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Social Image GD Movies

It's the end of the year, you've got projects finishing up, and it's not quite time for finals yet. What can you do to fill a class or two while you wait to walk out those front doors and shout your favorite s word? …Summer! (Or your other favorite s word, if you feel so inclined. :-)

One option might be to show a movie! But what if your administration won't let you just play anything? Don't worry! I've got you covered. Below you'll find three good options for documentaries about graphic design

Your students may not be nearly as excited about a documentary as they would be about a feature film, but hopefully they will keep them engaged and give you a chance to breathe! All of the documentaries listed are available for free on the internet as of this post release!

This will be part of a three-part series where we explore graphic design (this post), photography, and then art videos. For each video I've outlined the basic information, noted any questionable content (like cuss words), and provided a good class discussion question.


Objectified logo
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This video is a discussion about how we never really realize that everything that we encounter in our material world has been designed by someone. It’s a great critique on how product design has evolved in modern history and what direction it may be going.

  • Where to find it:
  • Run time: 116 minutes
  • Questionable Content: 
    • 27:42, cuss word spoken
  • Discussion Question:
    • The last section of the documentary, they're talking about sustainability. Think about the discussion with the toothbrush. Can you think of any objects that you've seen discarded that could be better designed to be more sustainable? If nothing was impossible and you could redesign it in any way, what changes would you make to that object?


Helvetica Font
Image Source


Unfortunately, there’s a bit more questionable content in this documentary than the previous one, so you may not be able to use it if you have a more conservative classroom. However, this movie has a very interesting take on how art movements find their way into every aspect of visual design. It could create some very interesting discussion points for your class.

  • Where to find it:
    • Watch Documentaries 
    • Documentary Mania 
    • Kanopy (This is an online video library that can be accessed through most major public libraries. Click “Log in” and enter your library card to see if your library is one of them!)
  • Run time: 81 minutes
  • Questionable Content: 
    • 37:45, cuss word spoken
    • 39:52, cuss word written
    • 50:49, cuss word spoken
    • 52:38, shows a picture with near pornographic content.
    • 1:16:17, cuss word written
  • Discussion Question:
    • After watching the movie, what do you think about Helvetica? Do you think that you’ll recognize it more when looking at the typefaces used everyday? Are you convinced that it is the one font that you need? Why or why not?


Paula abstract
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Abstract- Paula Scher: Graphic Design

Paula Scher is the most famous female graphic designer in the modern age. Her work has done much to define a certain culture that can be found in New York City. Her work is bold and exciting, yet it has a way of appearing sophisticated.

  • Where to find it:
  • Run time: 42 minutes
  • Questionable Content: 
    • 20:10, cuss word spoken
  • Discussion Question:
    • Close to the end of the show, Paula stresses how important the act of making stuff is to her. Her life is all about making stuff; whether it be digital or physical. Do you think “making stuff” is important for everyone? Why or why not?


That’s a wrap on this one! There are so many more documentaries out there, but these three are some good go-to options for you!

You can grab full discussion guides for each of the videos listed above for just a buck! Click the button below to find out more!