69 Videos Every Designer Should Watch Design has a history; design shapes culture; design is creative; design is a process; design is helpful; and design is human. Whether you’ve two minute or two hours, there’s a video for you. History
The history of design can be approached from many angles. These videos delve into design at various points in history.
Bauhaus: The Face of the 20th Century (Trailer) The 1994 documentary Bauhaus: The Face of the 20 the Century traces the development of the Bauhaus movement from its formation in Weimar by Walter Gropius to the establishment of the Bauhaus School in Dessau to its last stand in a derelict factory in Berlin. Helvetica Gary Hustwit directs Helvetica — a film that celebrates this inescapable typeface’s history, the reasons for its pervasiveness and its universal appeal. It also explores how typography and graphic design impact our culture. The Genius of Design 1/5 (Ghosts in the Machine) The series tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution. The first episode shows the “appearance” of the design, alongside famous names such as Josiah Wedgwood and William Morris. It also explores the work of anonymous designers, responsible for classics and precursors projects. The Genius of Design 2/5 (Designs for Living) The series tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution. The second episode highlights some events that occurred in the 1920s and 1930s. The kitchen, the tubular steel furniture, the beginnings of Bauhaus…there is a brief account of the “modern movement” and the ways of consumption. The Genius of Design 3/5 (Blueprints for War) The series tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution. The third episode gives us a look at the rival war machines designed and built during World War II. The Genius of Design 4/5 (Better Living Through Chemistry) The series tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution. The fourth episode focuses on design as it enters the 50s and 60s, when a new material called plastic emerges. The Genius of Design 5/5 (Objects of Desire) The series tells the story of design from the Industrial Revolution. The fifth and final episode looks at the creativity that defined the “designer decades” of the 80s and early 90s. Culture
Design has shaped and continues to shape our every day. These videos offer a well-rounded exploration of how different facets of design have changed cultural landscapes.
Objectified (Trailer) Objectified is about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability. This film examines the complex relationships we have with manufactured objects and the designers who constantly reexamine, reevaluate and reinvent our manufactured environment. Art & Copy Directed by Doug Pray, Art & Copy is about advertising and inspiration focusing on some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time — behind-the-scenes artists and writers whose rebellious 1960s spirit profoundly impacted our culture. Design & Thinking What is ‘design thinking’? How is it applied in business models? How are creative minds changing the world? This documentary urges us to think about the changing business landscape and how more conventional minds can change and collaborate. Connecting: Makers Connecting: Makers is the second film in the Connecting series and it poses a big question: Why do we make? Our hyper-connected world is changing the nature of creativity to the point where everyone can be a maker. But with this change comes new responsibilities about digital transparency, cultural awareness and the role of the designer. The Future of Design in Architecture and Education Evan Bronstein explores Concepts: Smarter Sketching, an app that makes design accessible to everyone. Bronstein uses this app to teach 6–13 year-olds the basics of design and architecture on iPads at the St. Louis Center of Creative Arts. Off The Record In her documentary, Laura Sans interviews a range of creative professionals who work in motion, (graphic) design, and illustration. Organized in chapters, the film touches on technology, trends and artistic motivation in terms that are honest and inspiring. Designing to Learn Now that non-designers understand the value of design, we see an increased demand for design talent. In this talk, Leslie Jensen Inman sheds light on the massive gap between what students learn and what industry needs. This skills gap leaves graduates unable to find jobs and hiring companies unable to find talent; how we approach this challenge will affect the continued relevance and value of design. Designing for Humans (Accounting for Inclusivity and Accessibility) Over the last century, technology has advanced, empowered and enabled massive changes in the way we design, create, and produce objects of every size and shape. This short video asks: What’s all of this stuff for? How Designers Destroyed the World (Mike Monteiro) In this video, Mike Monteiro reminds us that we are directly responsible for what we put into the world. Yet every day designers all over the world work on projects without giving any thought or consideration to the impact that work has on the world around them. This needs to change. Michael Bierut, Graphic Designer In this episode of The Creative Influence, graphic designer Michael Bierut discusses his mentor Massimo Vignelli, how the internet has changed the way we do design work in the 20th century and what makes a logo endure. Pirates, Nurses and Other Rebel Designers In this ode to design renegades, Alice Rawsthorn highlights the work of unlikely heroes and draws a line from these bold thinkers to some early modern visionaries to show how the greatest designers are often the most rebellious. Why I Brought Pac-Man to MoMA When the Museum of Modern Art’s senior curator of architecture and design, Paola Antonelli, announced the acquisition of 14 video games in 2012, “all hell broke loose.” In this wide-ranging, entertaining and deeply insightful talk, Antonelli explains why she’s delighted to challenge preconceived ideas about art and galleries, and describes her desire to help establish a broader understanding of design. Treat Design as Art Paola Antonelli, design curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, wants to spread her appreciation of design — in all of its shapes and forms — around the world. Living with Complexity Don Norman is the leader in the application of human-centered design, known as one of the world’s most influential designers. In this video, Norman explains that all design is ultimately aimed at satisfying very human and societal needs. Urbanized (Trailer) Featuring some of the world’s best architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers, Urbanized explores the design of cities as well as the issues and strategies behind urban design. Design is One: Lella & Massimo Vignelli (Trailer) Directed by Kathy Brew and Roberto Guerra, Design is One brings us into the Vignellis’ world, capturing their intelligence, creativity, warmth, humor, and humanity. The Creative Process
From individual journeys to ones you take with others, creative processes always vary. These videos explore some of the countless ways that designers go about the creative process and things you can possibly incorporate into your own work.
The First Secret of Design is…Noticing Human beings tend to become complacent, quickly. Creeping complacency for designers, however, is an opportunity…one to make things better, but how? This funny and lighthearted talk with the man behind the iPod and the Nest thermostat shares some of his tips for noticing — and driving — change. Useful Uselessness in Graphic Design Harry Pearce of Pentagram talks about useful uselessness in Graphic Design. He excels in the creative process that leads to beautiful graphic design and, here, he shares how he owes it to more then just pen and paper. John Jay on Creativity John Jay — former Global Chief Creative Director of Wieden+Kennedy and current CD of W+K Garage — discusses creativity. Designing for Simplicity The MIT Media Lab’s John Maeda lives at the intersection of technology and art, a place that can get very complicated. Here he talks about paring down to basics. Build Better Products with Emotional Data Data isn’t just for beautiful visualizations, proving points or validating designs. For Sarah Henry, data can help us better understand our users and audiences which, in turn, can help us become more creative designers — think of data as a…brainstorming tool. Design and Discovery For sociologist and surfer-turned-designer David Carson, great design is a never-ending journey of discovery that is best accompanied by a healthy sense of humor. In this video, Carson walks through a gorgeous (and often quite funny) slide deck of his work and found images. Got a Wicked Problem? First, Tell Me How You Make Toast Making toast doesn’t sound very complicated — until someone asks you to draw the process, step by step. Tom Wujec loves asking people and teams to draw how they make toast, because the process reveals unexpected truths about how we can solve our biggest, most complicated problems at work. In this video, Wujec teaches us how to run this exercise and shares the surprising insights he has gleaned from watching thousands of people draw toast. Using Design to Make Ideas New Filmed in 1998, legendary graphic designer Milton Glaser dives deep into a new painting inspired by Piero della Francesca. From here, he muses on what makes a convincing poster by breaking down an idea and making it new. The Design Genius of Charles and Ray Eames The legendary design team Charles and Ray Eames made films, houses and classic midcentury modern furniture. Eames Demetrios, their grandson, shows rarely seen films and archival footage in a lively, loving tribute to their creative process. Life is in Beta Erik Spiekermann treats everything as a work in progress and believes that what we do defines who we are. Because everything is always in beta, we should constantly be thinking of rethinking design and redesigning thinking. In this video, Spiekermann proposes a series of strategies from his daily life. Tips & Resources
From studio spaces to stages, this section covers a wide range of design-related topics that you can make note of, learn from, put into action, and share with other designers.
Design for Realtime This talk suggests it is not enough to understand Meteor, React or Angular and emphasizes the importance of realtime design. In it, you’ll find 3 UX principles to help you master realtime and reactive systems. The 3 Ways Good Design Makes You Happy Do you know what a well-designed product must hit to succeed? Design critic Don Norman names 3 emotional cues that you need to consider. In this video, he turns his incisive eye toward beauty, fun, pleasure and emotion as he looks at design that makes people happy. Building Great Design Teams Want to make great products? Ask anyone and you’ll likely get the same answer: First, you’ll need to build a great team. Aarron Walter has the wisdom and know-how to build and nurture great teams after leading many of his own at MailChimp. In this talk, he tackles the skill seeking, personality sussing, and crystal ball gazing that are part and parcel of building a killer design team. Building Successful Teams with Evidence-Based Innovation and Design What can design teach us about building a collaborative culture? How do you structure a successful product design team? How should that team work? How will that team measure success? Jeff Gothelf offers practical, step-by-step, guidance on how to build and support successful product design innovation in your business through team makeup, process steps, structure, and corporate infrastructure. Cognitive Science and Design Alex Faaborg provides an in-depth look at human perception and cognition, and its implications for interactive and visual design. The human brain is purely treated as an information processing machine, and this video teaches us its attributes, its advantages, its limitations, and generally how to hack it. How Giant Websites Design for You (and a Billion Others, Too) Facebook’s “like” and “share” buttons are seen 22 billion times a day, making them some of the most-viewed design elements ever created. Margaret Gould Stewart, Facebook’s director of product design, outlines three rules for design at such a massive scale — one so big that the tiniest of tweaks can cause global outrage, but also so large that the subtlest of improvements can positively impact the lives of many. Design for All 5 Senses Good design looks great, yes — but why shouldn’t it also feel great, smell great and sound great? Designer Jinsop Lee (a TED Talent Search winner) shares his theory of 5-sense design, with a handy graph and a few examples. His hope: to inspire you to notice great multisensory experiences. The Art of First Impressions — In Design and Life We’re told not to judge books by their covers, but book designer Chip Kidd knows firsthand how often we do. In this hilarious, fast-paced talk, Kidd explains the two techniques designers use to communicate instantly — clarity and mystery — and when, why and how they work. 3 Ways to (Usefully) Lose Control of Your Brand Online chatter and spin mean that if you’re relevant, there’s a constant, free-form conversation happening about you that you have no control over. No longer can we control reputation. In this video, Tim Leberecht offers three big ideas about accepting that loss of control — even designing for it — and using it as an impetus to recommit to your values. How to Build Your Creative Confidence Are people in your school or workplace divided into “creatives” and “practicals”? David Kelley suggests that creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few. In this video, Kelley shares stories from his legendary design career and personal life, and offers ways to build the confidence to create. How to Overcome the 3 Fears Every Creative Faces There are three primary fears creatives face, according to artist, illustrator and author Christoph Niemann: not being good enough, our work being irrelevant, and running out of ideas. Niemann explains how these fears are very real, but that there are solutions we can apply to each. Everything You Need to Know About Design You Didn’t Learn in School Indeed, you learned a lot in school and probably even more when you started working. However, in today’s ever-changing world where new programming languages come out and old ones evolve, there is more to mastering your craft than just reporting for work everyday and trying your best. In this video, Firstborn’s Chief Creative Officer Joon Park shares things that designers and developers need to know beyond pixels and code in order to standout in the digital world. 13 Ways Designers Screw Up Client Presentations The hardest part of design is presenting work. Mike Monteiro maintains that — because presenting is a core design skill — work that can’t be sold is as useless as the designer who can’t sell it. In this talk, Monteiro goes over the most common mistakes designers make when presenting their work and, more significantly, how to avoid them. Steal Like an Artist Writer and artist Austin Kleon’s talk is a creative manifesto of ten things he wish he’d heard when he was starting out as a creator. Forms are Boring Many people will agree that there is nothing worse than a form design project. Joe Leech, however, believes this perception of forms doesn’t have to be so dreary and intimidating. Leech shows us how to add a little magic to our forms with psychology, craft and a little sparkle to be able to design forms that are both fun to create and a pleasure to use. Spotlights and Interviews
These videos offer perspectives on the humanity of design, as well the non-linear paths that design has taken these creative individuals on.
Eames: The Architect and the Painter (Trailer) From 1941–68, the Eames powerhouse brought unique talents to their partnership; Charles was an architect, Ray was a painter and sculptor. Together their work in modern architecture and furniture helped shape the second half of the 20th century and remains culturally vital today. Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight (Intro) Directed by Wendy Keys, Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight introduces us to the legendary creator and if you don’t recognize him, you’ll likely recognize his work which is integral to American iconography. It gives us a glimpse of the graphic designer’s exhaustive portfolio and includes candid discussions revealing his intelligence, insight, sense of humor, and boundless creative spirit. Stefan Sagmeister: Happiness by Design Graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister takes the audience on a whimsical journey through moments of his life that made him happy — and notes how many of these moments are rooted in good design. Master Penman Jake Weidmann Storied art forms like penmanship seem to be dying out in our increasingly digital world. However, the youngest “Master Penman” in the United States by three generations, Jake Weidmann proves otherwise. Jake’s work shows an attention to minute detail that only comes through years and years of practice and reminds us that handwriting can be beautiful. Font Men You may be unfamiliar with the names Jonathan Hoefler or Tobias Frere-Jones but you’ve seen their work. Before their recent split, they collectively ran the most successful and well respected type design studio in the world, creating fonts used by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the President of the United States. Step Into the Page Glen Keane spent nearly four decades at Disney animating some of the most compelling characters of our time: Ariel from The Little Mermaid, the titular beast in Beauty and the Beast, and Disney’s Tarzan, to name just a few. Join him as he steps into the page. The Creative Spark: James White, Visual Artist and Designer Designer James White founded Signalnoise, a one-man design studio in Nova Scotia, after a decade working for other agencies. He was determined to explore his own aesthetic: “Fascination, wonder, and imagination made visual.” And now he does. Drawn From Memory — McLaren F1 Owner’s Manual Mark Roberts, McLaren’s Design Operations Manager, remembers his first job at McLaren — illustrating the McLaren F1 Owner’s Handbook. The German Letterman Erik Spiekermann is a world-renowned typographer and graphic designer, representing German typeface and corporate design as well as founding companies such as MetaDesign, FontShop and EdenSpiekermann. In this short video, he shares some of his non-linear journey with design. The Picnic Posters of Steve Frykholm In 1970, a young Steve Frykholm arrived at the legendary Herman Miller Furniture Company, where Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and George Nelson built their reputations and created the canon of modern furniture design. It wasn’t long before Steve began making waves of his own with a series of screen printed posters for the annual company picnic. Christoph Niemann on Visual Reduction According to illustrator, graphic designer and art director Christoph Niemann, the visualization of data is not only the graphic designer’s core business, but daily business. Intricate Beauty by Design Marian Bantjes says that in graphic design, throwing your individuality into a project is heresy! However, she explains how she built her career doing exactly that — bringing her signature delicate illustrations to storefronts, valentines and even genetic diagrams. My Life in Typefaces You’ll likely come across typography designed by Matthew Carter — Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial to name some — if you pick up a book, magazine or screen. Carter’s talk walks us through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font. Misc.
Some of these videos are directly related to design and others may not be. What all of these videos
do contain is information, perspectives and questions that we can consider and possibly let shape the way we approach design. Simplicity Sells New York Times columnist David Pogue takes aim at technology’s worst interface-design offenders and provides encouraging examples of products that get it right. We Are All Designers Journalist John Hockenberry tells a personal story inspired by a pair of flashy wheels in a wheelchair-parts catalogue and how they showed him the value of designing a life of intent. Design is in the Details Branding and design guru Paul Bennet explains that design doesn’t have to be about grand gestures. Rather, through a series of inspiring, unusual and playful products, Bennett shows us that design can solve small, universal and overlooked problems. The Beauty of Data Visualization David McCandless turns complex data sets into beautiful, simple diagrams that tease out unseen patterns and connections. Good design, he suggests, is the best way to navigate information glut and has potential to change the way we see the world. Designing Objects that Tell Stories Designer Yves Behar digs up his creative roots to discuss some of the iconic objects he’s created, then turns to the witty, surprising, elegant objects he’s working on now — including the “$100 laptop.” Great Design is Serious, Not Solemn In this video, Paula Scher looks back at a life in design — album covers, books, the Citibank logo — and pinpoints the moment when she started really having fun. Design, Explained. In this video, writer, comedian and actor John Hodgman “explains” the design of three iconic modern objects. You Have Been Lied To You were told that good design sells itself; that good things come to those who wait; that quality just naturally rises to the top; that the making was enough…In this video, Mike Monteiro debunk those statements and more in his honest response to the question: Does good design sell itself? I Listen to Color Despite being born completely color blind, artist Neil Harbisson now has a device attached to his head that turns color into audible frequencies. Instead of seeing a world — including faces and paintings — in gray-scale, Harbisson hears symphonies of color. Thanks…
For sticking with us until the end. Or is it the end? So long as design and all of its facets continues to change, so can this list. Were there videos you felt didn’t belong? Would you like to see any others included? Please let us know!
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Daniel. I’ve founded a few companies including Piccsy (acq. 2014) and EveryGuyed (acq. 2011). I am currently open to new career and consulting opportunities. Get in touch via email.
This article was co-authored by
Jordan Nisbet. You May Also Like: Design for Humanity
An interactive essay I wrote exploring the past, present, and future of anthropomorphic design. Also
available as a talk for conferences, events, etc.