7 Netflix Documentaries to Jumpstart Your Creativity

Need a boost when it comes to creative inspiration for the new year? Here’s a selection of documentary films and series available on Netflix that will assist in jumpstarting fresh ideas about design, architecture, writing, photography, exercise, technology and more.

1. Abstract: The Art of Design (2017)

What constitutes good design? This series follows designers across a range of disciplines – from product design to photography, illustration and architecture – exploring what goes into their design processes. If you’ve ever wondered about what inspires the shape of Nike shoes, or how architects approach problem solving, this series is for you.

2. Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (2017)

If you’ve resolved to read more books or do more journaling this year, this intimate documentary about celebrated literary icon Joan Didion’s remarkable career and personal struggles will inspire you to pick up both book and pen.

3. Tales By Light (2016)

This series of astonishing visual journeys follows top photographers as they explore the world. As well as offering exciting armchair travel, this series explores the stories that manifest a perfect shot.

4. On Yoga – The Architecture of Peace (2017)

Michael O’Neill’s Taschen-published book On Yoga, a collection of images of yoga’s great masters ten years in the making, is translated into a documentary that looks at the art of yoga and why it works as a practice that strengthens both body and mind.

5. Print the Legend (2014)

A documentary chronicling the inception of 3D printing technology and its subsequent evolution. In addition to looking at the positives associated with this technology, such as revolutionary social and medical innovation, the documentary also raises questions about the ethics and restrictions of 3D printing: producing robotic hands for amputees or affordable mechanical parts for expensive technology is exciting, but what happens when someone starts printing automatic weapons?

6. The Mind of a Chef (2016)

If you’ve finished bingeing on Chef’s Table and are looking for something similar, this series (narrated by Anthony Bourdain) is one to watch. Part food-orientated travel show, part smart investigation into innovative chefs’ creative processes, The Mind of a Chef will inspire you to apply your own design aesthetics to your culinary creations.

7. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2017)

Simultaneously tracking the psychological and environmental impact of overconsumption and providing a blueprint for how to live with less, this motivational documentary picks up where Marie Kondo’s bestselling The Life-changing Magic of Tidying left off, exploring multiple paths to a clutter-free life.

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