27 Best Movies & Documentaries for Creatives

27 Best Movies & Documentaries for Creatives - Pixel Surplus

We’ve compiled a big list of videos to help you make the most of your new work from home setup.

The list features some time tested classics, plus hopefully some hidden gems you haven’t seen yet!

There are several free to watch options and plenty that you can rent for only a few bucks or watch with a subscription.

Enjoy and leave your favorites or ones we’ve missed in the comments.


Sign Painters

Featuring interviews with more than two dozen artists from across the United States, "Sign Painters" is the first film to explore the history of the time-honored craft of sign painting. Documenting these dedicated practitioners, their methods, and their appreciation for quality and craftsmanship, the film profiles sign painters young and old, revealing the growing renaissance in the trade.



Abstract - The Art of Design

Step inside the minds of the most innovative designers in a variety of disciplines and learn how design impacts every aspect of life.



Just Like Being There

Just Like Being There from Virgil Films on Vimeo.


In the gig poster community, creating artwork is more than just a career - it is a way of life. These artists are at the forefront of an expansion of the gig poster genre. In a community with strong roots, dating back to the 1960s, this expansion is controversial - refreshing to some, sacrilegious to others.



Design Canada

Design Canada is the first documentary chronicling the history of Canadian graphic design and how it shaped a nation and its people. What defines a national identity, is it an anthem? A flag? Is it a logo or icon? How do these elements shape who we are? In the 60s and 70s, these questions were answered by an innovative group of Canadian designers, who used design to unify the nation.

"Retracing Canada's design lineage is a reminder that to know a country’s graphic design is to know its history." – Wired Magazine

"The best graphic design can look so natural that we forget they even had to be invented." – National Post

"It's the untold story of the images that shaped Canada's identity and it's not just for design nerds." – CBC Arts



Floyd Norman - An Animated Life

ANIMATOR. STORYMAN. TROUBLEMAKER. At 80 years old, see how this Disney Legend, the first African-American animator at Disney, continues to impact animation and stir up his own brand of “trouble.”



The Creative Brain

Neuroscientist David Eagleman taps into the creative process of various innovators while exploring brain-bending, risk-taking ways to spark creativity.




The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities.

But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world's most influential creators of the digital era.



Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight

For many, Milton Glaser is the personification of American graphic design. Best known for co-founding New York Magazine and creating the enduring I♥NY campaign, the full breadth of Glaser's remarkable artistic output is revealed in this documentary portrait, Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight. From newspapers and magazine designs, to interior spaces, logos and brand identities, to his celebrated prints, drawings, posters and paintings, the documentary offers audiences a much richer appreciation for one of the great modern renaissance men. Artfully directed by first-time filmmaker Wendy Keys, the film glances into everyday moments of Glaser's personal life and captures his immense warmth and humanity, as well as the boundless depth of his intelligence and creativity.



Art & Copy

Art & Copy is a powerful film about advertising and inspiration. It reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time, people who've profoundly impacted our culture. Their work grabbed the attention of millions and truly moved them. The social and cultural impact of their ads are brought to light in this dynamic exploration of art and commerce.



Freelance.tv Docuseries

Check out this docuseries by freelance designer @DannPetty who drove 10,000 miles across the United States to interview freelancers about their daily lives. Full documentary in the works.




Changing the world, one letter at a time... Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which will celebrate its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives.



The City That Sold America

An entertaining and informative look at how Chicago's creative community pioneered modern advertising, forever influencing consumer behavior and culture in America.



Exit Through The Gift Shop

He transforms cityscapes around the world into brilliantly subversive works of street art. Some call him a genius—others a criminal. Though his true identity remains a secret, graffiti artist Banksy has become one of pop culture's greatest icons. Exit Through the Gift Shop follows the attempts of an eccentric L.A. thrift-shop owner to capture the ever-elusive Banksy at work—only to have the mischievous artist turn the camera back on him with hilarious results. Is it all real? Or could this be Banksy's greatest stunt yet?




Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?



Design Disruptors

The future of business is being written by companies and products that—intentionally or not— shake billion dollar industries. In design disruptors, enter the world of 15+ industry-toppling companies—valued at more than $1 trillion dollars combined—with one unifying secret advantage: the transformative power of design.

Design disruptors reveals a never-before-seen perspective on the design approaches of these companies and how they are overtaking billion dollar industries through design.

To view this film you must request access and follow the emailed instructions



Linotype: The Film

"Linotype: The Film" is a feature-length documentary centered around the Linotype type casting machine. Called the "Eighth Wonder of the World" by Thomas Edison, it revolutionized printing and society. The film tells the charming and emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world.



Design & Thinking

"Design & Thinking" is a documentary exploring the idea of "design thinking."

“We interviewed Tim Brown, Roger Martin, Bill Moggridge, David Kelley, and many leading design thinkers in the world. Selected by Forbes as one of “Must-See Design Documentaries You Don't Want To Miss,” Design & Thinking has been screened at more than 400 events across 40 countries, including Google, Microsoft, Target, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Berkeley University, and many more.”

How do we fully engage organizations to think about the changing landscape of business, culture and society? Inspired by design thinking, this documentary grabs businessman, designers, social change-makers and individuals to portrait what they have in common when facing this ambiguous 21st century. What is design thinking? How is it applied in business models? How are people changing the world with their own creative minds? It is a call to the conventional minds to change and collaborate.



Drew: The Man Behind The Poster

Drew Struzan, the legendary artist behind the iconic posters for STAR WARS, INDIANA JONES, and HARRY POTTER, recounts his path to Hollywood and beyond.



Design Is One: The Vignellis

A documentary on two of the world's most influential designers -- Lella and Massimo Vignelli.



Design The New Business

As our world changes, the challenges to business grow. Old ways of thinking are being replaced by open minds and creativity. Design is playing a central role in helping solve problems and drive the future. We invite you to see how design is shaping the new business.



Maker The Movie

From the producers of the internationally acclaimed “Design & Thinking,” “Maker” is a feature-length documentary that looks into the current Maker Movement in America – a new wave of Do-It-Yourself and Do-It-Together culture fueled by passion and powered by the advent of new technologies. Maker has been selected in more than 18 international film festivals, and screened at more than 300 events around the world, including Google, Microsoft, Autodesk, Maker Faire, and Harvard University.



Nothing Changes: Art For Hanks Sake

How far would you go to pursue your passion? At 87 years old, Hank Virgona commutes to his Union Square studio six days a week and makes art. Despite poor health, cancer, lack of revenue and obscurity as an artist, Hank is unrelenting in his quest to understand how life and art are the same.



Why Man Creates - Saul Bass

Why Man Creates focuses on the creative process and the different approaches taken to that process. It is divided into eight sections: The Edifice, Fooling Around, The Process, Judgment, A Parable, Digression, The Search, and The Mark.

In 2002, this film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

You can watch the full short video above, or view it on Vimeo using the button below.



Inge Druckrey: Teaching To See

Teaching to See is a 2012 educational documentary film about graphic design and teaching of Inge Druckrey and some of her students and colleagues.



C.F. Payne: An American Illustrator

“C.F. Payne: An American Illustrator” follows C.F. Payne, Artist and Professor.

This art documentary spans his entire career; from his early interest in artwork as a child, to his art school days at Miami University, and finally the ups and downs of his 40 years working as a professional illustrator.



The Loop - IBM Design Thinking

A documentary about IBM's inspirational journey to adopt design thinking and transform business outcomes throughout the company



Raising Creativity

How can we nurture creativity in education? The Raising Creativity documentary project answers the why, who, how, what, and now what about creativity in education respectively (i.e., why is this topic important, who has spoken/written on this topic already, how will this issue be investigated this time, what was observed during the inquiry, and now what will this mean going forward?).

Watch the full documentary above, or on YouTube using the button below.



Graphic Means

It’s been roughly 30 years since the desktop computer revolutionized the way the graphic design industry works. For decades before that, it was the hands of industrious workers, and various ingenious machines and tools that brought type and image together on meticulously prepared paste-up boards, before they were sent to the printer. Graphic Means, explores graphic design production of the 1950s through the 1990s—from linecaster to photocomposition, and from paste-up to PDF.



Beauty Is Embarrassing

Beauty Is Embarrassing is a funny, irreverent, joyful and inspiring documentary featuring the life and current times of one of America's most important artists, Wayne White. During his thirty-year career as a painter, art director, puppeteer, illustrator and overall raconteur White has been responsible for some of the most iconic images in popular culture. The film chronicles his early days in NYC as one of the creators of the Pee-wee's Playhouse TV Show to his work as an art director on seminal music videos for The Smashing Pumpkins and Peter Gabriel to his current turn as a star in the fine art world. The film traces the vaulted highs and the crushing lows of an artist, father and husband trying to make it in the hectic world of commercial work while fulfilling his personal passion for creating great works of art. In the end Beauty Is Embarrassing is a deeply inspirational story about a man who lives by one rule: do you what you love, and it'll lead to where you want to go.



Share your favorites or any others we may have missed in the comments below!

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