Three inspiring documentaries for designers

Photo by Chris Charles on Unsplash, color palettes created by Dilara Neute

The original blog post is here on my official website dilaraneutze.com

As a designer, I have always had my eyes out for looking into inspirations from various of sources. When we think of design craft and how we get from the abstraction to building tangible experiences, our brains connect and get inspired in different ways. Today, I wanted to share 3 nature documentaries that inspire designers or creative professionals can relate to and get inspired from. Those are shared purely from a personal perspective and I wanted to share with the community with the sole purpose of showcasing how to get inspired from the nature since it is not always possible to be able to witness these mesmerizing scenery in person, especially during pandemic.

#1. Dancing with the birds

Dancing with the Birds is a documentary film directed by Huw Cordey in 2019 and the narrative belongs to Stephen Fry. It is currently available in Netflix and shows the secret rituals of several bird species to attract their potential partners which includes insane amount of creativity, strong sense of craft and consistency.

The highlights of the documentary for me were the MacGregor and flame bowerbirds. Those are also called the “designer” birds with their sense of creativity and use of colors while they are building the nest or statues to attract partners. They spend days to build the nest to the finest details and decorate them with the consistent use of colors or leaves as pendants. Their sense of craft and aesthetic taste is a true inspiration to the designers or any creatives.

Bowerbird’s consistent use of blue objects as a form of visual aesthetics. Photo by picman2 from Pixabay.
MacGregor’s bowerbird, singing after finishing the years long decorated statue for the future partner. Photo is captured from the Netflix series Dancing with the Birds.

MacGregor’s bowerbirds on the other hand are more ambitious with their craft. They are extremely patient to build over one meter tall statue by tiny stems over the course of years. After they build the skeleton of the tower, they collect a brown scheme of flowers and decorate hundreds of stems one-by-one. These little details help their statue to be more appealing and make them more attractive to their potential partners. I associate this motivation a lot with the creative professional’s sense of beauty and perseverance in their work. Similar to how bowerbirds unlock the motivation of strong craft and care to your work is received by their target audience. This reminded of how investing in little details in user experience lead to deeper connection with your customers and play an important role in sticking around longer with your products or services.

Dancing birds in general are also a true inspiration of exploring new color palette while looking into new visual explorations. While we have a lot of online resources to find or generate new colors, it would be nice to look to the nature a bit once in a while and get a fresh perspective.

Inspired by the Carola’s Parotia shades in UI design, made by Dilara Neutze. Photo of the Carola’s Parotia on reddit.

#2. Life in color with David Attenborough

David Attenborough is presenting us yet another breath taking documentary but this one is truly mesmerizing. In Life in color, he explores the role of color and its representation in nature through various species. As for designers or creatives this is a great source of aesthetic beauty and expression, but for animals it is an essential tool used for survival and without it, there would be catastrophic consequences. Besides getting to know more about the role of color in animal world — such as winning a partner, fight off rivals or warning enemies, etc — you can get inspiration if you are creating a new visual language or testing our new color palettes. If you are looking for something else besides UI showcases or color generators, this can provide you a new visual outlet. Here are few examples of the color palettes I have generated from animals who were featured in this documentary.

Photo on the left is by Photo by Meg Jerrard on Unsplash, photo on the right is by Krzysztof Niewolny on Unsplash, UIs and color palette are made by Dilara Neutze

#3. Our planet

Our planet is one of the David Attenborough narrated documentary series that showcases the beauty in the nature wonderland. In each episode, you are exposed to the breathtaking scenery of land to ocean life. It is very inspiring to see how everything is connected and have a rhythm to work together in nature. Of course, there were many learnings and reflections you make when you watch this documentary. As a designer, I can tell that this one of the timeless documentaries that shows beauty of nature, harmony and balance. I can associate this a lot how collaborating and working with other designers or disciplines result in creating amazing products and systems. When things work in harmony and connected, there is a true beauty in there.

Photo by TJ Fitzsimmons on Unsplash

Nomad Designer. Loves the challenge of enabling convenience with design. Ex-New Yorker, currently in Berlin.

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