More than 1,000 designers gathered at the historic Castro Theater in San Francisco last week to catch the world premiere of DESIGN DISRUPTORS, a full-length documentary produced by InVision chronicling the disruptive and industry-shaking power of design.
The line stretched down the block as movie goers made their way to the red velvet seats, candy and popcorn in tow. The film’s subjects—including Andrew Crow, Head of Design at Medium, Andy Law, Lead Mobile Product Designer at Netflix, and Katie Dill, Head of Experience Design at Airbnb—mingled with attendees who shared one common thread: an intense excitement about the film and the insight it might share.
“It’s about time!” said Jacob Agnone, a graphic designer who added that he hoped the film would conjure up some creative inspiration—and that it would continue to position design as a critical part of business.
Tessa Fish and Liz Feder, UX and Visual Designers attending the event, agreed.
“For me, this film puts design just another step closer to that seat at the table,” Fish said.
“It’s about making a statement about design in a more authoritative way,” Feder echoed.
For architect Tory Wolcott, the film represented an opportunity to learn.
“Design is so multidisciplinary. I’m hoping the film shows more about how we can all learn from each other, and how different facets of design all link together,” she said.
“I live and breathe this every day,” said Experience Researcher Yoni Karpfen. “I’m excited to see how others interpret and experience what I know and do.”
“Design is about letting users decide which direction they want to go.”
After the premiere, Andy Law and Katie Dill held a brief Q&A with the audience, responding to questions about how to address the challenge of a lack of diversity in the design field, how to build more empathy for the end user, and what industries are ripe for design-led disruption.
Both emphasized the importance of getting hands-on experience working with users of all backgrounds, and of how design is less about creating the future and more about proposing a possible future, and letting users decide which direction they want to go.
Design Manager Harrison Wheeler said he appreciated the discussion about the importance of having empathy as a designer, and he said he thinks the film is a great primer for those who want to know more about design as not just a discipline, but a powerful force in the industry.
“The film had the right people delivering the right messages,” he said. “Other films ‘about design’ are often really granular—but this one covered a wide range of topics. I think it would be great for people who aren’t in design to see this film, to get a broad and diverse look at the field.”
Those hoping to catch another showing of DESIGN DISRUPTORS have plenty of opportunities to do so. Request a ticket, host your own community screening, or attend a community screening by visiting DESIGNDISRUPTORS.COM.
Watch the trailer
Photos by J&A Light.