Monday, July 28, 2008


I chose the work Sagmeister did for Rolling Stones, basically because I love the CD cover design and I’ve always liked looking at different and unusual CD covers. It’s also pretty relevant to the two interviews with Sagmeister. In one of the interviews he says, “I have always been interested in music although now a diminishing part of my life.” I found it surprising for him to say it was now “diminishing”. He then says “Growing older (I’m 43 now) I can say that looking back music was much more important to me when I was 23.” I think that comment shows that he (like every one) becomes more stable and mature as the years pass.

Another relevant question and answer in this interview is, “Do you always like the music of the bands you work with?

We always try not to have to work with musicians or any other clients who we don’t like. There is absolutely no excuse to work with ass-holes.”

In the other interview he says, “that’s one good sign of a designer – to be able to persuade or put alternatives forward to a client.” But in the summary next to the CD cover he did for The Rolling Stones on his website, it sound as if Mick Jagger was the main persuasion behind the design. I think this shows that, although Sagmeister comes off as a bit over confident and blunt or cocky, he definitely has respect for the band and their work. So my point is there is a very humble and respectable side to Sagmeister.

In this second interview he answers the question, “you can do something, and if you do it smartly and for the right reasons, it works.” This relates to his design for The Rolling Stones because after reading the summary about the CD cover he designed for the band, it definitely sounds as if it was done for all the right reasons, and in a logical way. For a start, the title of the album is Bridges to Babylon. Mick Jagger then sent him to the British Museum in London to check out the Babylonian collection. He then came back with lots of photos, and then the decision was made that an Assyrian Lion would make a good symbol for the CD cover as well as for the tour and various merchandise materials. Then they got further reasoning and inspiration from a stage design featuring a stylistic time trip with Roman columns, Babylonian patterns and futuristic sculptures. But not everything about the CD cover was straightforward. As said in the summary, “We felt free to mix it up as well, put the Assyrian lion into a 16th century heraldic pose, had him illustrated in a 70ies Sci Fi style.”

Sunday, July 27, 2008

LEE: The Sagmeister and interests.

Stefan Sagmeister is known for his works that are more “obscure” than most, with pieces such as cutting into himself with a razor to cut words into himself to illustrate the pain some projects graphic designers face, to going on an eating binge and gaining 25 pounds. So clearly this mans style differs to that of your typical graphic designer, but what inspires Stefan Sagmeister?
An interview with Sagmeister tells that Sagmeister believes that true graphic design must come form the heart if you want it to touch someone’s heart with it. In this way Sagmeister is inspired by many old school graphic designers, that created inspirational and uplifting works, or put themselves at risk doing it, (almost like Sagmeister using the scalpel on himself), and example of such an artist is a new York designer who calls himself “True”. There was a lot of official stickers in the subways outlining strict rules as to how to ride the subway train properly, all very depressing, so True designed a replica poster that replaced the dull, depressing with uplifting and helpful “info” such as “keep hopes up, don’t hold grudges, strive to be happy etc.” all accompanied by charming stick figures that imitates the look of the original poster.
In closing I think a lot of sagmeister’s work is defiantly got an old school feel to it, using really simple materials and ideas, but the end product is very interesting to say the least. It is also quite possible that he is somewhat insane!

Of course, the internet being the sprawling cesspool of useless facts that it is, it is almost impossible to find pics of True’s subway poster amidst all the garbage. So here is a nice picture that was found for me instead instead.

PAOLO - Stephan Sagmeister

Self-confidence Produces Fine Results, 10,000 bananas and glue, installation view at Deitch Projects

Stephan Sagmeister is a very interesting graphic designer

 to me I think his works reflect a true design need… to visually communicate an idea…

and he does so with the designer’s heart on it’s sleeve. In his web site I really like the section dedicated to students, I found it really inspiring. He suggest to the students to "work their ass off" at the beginning of their studies, that is necessary to do as much as possible to figure out what they really like. He says : " Read a lot , have multiple interests, Check out product designs, go out a lot, look at art, think outside of the annua

ls. It was good  and necessary to  understand Sagmeister`s style more deeply, to have a look at some works that come frome his favourite graphic designers like for example Tibor Kalman (he has been even one of his mentors)  James Victor, Michael Beirut, Rich Valicenti. I`ve really loved some peaces of art that appear in one of his last interactive exhibitions that is even a typographic experiment named " THINGS I`VE LEARNED IN MY LIFE SO FAR". The exhibition will include works that have a life of their own, transforming throughout 

the exhibition as viewers engage with them. Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far is timed to coincide with the release of a new book of the same title, which surveys Sagmeister’s illustrious career.

ALEC: Sagmeister - What is art?

While researching Stefan Sagmiester I was thinking what on earth can I say about this prolific designer, let alone relate to. I then came across a reoccurring idea that pops up in most of his interviews. An idea, which makes a lot of sense to me!

The definition of art. 

            He states that his favourite art definition comes from famous musician and producer Brian Eno who says:

‘Not to think of artworks as objects, but as triggers for experiences.’

Stefan Sagmeister, Brian Eno and Alec Brown all on the same wave length!

            This idea is relevant to 21st century society were someone somewhere can stick a chair on a bicycle and call it art. To this person the ‘artwork’ may trigger a huge emotional response and yet when he looks at a Picasso he may feel little or no emotional connection. Sagmeister seems to let this idea seep into his works, as most of them are very personal and showcase his slightly oversized ego as well as his insecurities. Its like his subjects (often himself) have to undergo some sort of physical experience to create the artwork so that the audience can visualise the pain that accompanies each of his design projects. Is he trying to justify this pain by undergoing physical pain to create art? If this were the case then I would think he is a slightly insecure person as he is forcing the audiences own, personal experience of pain as well as the quality of the design to influence their reactions of the artwork. The work I’m essentially referring to is his poster for AIGA 1999.

When viewing this piece to from my own judgements I primarily react to my own personal experiences of pain and then secondly to the quality of his typographical design. Should it not be the other way around? Can art be art just for the sake of producing an experience in someone? Should art be judged on quality rather than experience? Sagmeister also agrees with Eno when he states that art is an ‘experience not a quality’ and I do to – to a degree. After writing this blog I’m not quite sure whether I’m actually on the same wave length as either of these enigmatic artists but what I am sure of is that I have had quite an experience!


Stefan Sagmeister is an enigma.  His work is extremely bold and confronting and intentionally thought provoking.  The image that I have chosen is a poster that Sagmeister created for singer Lou Reed of Velvet Underground fame, for his solo albumn ‘set the twilight reeling’.  The poster is very simple, yet very striking and effective.  A well-framed black and white photograph of Lou Reeds face in which his eyes are the focal point, they captivate the viewer and the song lyrics scrawled across the contours of his face to give the impression that they are carved into the skin.  Sagmeister also used this concept for an AIGA lecture poster in which he went a step further and actually carved the text into his skin with a razor blade.  This is a fair indication of his dedication to his craft and a window in his psyche.  He is a very choosy designer and refuses to expand his office space, preferring to remain exclusive and solely work on projects of his choice.  In closing Stefan Sagmeister is a truly unique designer and individual and I wasn’t surprised at all to find that he doesn’t have any pets. 

Gemma: "Trying to Look Good Limits My Life"

Stephen Sagmeister

Stephen Sagmeister is indeed a talented individual in the area of design, adapting a unique style as he applies his ideas and personality to his projects.

One of his works in which stood out to me in terms of visual aesthetics as well as being strong conceptually is “trying to look good limits my life.” This particularly caught my eye at first because of its motion flickering images sequence in which I wanted to stay and watch so that the 
full statement could be read.

Secondly was the aesthetics that caught my eye and the amount of work that went into creating the ‘scratchy’ sort of typography and diversity in each word. It is more than obvious that the techniques used would have been very time consuming with the intention to give more effect on the statement in terms of the responder’s response.

In relation to the interviews with Sagmeister, it is clear that his outlook on life is more emotional rather than physical, as the design 
work states. In a particular interview (the one with ‘Designboom’ his liking for music can be 
representative of the more important aspects of life.

Sagmeister is always willing to learn, either new things from other or even about himself. He brings a new light to aspects of life, which is particularly evident in this work. Again reflecting his personality is the fact that he works in a small studio, which he intended on purpose, showing that he is real, he suggests new things towards realistic happenings in the work around him. I guess he wants to ask everyone the 
question why are we so concerned with looking good?

I think this work represents a way for him to express his ideals on the importance on life and 
possibly ask his audience to question their take 
on their own lives. When I look at this work I myself question my attitude and choices I make in terms of the importance of physical appearance and the consequences of these choices either good or bad.


I love this book, and I love the title. Makes me think. What have I learnt so far in my life? Wisdom definitely comes with age, but childlike spontaneity can be lost, as you grow older due to life’s responsibilities.
This book is the result of his latest break. Holidays are obviously important; they allow you to truly relax, which in turn can help your creativity. Sounds good doesn’t it!
“Trying to look good limits my life”, this statement is set out through hand-sculptured typography set within the scenery. He manages to bring words to life by merging the font into an organic setting which gives it a greater pictorial impact.
His design is more hands on, not computer generated; I really appreciate this type of work because it is really free, artistic and quirky.
Is it a tongue in cheek pun at graphic designers, because we are always trying to make work look good?
Very cheeky.
Enjoy the video link.

Tracy: Stefan Sagmeister

Tracy: Stefan Sagmeister; AIGA National Conference Las Vagas.

Probably more than the visual aesthetics 
of Sagmeister's designs, I appreciate his positions on "art" content and his philosophy on how to touch the audience in a valuable way. I think Sagmeister's designs are thought provoking and satisfying visually as well as on an audie
nce moving level.

The debate on "what constitutes art" will probably go on for all eternity. I think Sagmeister's quoting of Brian Eno, as couching "art" works as 'triggers for experience' rather than 'objects', rounds out the debate sufficiently.

I agree with Sagmeister again as he expresses the importance of certain elements which are necessary ingredients for the development of a touching piece of work. I find it apt that Sagmeister lists among the content of his favourite pieces, works by artists who extract meaning from life lessons in the case of Konrad and his chopped off thumbs and life philosophy in the case of True and the overlay-ed train signage

Sagmeister found it necessary to include the information that True had furnished his helping friends with ID badges and authenticating letters in order to keep them safe whilst carrying out their tasks. I find this interesting because although and as well as Sagmeister's message during this talk being that even if all of the essential elements of quality are present (New perspective, Trigger of memories, Passion, Guts, Surprise, Virtuosity and Beauty) in a design; unless the designer comes from an authentic place, the artwork remains ineffective. I find this stance interesting because all of the pieces he chose as his favorites camefrom places of authenticity within the life philosophies of the artists he chose.

Sagmeister - A Weird Sense Of Humour. Tane

Stefan Sagmeister – A Weird Sense Of Humour

Some say Stefan Sagmeister uses gratuitous shock imagery and unnecessary, disgusting bodily art.
Some say he is a bit egotistical and hogs the limelight.
Some say he is a wanker.
Well, I say to those people, ‘Shut your whinehole.’
Many people who have met him will tell you he is a good guy, approachable and very accommodating for industry learners.
Sagmeister strikes me as a man of taste. He knows exactly what he wants and usually has to step into his work in order to get it. Yes, he uses unnecessary, stomach curling portraiture, but as a way to establish himself as a designer of difference, above the compressing board of appropriate standards. Someone needs to.
And, most notably I am struck by a constant absurd sense of humour in his work. He peppers it all with an underlying sort of sly grin. Some of his work convey almost philosophical observational truths like this:

Some of his work has a wacky undertone, a skewed sort of idiocy such as this:

And some feature overt jokes such as ‘Style=Fart’:

I believe these are the makings of a good, healthy sense of humour. Sagmeister is putting the funny into graphic design, which the industry needs.
He tirelessly pushes the envelope, the envelope that is gradually getting harder to push because so many other envelope pushers have pushed the envelope before you and these days its hard to get even near the envelope. He is highly creative yet narrows himself to slick business-like imagery on his output. This is very hard to do for one with such explosive imagination and good humour.
So Viva Sagmeister. I salute heem.

Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister

 “Being Not Truthful Works Against Me”

This installation by Sagmeister and Ralph Ammer is a digital representation of a spider web. The words woven into the web reads “Being Not Truthful Works Against Me” derive from his book “Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far”. The words are included in the list of his book. The main attraction to this instillation is that the web is interactive. As the shadow of the viewer passes through the web it destroys itself, though rebuilds itself over time.

The statement in the web asks of the viewer a personal question, of whether they are being honest with themselves. The message in the web also gives an almost inside look in the personal feelings and beliefs of Sagmeister and Ammer. The interactive nature of the web brings the artwork to life, making the audience a contributor to the art itself. The way the instillation is destroyed by the audience then rebuilt is pleasing. First feeling as though they have changed the work, then realising that it regenerates, almost being reborn.

The work seems simple though engaging. The thought that is behind the work entrances the audience, being both visually pleasing and eye capturing, being not too busy though very involved. The typography is quirky, not being set to strict rule, showing us that this artwork is being truthful to the both artists.

Link to installation

Stefan Sagmeister vs Marc Quinn by Laeten Taylor

Stefan Sagmeister is among todays most important designers an icon of the 1990s AIGA Detroit poster, a specimen of Sagmiesters style shrinking to the point of sensationalism and and humorous but in an unsettling way ,nearly unexcepted ,his work mixes sexuality with wit and a hint of sinister Sagmiesters technique is often simple to the point of banality. From using a scalpel to open his skin to spelling out words with roughly cut out strips of white cloth.

Sagmiesters appears to be covering himself ,like there is something wrong with him all his work is a bit dark as if he does not like himself or is hiding something yet when you look at dark art ,it does not relate to his at all because the darkness comes from within. Most of his work seems to revolve around himself. is he introvert?, is he self obsessed?, i think so ,i feel he even questions his own ability and confidence. I am not very compelled to look at his work and it does not inspire me i don,t feel the answers to the questions relate to his work.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Stefan Sagmeister

Hi Everyone,

This is your first post in the Blog design brief for Professional Design Practice 7890G. It is due at the end of class today.

Today's class activity is to complete the following image related task:

1. Read the interviews with international designer Stefan Sagmeister supplied as notes for last week's class. One interview comes from an Australian design magazine published in Tasmania called Typotastic. The other is from an archive of interviews at

2. Search Stefan Sagmeister and locate an image/images that relate to the themes in the interviews.

3. Post an image and write up your thoughts on how the themes in the interviews and the image you selected are related. The image be the work of Sagmeister himself or something else you find in your search.

Happy blogging!