Ever wonder how the design process works at some of the world's most famous high-tech companies?

A new documentary, "Design Disruptors," provides a glimpse behind the curtain at 17 of them. 

Premiering in early 2016, the film is produced by InVision, a New York City-based company that makes a product-design software platform for web and mobile products. InVision's customers include Evernote, Twitter, and Salesforce, all of whom are featured in the movie. The other 14 companies are: Airbnb, Coursera, Dropbox, Etsy, Eventbrite, Facebook, Google Ventures, HubSpot, MailChimp, Netflix, Pinterest, Spotify, Xero, and Zendesk. 

"The impact these companies are having on industries that have remained largely unchanged for a century is astounding. 'Design Disruptors' showcases the incomparable impact design is having on modern businesses, and in turn the world," said Clark Valberg, InVision CEO, in a statement. "Through exclusive access to some of the most important designers of our time, we'll share the potential of design as a kingmaker. Our goal with the film is to educate millions and change how businesses tackle their hardest problems."

At first glance, two things stands out about the movie, which was directed by Matt D'Avella. The first is the footage of designers doing their jobs. That simple fact, in and of itself, separates it from most attempts (in print and in film) to chronicle how high-tech companies create their products and services. (Though there are plenty of exceptions, including CBS's recent feature about IDEO's redesign of the standard ballot box.) 

The second is that designers speak candidly and humbly. For instance, Facebook's Robyn Morris says: "To 'like' and 'share' things--these are things that existed well before Facebook did."

Dropbox's Alex Castellarnau says: "We are just in the infancy of developing a whole language around gestures... I almost want to get to a point where I can caress products. Because that's human--I don't click people." 

Here's the trailer:  

 

  

Here are some more compelling quotes from the movie: 

  • "Over the last five years, there have been several billion dollar companies started by designers. That's a new phenomenon." --Ryan Donahue, VP product design at Zendesk.
  • "Companies are getting closer to the idea that if you can create an amazing experience, it's going to help improve your business." --Andy Law, product designer at Netflix.
  • "At its best, design is human. It's not about being pretty or skeuomorphic, it's the connection we have with it." --Jenny Arden, user experience design manager at Airbnb.

To be among the first to see the film when it's released, you can visit the official movie site. InVision has not yet disclosed how the documentary will be distributed.

Published on: Oct 1, 2015