Do you instantly recognize the slogans "Just Do It" and "Got Milk?" Did you choose an Apple laptop because it looked a certain way? Do you leave the font in Microsoft Word as size 12 Times New Roman or do you change it immediately?

Three recent documentaries, one on advertising, one on industrial design, and one on typography, demonstrate the omnipresence of design in our daily life.

The first film, Gary Hustwit's "Helvetica" focuses on the sans serif font by the same name, which was designed in Switzerland in the late 1950s.

Helvetica, with its clean, linear shape, altered the world of design and advertising to become the standard against which all other modern type is judged.

After seeing the film, it is impossible to look at any publication, sign, product, or Web site without seeing the ubiquitous lettering in some form or another. From the iconic New York City subway maps, and American Apparel's ad campaigns, to Evian water bottles and Jeep ads, Helvetica has permeated the graphic design world, continuing to represent the new and modern despite being half a century old.

Drawing on interviews with leading typographers and graphic designers, this hour and a half tour de force cultivates an unparalleled consciousness and awareness of design in the viewer.

Hustwit followed "Helvetica" with "Objectified" in 2009. This film explores the field of industrial design and what Hustwit calls "our complex relationship with manufactured goods and, by extension, the people who design them." Just as Helvetica fostered a fluency in typography, Hustwit strives to cultivate an increased awareness of the objects we use on a daily basis.

Everything we use—our toothbrushes, cars, forks, hole punches, door handles, iPods, and so on—were designed in some way or another at some point in time. However, the degree to which they are useful and constitute "good" design is a subject continually up for debate.

Hustwit goes behind the scenes to design factories where he interviews product designers and engineers including BMW's (former) enigmatic lead designer Chris Bangle and Jonathan Ive, the genius behind Apple's resurgence.

While this film is enjoyable overall, one of the central conflicts that Hustwit fails to address is the tension between modern day consumer culture that continually demands products they see as newer and better, and the central tenant of "good" design.

Contemporary product designers are forced to accommodate their design for the constant interplay between creativity and capitalism, a duality Hustwit struggles to address directly in his film.

Nonetheless, "Objectified" increases our awareness to product design and the complexities of developing a product.

Finally, Doug Pray's Art & Copy tackles the subject of advertising over the past half-century. Beginning in the 1960s, advertising underwent a creative revolution that coincided with the proliferation of television.

No longer were ads limited to print media, now they could be disseminated through various forms. Creative minds jumped on the opportunity to recast advertising as a world of art and creativity.

Interviews with prominent advertising minds of the industry's heyday and today come together to create what one reviewer called "a rousing synthesis of art, commerce, and human emotion."

Exploring media campaigns, Pray challenges the viewer to understand why we react to an ad in a certain way. What is it about the design or the product that makes an ad effective or ineffective? Contrary to what the designers in "Objectified" believe, is it even necessary to have a good product or can good advertising suffice?

Together these three films illuminate the emergence of 20th-century design culture, its 21st-century permutations and the potential influence of both in the future.