Art & Copy / Recent Design Related Films

Posted by Alex

Art & Copy is a film about advertising currently making its way around the country. The film is an in-depth look at some of the best and most creative minds in the business. As director Doug Pray states, “I felt it could be a more powerful statement to focus the film only on those rare few who actually moved and inspired our culture with their work. And that higher standard made me want to make a film that reflected the same kind of disciplined artistic approach that my subjects used.” It looks really interesting and I’m really excited to see it.

The frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from really — and especially you don’t have any idea where they are going to come from tomorrow. — Art & Copy

We’ve been watching The Persuaders in class over the last few weeks and, while it’s not specifically about graphic design per se, it’s easy to draw useful parallels between the two disciplines of advertising and design (as they are often one and the same anyway, whether you like it or not). If you are interested, you can watch all of The Persuaders on the website.

This winter is shaping up to be a pretty excellent time for designers as far as film is concerned. Art & Copy will be in San Francisco in early November, Objectified comes out on DVD on October 13th (so sad they had to push it two weeks due to a “manufacturing snafu”…how ironic), and Visual Acoustics will be here November 6th.

I think I am most excited for Visual Acoustics — I remember writing about it a while ago and have been surviving off of Shulman’s wonderful photography in the meantime. Also worth mentioning is The September Issue, the film chronicling the development and process behind the largest issue of Vogue Magazine. I saw this one recently and would recommend it, but it wasn’t quite as good as I was hoping. It’s exciting to see design related films making their way into the (almost) mainstream!

Side note: Art & Copy employs a beautiful ampersand in the logo for the film. Not sure what it is, but it’s very excellent looking.

10 Comments Leave A Comment


Mark C. says:

October 1, 2009 at 1:58 am

Man, I am soooo all over this film when it comes to the Bay Area. Excellent post, by the way! I’m going to look into The Persuaders as well from the link that you’ve provided. Along the same vein, I have a book called “Making People Respond” that shows the process of creating logos.

Whether we’re talking about advertisers, graphic artists, writers, or fashion designers to name a few, the ultimate task of *any* artist is simply to convey ideas. And I find it quite fascinating the notion that all works of art are related in that manner.


RA_OUL says:

October 1, 2009 at 3:10 am

Wow, what a super great post. I’ve spent the last half hour reading up and watching trailers for Art & Copy, Visual Acoustics, and The September Issue. I am really excited about Art & Copy which looks really intriguing. I’m glad you mentioned the release date of Objectified because I’ve yet to see it. I really can’t believe I never heard about Visual Acoustics…I’ve got to see that! Even The September Issue looks good. Thanks for the heads up on all of the design related films.


Benjamin says:

October 1, 2009 at 9:37 am

I have seen the film and it’s quite enjoyable. By far the most interesting aspects are the conversations with the creative brains behind some of the most influential advertising campaigns in recent history. However, it film doesn’t have the depth that Helvetica or other documentaries often had. It’s a great primer for the ad world, but did not satisfy my curiosity.


thaï says:

October 2, 2009 at 3:09 am

i then STRONGLY recommend you all the movie called “99 Francs”, by Jan Kounen, off a book by Frederic Beigbeder, former actor in a top 5 worldwide adv. agency…

i couldn’t find a trailer in french, but it must exist somewhere
it’s a MUST SEE for advertisers (and consumers too then…)


Jeff Finley says:

October 2, 2009 at 9:10 am

Objectified was fantastic – better than Helvetica if you can imagine that. It’s a great follow up.

I saw Art & Copy at the Cleveland Film Festival and I was underwhelmed. I love Doug Pray’s other documentaries Scratch and Infamy for example. But A&C felt kind of dated, not necessarily in a good way. It featured some solid talking heads from advertising giants, but really ignored everything else. It was a brief history lesson in corporate advertising and especially print and outdoor. It pretty much ignored anything current though – perhaps by design. The film had a nostalgic vibe to it – almost like a bittersweet goodbye to traditional big business advertising. If you go into it looking for something new or eye opening, I don’t think Art & Copy delivers.


nick says:

October 3, 2009 at 9:31 am

Thank you for this! I’ve been meaning to get my mittens on some new design film, especially after Helvetica. I hope they have good soundtracks as well


matthew bronson kimball says:

December 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm

i just saw this a month ago when my mother came to visit me in college! we both watched it, and it’s quite rare when I get to see something with such essence with her. it is a beautiful film on advertisement. i really liked how milk was portrayed. the same, with Nike’s reason to come up with the slogan “Just do it”