The wonderful thing about movie streaming services like Netflix is that it opens up a long tail of movies that you normally would not buy on DVD. I am digging through the art and design section and stumble of some really interesting documentaries.

Last week, I watched “Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight ” (affiliate link), a documentary about U.S. graphic designer Milton Glaser (probably best known for the design of the I heart NY logo). The film provides excellent food for thought for any designer. Here are some random insights from the movie.

An album cover for Bob Dylan (fragment) that became a symbol of the 60s

  • A designer should not everything on a silver plate to the audience, but leave something to solve. His I heart NY is an example of that.
  • Art and design create symbols for people to connect. Through art they have something to share rather than killing each other. Milton thinks this is the gift of art
  • Upon graduation from high school and after his decision to gor art rather than science, his art teacher handed him a pencil box as a gift and said: “Do good work.”. Makes sense.
  • The movie title was inspired by a quote from the Roman poet Horace: “The purpose of art is to inform and delight”
  • Another good one: “drawing is thinking” to describe the intuitive process of free sketching on a white sheet of paper.
  • And his insight that every object is defined by its opposite. It reminds us how important it is to use contrast in design.
Throughout the movie runs the tension between art and design. Milton gets asked whether he thinks that it is a shame that the majority of his work is initiated by someone. He says he is OK with it, and argues that through his design work, he has managed to touch the heart of millions of people, maybe more than he could have reached by being an artist. Still, somewhere very deep down, he might not be that sure of himself, I sense.