As a designer, I’ve always thought that our taste in movies is different from the rest of people, it’s not like we are filmmakers or something but we definitely value things such as visuals and context more than most people do. After talking with some of my friends from college, I realized that there are a few movies that we all love and that must be in every designer’s list, so I decided to put together a list featuring ten films that as a designer you shouldn’t miss!.

A Scanner Darkly

Have you heard about rotoscoping? Well this movie took the technique to the next level by using Rotoshop, a software developed by Bob Sabiston. As for the plot, the movie takes place in the near future, a future in which many people are addicted to a powerful drug and police presence is almost omnipresent. Some of the cast members include Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jr.

Spirited Away

Personally, I’m a huge fan of everything Japanese, so it was a bit difficult to choose one movie that could represent the others. I decided to pick Spirited Away from director Hayao Miyazaki; a beautiful movie with an amazing character design and scenarios that most designers will fall in love with.
Spirited Away


If you make a poll asking designers about the best typeface of all time, you can bet Helvetica will reach number one, therefore, this is a documentary that every designer should see. Directed by Gary Hustwit, the documentary takes you around a journey exploring the history of Helvetica and how it has changed the world since its conception. The documentary features interviews with recognized designers such as Massimo Vignelli and David Carson.


Part of Gary Hutswit’s trilogy along with ‘Helvetica’ and ‘Urbanized’ (this last one wasn’t included on the list as it’s more architecture-oriented). Objectified tells the story behind our everyday objects and the designers behind them. The documentary includes interviews with Naoto Fukawasa, Karim Rashid and more.

Exit through the Gift Shop

If Helvetica is the one typeface that all designers love, then Banksy is probably the most followed artist by designers and artists. Some people claim that ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ is a ‘mockumentary’ despite the fact that Banksy has personally verified the authenticity of the film that follows the story of Thierry Guetta, a French filmmaker that established a close relation with Banksy and other street artists before becoming a street artist under the pseudonym of Mr. Brainwash.
Exit Through The Gift Shop

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

I discovered this film through my friend Mitch (and I’m grateful for it!). This film directed by Terry Gilliam tales the story of a traveling theater company whose leader made a bet with the Devil. The film was Heath Ledger’s last performance and other actors including Johnny Depp and Jude Law played his role portraying transformations of Ledger’s character. The movie has some of the most beautiful scenarios and a compelling story that make this a must-see film.

The Nightmare before Christmas

How can I leave Tim Burton out of the list? As a stop-motion fan, this film was probably my first contact with the technique and hence it has always been one of my favorite movies. I won’t spend words telling you the story of the film as I’m sure that most of us have already seen the film. The original production used sculpted models and sets, and then it became the first film to be entirely converted to 3D.

The Science of Sleep

Michel Gondry is responsible for some of my favorite music videos, including ‘Ride‘ by The Vines and ‘The Hardest Button to Button‘ by The White Stripes. The Science of Sleep is a brilliant example of Gondry’s techniques and imagination translated into a beautiful film that tells the story of Stéphane Miroux, a man who can’t separate reality from his dreams. The movie combines traditional filming techniques and stop-motion to generate an amazing piece.
The Science of Sleep

Art & Copy

Directed by Doug Pray, this 2009 documentary deals with the advertising industry in the United States as well as some of the most recognized campaigns of all time such as ‘I Love NY’, ‘Just Do It’, ‘Got Milk?’ and more; definitely a must-see film if you are pursuing a career in advertising or if you want to know the story behind these famous campaigns and the minds behind them.

Waltz with Bashir

Definitely one of the best animation films I’ve ever seen, Walts with Bashir is an Israeli animated documentary directed by Ari Folman. The movie shows Folman in a search to recover his lost memories as a soldier from the 1982 Lebanon War. The film uses a special technique often confused with rotoscoping, but unlike this famous technique, Waltz with Bashir was made through a combination of Adobe Flash cutouts and classic animation.
Is there any other movie that should have been included on the list? what’s are your personal top ten films for designers?, let us know your thoughts in the comments section!.
Julian Russi Díaz (53 Posts)
Graphic Designer, Digital Marketing Strategist and Community Manager. I'm one of Mishës founders. Bike promoter, Photoshop addict, video games fan, Japan lover and photographer. I'm currently studying to get my master's degree in Digital Marketing and saving for my trip around South America.