On Friday I watched a Netflix Original documentary called Abstract: The Art of Design. Only, to my surprise it was not just one few hour documentary, it was a whole 8 episode series. At first, I was thinking oh for the love of geek can they really do 8 episodes about design but I quickly found out, why yes they can!
Abstract: The Art of Design covers such a large range of designers in different fields. Design covers more than I could have imagined! I found it quite fascinating as I watched each designer explain and show their journey through design. The episodes included Christoph Niemann an illustrator for The New Yorker magazine covers, Tinker Hatfield a shoe designer from Nike, Es Devlin a stage designer, Ralph Gilles a car designer with Chrysler, Bjarke Ingels an architect, Paula Scher a graphic designer who works with typography, Platon a photographer, and Ilse Crawford an interior designer.
I loved how the documentary follows each designer as they tell their stories in their field of design. The series takes the time to allow the audience to experience how the designer creates their art through their own experiences, failures, and successes. The audience is even introduced to each designer’s family and friends providing some insight into who supports these people in their creative professions.
My favorite thing about Abstract: The Art of Design is it allows the audience to hear about the failures from the mouths of some of these very successful designers. Ralph Gilles speaks about not only his highs with Chrysler but also his lows when the company went through some rough patches. Paula Scher speaks about a butterfly ballot design which may have cost an election. So while we all are drawn to successful people, there is evidence of failure in their stories on their path to success in their professions.
The series may drag a little for some but I enjoyed the lingering and how the documentary gifts the audience time with these designers and their stories. The camera work and the playfulness in the documentary avoid rushing and the viewer experiences the design of this series in a very leisurely way. I found the documentary relaxing to watch with a big cup of hot coffee and a warm blanket for the evening.
I am not personally a designer but this is still an interesting watch even if it isn’t your chosen profession. Abstract: The Art of Design takes the viewer through the artistic process of design which may lead to more thought about design surrounding us in our everyday lives. From concert stages to the shoes on our feet. Design is simply everywhere.
Abstract: The Art of Design challenges the audience to think beyond just art and see the artistry, creativity, and imagination in the surrounding world of design. Even non-designers might see the parallels and intersections in their own lives through hobbies or everyday activities when it comes to how design plays a role for them.
So, if you’re looking for something to watch I would definitely suggest giving Abstract: The Art of Design a shot. You might find it more interesting than you expected and it might surprise you in a good way. I have always found insight and inspiration from successful, imaginative, and creative people. I watched Abstract and gained some perspective on my own goals. Maybe you will too.
Abstract: The Art of Design is streaming on Netflix right now. Be sure to watch the trailer. Add it to your watchlist and check it out whether you are in the profession or just need a bit of inspiration and perspective.
This is the first time I’ve written about a series on Geeky Talk, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts about this Netflix Original documentary. Have you seen Abstract? Does this sound like something that might interest you? Are there any other documentaries you might suggest for me? Put your Geeky Talk in the comments below and tell us what’s on your mind.