Design & Documentaries: how videos inspire the creative process

Posted by Angelica Cabrera

Sometimes after a lazy day of binge-watching on Netflix, my brain definitely feels like mush. Other times though, I’ll stumble across inspirational shows, movies, or documentaries that actually get my creative juices flowing overtime.

As a graphic designer, these nuggets of inspiration make me feel like I didn’t slack off that much after all, as I will go from Netflix to my sketchbook to get my thoughts down visually.

In the creative industry, it’s important be aware and see how inspiration can be found anywhere and in everything. I recently watched a very interesting documentary that inspired my creative process lately and here’s why:

The First Monday in May

This documentary is about the planning of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York, showcasing Chinese-inspired Western fashions.

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Art + fashion + marketing + design all in one documentary – my heart!

While watching it, I found myself noting many similarities between the exhibit development and our process as a marketing agency. Their “product” is haute couture pieces, their “package” is the installation design, and their main marketing tool is a Grand Opening Event.

The marketing industry is so competitive, offering a whimsical mix of business and art, which means we have to put more heart and soul into our work in order to be successful, much like curators at the Met.

Beating our Own Personal Best

The exhibit curator, Andrew Bolton, and his team are always trying to beat their own past projects, which really moved me.

As artists, we often fear that we won’t be able to reach our highest potential, which leads to stress about rejection, charming people one day after another, doing research and gathering feedback.

However, we do our best work when we stop feeling the pressure. In this documentary, Bolton simply listens to his intuition, which allows him to smoothly reach his personal goal.

What Consumers Don’t See

For a major event like a Met showcase, consumers typically don’t imagine how much work takes place behind the scenes; how the artists were struggling with timelines, production, or external factors that push them to find new solutions.

The First Monday in May inspired me to stop feeling the pressure. Never feel that all is lost, just start being creative! Improvising is as important as initial planning and organization.

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Reading between the Lines

Fashion has been seen as something frivolous and mainly just for consumerism purposes, but there are fashion designers who are telling stories and making huge artistic statements (Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Gareth Pugh to name a few), just like many great graphic designers and marketing professionals.

While fashion and graphic design are not typically viewed in the same light, we are all making history in our consciousness as we reach beyond selling a product.

A Universal Target Market

Reflecting back to the documentary, the Met’s target market is very complex; celebrities and influencers attend the Met Gala, but after the event, the exhibit is open to everyone. From people who are involved in arts and culture, to those who may have never thought about fashion design as art.

You don’t have to be an artist or a creative buff to enjoy the beauty of thoughtful design. Art is universal, and can inspire anyone to feel something while experiencing beautiful and different creations.

Beauty and aesthetics can be applied to anything, and the more we surround ourselves and others with it, the more consumers will understand our visual culture and judgement.

This post was written by Angelica (or Gela), one of our talented graphic designers. Hailing from Veracruz, Mexico, Gela has always been inspired by thoughtful art and design from all over the world and applies her real-world experiences to her graphic design in the form of different tones and textures.

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