If you are curious about design — what is it, who does it, how does it happen — the new eight-episode documentary series "Abstract: The Art of Design" on Netflix will answer those questions. If you are a design junkie as I am, I think these programs will enthrall you. Some of the shows look at designers whose careers I've followed and some are people whose work I know, though I didn't know their names. And some are people I've never heard of. Three of the designers are women.
Scott Dadich and his producing partners, Morgan Neville and Dave O'Connor, spent two years looking at how designers work. The series gives us a rare insight into a world that is foreign to most of us. In fact, I'm guessing many viewers will be amazed to discover the work that goes into something that they just thought "happened," if they thought about it at all.
I've watched five out of the eight segments — each one deals with a different designer — and I've found that the programs vary in the way each person and their work is treated. Some episodes are much more visually creative and exploratory than others which to me seems to be related to the personality of the artist as much as to their work.
What I've read about the series refers to the subjects as "rock stars" of design and the promo video pushes that idea with its multiple images of the famed Tinker Hatfield, designer of Air Jordans. While that is generally a true description, some of them project that image more than others. I particularly liked the glimpses of their homes and families as those were as revealing in their way as the designer's work. A great series and a wonderful antidote to winter weather and our wearying politics.
One caveat: Though you can certainly binge-watch this series, each segment has so much to see and think about that I found it disorienting not to have a break in-between episodes to refresh and refocus my attention. I'm savoring them one at a time.