conversation. And if you liked Helvetica, don’t forget to check out Gary Hustwit’s Objectified (2009), which explores objects and their respective designers.

4. Logorama (2009)

Logorama (Animatic)

This 2009 animated short from François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy and Ludovic Houplain is only 16 minutes long, but it’s worth watching for its absolutely bonkers premise. In the film, we follow an armed criminal who is being chased by the police in Los Angeles – only, this version of Los Angeles is not the one we know. In Logorama, one of the most well-known US cities is transformed in a place that is made entirely of logos, which are incorporated creatively into every single frame. This makes Logorama a very fun watch that you’ll want to rewind over and over again just to take everything in.

5. Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production (2017)

loud and clear reviews Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production (Relayer Films)
Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production (Relayer Films)

Here’s the rare graphic design documentary that is both informative and genuinely interesting. Briar Levit’s Graphic Means: A History of Graphic Design Production takes us back to when the desktop computer was invented, 30 years ago, which is also when designers started experimenting with the medium, using machines to create designs that, up till then, they would be doing by hand. The film mainly explores the evolution of graphic design as a craft, but it also looks at how the profession itself, and the role assumed by graphic designers, changed over the year as a consequence of progress and innovation. 

The 5 films listed above are bound to appeal to graphic designers and design enthusiasts, be they informative watches or fun flicks with a strong visual component. Whether you’re looking for inspiration or entertainment, these 5 movies should do the trick! Happy watching! 

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