Abstract: The Art of Design is a series that came out earlier this year on Netflix, and I was instantly drawn to it. This inspiring program profiles the beautiful and innovative work of 8 designers at the top of their game as they reveal their processes and motivation. This is a must-see for anyone pursuing a creative career. I found their stories fascinating as well as an incredible learning opportunity.
Christoph Niemann talks about his illustrations as he works on a ground breaking cover for New Yorker. He explains the importance of abstraction and shares exercises that help him with the creative process. I have enjoyed trying these exercises myself. He says on a trip to the museum, “The gateway drug is not creating art, it’s experiencing art.”
This episode follows iconic shoe designer and creator of Air Jordans, Tinker Hatfield. Tinker discusses the problem-solving element of design and the importance of creating something meaningful – something that tells a story. He says, “Get out and experience life. Then you will have a library in your head.”
Es Devlin opens up about her successful career as a stage designer. She’s designed for small theaters as well as sets of today’s most famous pop stars and everything in between. She discusses 5 ingredients she uses in her design work, and what it means to fill a void with art. She explains, “Everything’s only going to exist in the memories of people.”
This episode follows Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. He created an inclusive approach to architecture and his work focuses on sustainability and problem-solving. He explains, “The way you realize your dreams is one step at a time.” You won’t believe the clean power plant with a ski slope on top of it.
Episode 5 profiles Ralph Gilles, automotive designer for Chrysler. He says, “Everything should be art.” His designs are beautiful and functional. He calls designers “taste makers” and as he explains, “Taste making takes time.”
Graphic designer Paula Scher is featured in episode 6. She describes design as “existing beyond screens” because “it affects real life.” She’s a big fan of typography. As she explains, “Making stuff is the heart of everything. That drive never goes away.”
This episode follows photographer and cultural provocateur Platon. He still shoots with film and has an amazing way of connecting with people. He always asks himself, “What can I learn from this person?” He has photographed numerous world leaders and everyday people alike.
Ilse Crawford, the successful interior designer, is the focus of episode 8. She considers all the senses in her work, because “we are our bodies”. She explains, “Design is a thought process, a skill, and a tool to enhance our humanity.”
I loved this series and I am grateful to the designers for sharing their work and stories. It was truly inspiring. I am more motivated than ever to learn and discover as much as I can about my own discipline. Time to get to work!