Stefan Sagmeister: The Bold and the Beautiful
Austrian born Stefan Sagmeister hardly needs an introduction. He is the rockstar of graphic design. A gifted speaker with a funny accent and even funnier stories. His statements and lifestyle choices are as bold as his typography. His iconic work mixes th
No Pain no Gain
How much are you willing to suffer for your art? Probably not as much as Sagmeister, who ordered an intern to cut the copy into his skin. Aaaah, that must have hurt.
Books feed your mind. You even eat off the cover of this one. Sagmeister cooked up a finger lickin’ good idea for Deitch Projects, a New York gallery specialised in installation art. Beware, the design is not dish washing proof.
This iconic poster was inspired by Iranian artist Shirin Neshat, famous for scribbling Arabic calligraphy on hands and feet. Lou Reed - the face of Underground music - serves as a human canvas for the lyrics of ‘Trade In.’ The album title ‘Set the Twilight Reeling’ literally becomes a headline.
Light my Fire
Annual reports can be a burden, this one’s a gift. Designed for lighting company Zumtobel, the cover features five flowers in a vase, symbolising the five subdivisions of the brand. Inside, the same motive is photographed under different light conditions, demonstrating the company’s knowhow.
Take it to Street
Luxury department store Aizone is one of the rare Lebanese clients still using outdoor as an equity builder, not a price promotor. These carefully curated visuals almost seem an extension of owner Tony Salamé’s art collection. The work constantly balances between 2D and 3D. Typography is taken to new places and faces. The earlier posters use body painting to sell fashion. It’s a Brave New World filled with references to Pop Art, Russian constructivism and De Stijl. Trippy.
Bono once compared each U2 song to a perfume. “And we made some stinkers too” he admitted. This invitation clearly questions the nature of seminars. The speaker doesn’t take himself too seriously. Or is he just selling air?
Music to my Eyes
While designing the corporate identity for Porto’s Casa de Musica, Sagmeister quickly realised that the Rem Koolhaas building itself is a logo. His studio devised a unique system to use every facet of the edgy architecture. Different outlines become graphic spaces filled in with different visuals and colours, depending on the music. How big do you want the logo? As big as a building!
A Ballsy Decision
The cover of ‘Bridges to Babylon’ - the ’97 Stones album - features a fierce Assyrian lion stuck in a transparent slipcase. Naughty detail critics will quickly notice that the King of Beast is missing some eh … parts. “Why did you remove them?” later asked Mick Jagger at a party. Sagmeister swore never to selfcensor his work again.
This razor sharp design is part of a series of six double spreads in an Austrian magazine. Put together, the copy reads: Drugs / are fun / in the beginning / but / become a drag / later on. Mmm, how did the creatives dream up those hallucinating visuals?
Every seven years, the Arnold of Art Directing locks the door of his NY based studio. “I’ll be back” after yet another sabbatical. Ignoring all client requests for one entire year, Sagmeister’s journeys inspire fresh thinking. The fruits of his creative soul-searching can be seen in ‘The Happy Film.’ Typography becomes monkey business. The same exotic flavour is also present in his ‘Standard Chartered’ TVC. Tell your boss you really need that holiday in Bali.