Recently, Netflix added a documentary series titled, “Abstract: The Art of Design.” Each episode is unique, and follows a different designer in a different design field.
I finished this series rather quickly, rewatching several episodes, and even crying and laughing out loud because of how moved I was.
Every episode is filmed and styled in a way that reflects their personal aesthetic, down to their own unique intro sequence.
The different designers include:
Christopher Niemann: Illustrator
Tinker Hatfield: Footwear Designer
Es Devlin: Stage Design
Bjarke Ingles: Architecture
Ralph Gilles: Automotive Design
Paula Scher: Graphic Design
Ilse Crawford: Interior Design
The biggest takeaway for me was the countless words of wisdom strung throughout the series. As I watched the series, I think I have confirmed a theory I have had about designers in general. And that theory is that designers have a tendency to just drop huge statements of truth without even realizing they’re doing it.
I will list a few of my favorites below: I apologize in advance because I did not document the credit line while I documented the quotes.
“I never was a reader because I never wanted to escape anything. I wanted my real life to be interesting.”
“…unable to do anything on command.”
“…because as soon as you have a frame you want to start breaking out of it.”
The most moving parts, for me, were the different stories of people whose parents did not see value in or support their child’s decision to pursue a career in design. Most of these people also said their parent did not live to see them in their true glory. This was moving because, although my mom is a designer herself, my dad also did not support my decision to make design my lifestyle. He would rather I use my problem solving abilities and precise nature in the business world over the design world, not truly understanding that design is really a field of problem solvers.
I would recommend this series to both designers and non-designers. If you’re interested in design, this can give you a lot of motivation and put different works into context. For non-designers, it demonstrates the essential qualities of design that you might be unaware of, along with being quality educational entertainment.