To say that your trilogy of design-centered documentaries are all available on Netflix Streaming is no easy task—especially considering that the intended audience is in no way attracting the same crowds as say, Arrested Development. Yet director Gary Hustwit has earned those bragging rights and has also—to some degree or another—given mass audiences a peak into the world of design that has otherwise been something that happens ‘behind-the-scenes’. Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized are Hustwit’s three documentaries focused on typography, industrial design, and urban planning. In each of his movies, he interviews industry pioneers that are oftentimes camera-shy otherwise (Jony Ive?) and gives the viewer a peak into the unique creative processes of each. Sadly, only 3% of his extensive interview content actually made it into his films, however he has blessed us all with the power of Kickstarter to help launch the interview transcripts in Helvetica/Objectified/Urbanized: The Complete Interviews.
“My approach to interviewing has always been to let the subject talk about whatever they think is important about the topic, not to simply answer a pre-determined list of questions. So I don’t prepare questions in advance, and the result is that the conversations are fluid, wide-ranging, and fun. We talk about their creative processes, design philosophies, personal stories and background, and much more. But in the documentaries, we only used the bits that worked within each film’s narrative arc. So if you enjoyed what was in the films, now you can get the full stories and the full context.”
Released in 2007, Helvetica was Hustwit’s first documentary in the series that centered around the history and use of the popular typeface that has found it’s way all the way from bathroom signs to subway literature and more recently, Apple’s iOS 7. Two years later, the open love letter to ‘great’ industrial design and the people behind it was released as Objectified. Following suit two years later was Urbanized, a film that explored how great architecture and urban planning can transform a community. While initially aimed at a smaller market, the ‘Design Trilogy’ has found mass market appeal in recent years as the general population has shown in increased interest in good design.
In order to get the best content possible, Hustwit sought out the best thinkers, movers, and shakers of these respective industries to gain their insight for the films. What resulted is an amassed archive of over a hundred hours of interviews—of which only 3% total made it into the final cuts of his films. Considering how many great minds he was fortunate enough to interview (over 75), this comes with little surprise. Here is just a small sampling of some of the great minds he was fortunately (for us) able to sit down with: Jonathan Ive, Paola Antonelli, Alejandro Aravena, Chris Bangle, Michael Bierut, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Neville Brody, Tim Brown, David Carson, Matthew Carter, Candy Chang, Yung Ho Chang, Wim Crouwel, Ellen Dunham-Jones, Tobias Frere-Jones, Experimental Jetset, Dan Formosa, Sir Norman Foster, Naoto Fukasawa, Jan Gehl, Jonathan Hoefler, Jonathan Ive, Hella Jongerius, Bruce Katz, David Kelley, Rem Koolhaas, Rahul Mehrotra, Bill Moggridge, Marc Newson, Oscar Niemeyer, Enrique Peñalosa, Michael C. Place, Rick Poynor, Dieter Rams, Karim Rashid, Alice Rawsthorn, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, Erik Spiekerman, Davin Stowell, Jane Fulton Suri, Massimo Vignelli, Rob Walker, Hermann Zapf.
“We want this book to be the most comprehensive design interview book ever published, an invaluable resource for designers, design educators, or anyone interested in the creative process. We hope you’ll join us in making this happen.”
For those who might have missed any of Gary’s films, be sure to check them out!:
For more info on the book, head over to the Kickstarter page.