Sunday, August 31, 2008

Free Pitching - ON THE FENCE

I think free pitching has a place, particularly for design students and the newies in the field. It allows designers to have a ‘crack’ at a variety of jobs, which allows them to get a good dose of experience in practical application and hopefully at least the occasional win.

I do however feel that it does have a problematic side to it. Free pitching has the ability to undercut the field of design with the possibility of price wars and a reduced quality in work. This will obviously cheapen the design profession and make the survival of designers just a little harder.

If free pitching had some type of regulations either to do with size of companies, gross profit margins, it would have some control on whether a company could apply to sites like 99designs. At least then there could be some responsible control, which would hopefully appease both sides of the fence. As for me I think I’ll sit on it for now.



Free pitching is the concept of supplying design ideas without payment in order to compete for a job.  The mere idea undermines the industry, I see the design industry as a both an artistic and a trade based industry.  You do not ask a landscaper designer to design your front garden for free before you decide wether or not you are going to employ them to work on your back garden.  In order for a designer to attain a job in the industry he/she must have proven themselves and created a formidable portfolio.  Free pitching cuts out the process.  If all jobs were given based on free pitching you would have an industry full of half-arsed, under-qualified and dodgy designers.  It is unprofessional, free pitching is for amateurs, and it is simply a way for companies to save money on design costs and that is all.  I believe that professional credibility is of the utmost importance in the design industry, and you must work on creating an exceptional portfolio so a company recognises your design capability rather than free pitching and undercutting. 

PITCHING-Kurt Nischel

Well after reading through the hand outs and looking at various pitching/competition sites and graphic design association sites, I've come to think that it,s
not such a bad thing, I think for people such as us students it,s a great way to get confidence and experience in the real world of design. If i,m to enter a competition i've got everything to gain but really nothing to loose,maybe just a bit of my time that i should be spending on assignments. The other thing that I found beneficial was in reading the story of Richard Scott who has won several Design Contests he has actually formed a great client base from winning those contests, and he was delighted that he could pick and choose what contests he entered being completely self employed and in control of what work he does, I guess in the long run it would be quite detrimental to the industry if all design was to take this approach but I think that it,s highly unlikely to happen as there will always be the large corporations and brands that need good qualified designers and the personal relationship and communication received in hiring a professional.

the sag

Now a graphic icon of the 1990s, that 1999 AIGA Detroit poster typifies Stefan Sagmeister’s style. Striking to the point of sensationalism and humorous but in such an unsettling way that it’s nearly, but not quite unacceptable, his work mixes sexuality with wit and a whiff of the sinister. Sagmeister’s technique is often simple to the point of banality: from slashing D-I-Y text into his own skin for the AIGA Detroit poster, to spelling out words with roughly cut strips of white cloth for a 1999 brochure for his girlfriend, the fashion designer, Anni Kuan. The strength of his work lies in his ability to conceptualise: to come up with potent, original, stunningly appropriate ideas.

Anni Kuan is my girlfriend. That means that whatever we do for her, it better damn well works, I would not want her to spend money for printing (which is tiny but still...) and postage on something that does not improve
her business. It also means that we basically do what we want (and think is good for her).The reason for doing all these newspaper items came completely out of here tiny budget. Before we took over her graphics, she had sent out a single 4c postcard to all her buyers. A very friendly designer mentioned this Korean newsprint place in New York. They literally can print a 32 page paper for the price of a postcard. So that is what we do now every season. The cheap newsprint, which is still rarely employed in the fashion world, became part of Anni Kuan's identity. For us its a pleasurable job because of the tight limitations (it has to be on newsprint, maximum two colors and then only red, orange and blue, it has to look good in a rough half tone dot and it should be different from previous mailings since the mailing list stays roughly the same).
The feedback has been great. She meets and talks to many people on the mailing list and the buyers always praise the mailer, put the plastic horse on their computers and ask for additional copies. Many designers (who are not on her mailing list but are potential customers) know her brand only from the award books.

Gemma: Free Pitching

The idea of free pitching in the world of design draws a fine line between what is right and wrong by both the design and the client or commercial company.

When it comes to providing a ‘free service,’ which effectively is what most companies are asking for when they advertise a competition, most would think twice about sharing or giving away their ideas, time and final outcomes relevant to the design brief given.

However, in my opinion, I believe pitching displays an act of healthy competition. Apart from the minimal cons of the issue, I concern such competitions as a display of some of the talent that is out there, particularly for younger designers and those who are new to the industry and make not have the necessary experience to be noticed to the public. Winning a competition such as this would most definitely boost their confidence and largely benefit them as a start in their future career, possible leading to follow up jobs and soon after building up a client base.

The DIA defines pitching as ‘to fall or stumble, especially headfirst.’ I think that this statement does not take into consideration the full perspective of free pitching. For a designer, especially that of less qualification but just as much talent, free pitching allows for designers to publicly present their creative abilities with minimal stress and risk between the clients needs. It allows such people to showcase their flexibility and style in an environment larger than their usual client base or peer group they present their work to.

At the same time, the whole process of free pitching acts as a personal evaluation for a designer competing. Designers are able to come to realisations of their own strengths and weaknesses in relation to their work produced after they either win or loose the competition.

A gain in experience is also an essential part of design and pitching provides exactly this experience with real clients for the designers involved. Comparing their work up against others and their peers addresses them with evaluations on their designs. With this, they are then able to measure themselves, add to their strengths and improve their weaknesses.

In addition to this, the winner of a competition receives major benefits and the time spent on the work, I believe is worthwhile even though in most cases they are not getting paid. Winners gain a name and respect publicly, are able to add a recognized piece to their portfolio, often win a prize and may possibly receive other jobs as they become recognized and their client base develops.

All up, I do believe that pitching sets standards to designs creatively, although not so as much economically. I think with encouragement free pitching and such competitions can be held as benefits with the right control and attitude, particularly from clients towards the participating designers.

Free Pitching

I like the idea of Free Pitching it gives people an opportunity that they may not normally have , people that may not have the confidences be able to work for a company and like any compition you enter you want to WIN it and when you do it encourages you to do more good work and it also earns respect within the general business world .it would be such a personal achievement and than you may get more work from that company because they like what you do. It would be a good experience if you have the time and energy as well as the money. I can also see the bad points it would not be something I would make a living out of but as a student it would be an awesome learning experience and would give you an idea of what the industry is like as well as having something else to put in your portfolio..

Free Pitching - Tane


     This issue certainly divides the graphic industry. However, it also divides my opinion of it - that is to say I am of two minds on this one. I agree wholly with both points of view.
      Free pitching sounds like one good way a starting graphic designer can get his/her stuff out there with the novelty of possibly winning something. And for a starting designer, making money is still a novelty. It's still exciting. So a competition is a great doorway into the industry.
      The trade-off, of course, is the notion that the competition organisers are taking unfair advantage of these rookies. Though if you don't begrudge the organisers of their sweet little hustle/scam, you can see that on the level of a newbie designer, its just like any exciting competition only this time practicing their design profession.
     AGDA is still right though, about most of a fair-pitching career is a waste of time - but not for newbies, only for design veterans. I do see that a career built on competitions can be frivolous. And these competition organisers are easily seen as shifty grifters taking honest commission work away from professional designers. Yes, AGDA is just scared.
     So I believe free-pitching is a valid and fair thing for practicing lightweight designers to begin in the industry, but if I was a professional established designer I definitely would not base a career on it. 

POST#3/6. FREE PITCHING: What's your opinion?

Free pitching is a polarising issue in the design profession.
Design organisations such as the DIA (Design Institute of Australia) and AGDA (Australian Graphic Design Association) generally oppose the practice as highly unprofessional. Some designers (as in the article from Desktop magazine) think otherwise.
Read through the two articles provided in class and explore some of the links they discuss.
Then post a blog with your take on the issue. Are you for, against, indifferent? Why?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Leilani; Sagmeister

It could be said; Sagmeister is not to everyone’s tastes, but such is the bane of being different. His works range from the bizarre and socially uncomfortable to the clean cut and demure. When you look from the work on the Rolling Stones CD cover, to that of the AIGA poster, of blood and bare skin, and it becomes clear that Sagmeister is no ‘one trick pony’. He is unusual, to say the least, and that can be a good and a bad thing. I find his work at times brash and shocking, other times humorous and thought provoking, and even quite unexpectedly - beautiful.

I like the way he designs things so that they are more than they first appear, with such instances as the book cover of a German Shepard - appearing at first harmless - and then the ferocity of its knashing teeth as you go to open it. Sagmeister opens eyes - and mouths - with his unusual stylistic approaches, but then, is that not the beauty of design? It can exist in anything and everything in the world around us; to inspire, inform, surprise, help, hinder, with and without us even knowing it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Abby – Pentagram vs Wolff Olins

Pentagram is an organisation with broad skills with many different specialities. These are Architecture, Books, Editorial, Exhibitions, Identities, Interactive, Interiors, Marks, Packaging, Print, Products and Signage.
They are design focused with seven partners each responsible for separate projects in their own specialised field.

According to Mintzberg’s theory, their organisational structure is most like an adhocracy or team model. The partners are at the top and they form project teams from the other workers. It is a multi-disciplinary structure, organised around the equal partners who all practising designers. The partners may work independently or collaboratively depending on the project, but one of the partners is always in overall control of each project. Each project has a team that is supported by central administrative resources. There are no project managers.

According to Charles Handy’s theory, the organisational structure resembles a spider’s web with the partners in the centre and working closely with the other staff. This allows for speedy decisions but can cause problems if the partners are inefficient.

Wolff Olins is more specialised and focuses on the single field of corporate identity or ‘brand design’. They make more money. Staff are grouped by job function and work on multiple projects simultaneously. According to Charles Handy’s theory the organisational structure resembles a ‘matrix’ or net. There are three separate departments who work on separate floors (project managers, designers and consultants). All departments are interdependent. The organisation of work is task based. Value is placed on expertise and talent. Individual workers can therefore charge high prices which increases running costs.

The main difference between the two is the location of power.

Tracy: A Tale of Two Studios

Pentagram v A.Epstein and Sons.

These two design studios come from distinctly different viewpoints. Epstein is an 87 year old Chicago based architecture, engineering, construction, interior design and graphic design firm with three managing directors and a president who have ultimate control. Beneath these executives is an entire hierarchical system which incorporates several subsidiary departments, with neXt-the graphic design department at the end of the list. 

'neXt wayfinding + design - neXt is Epstein’s graphic communications group which provides efficient and visually stimulating environmental and print graphics. neXt has designed signage and collateral material, as well as developed wayfinding systems for museums, hospitals, educational facilities, office buildings, hotels, and developers' (, 2006 )

A.Epstein's credo is that from the Chicago headquarters and national satellite offices to central Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Epstein is poised to think globally and create locally. According to Henry Mintzberg's Five Configurations, A. Epstein and Sons fits into the Divisional Form. 

Pentagram on the other hand according to Mintzberg fits into the Adhocracy configuration. 'Project organisations: highly organic structure with little formalization; relies on mutual adjustment as the key coordinating mechanism within and between these project teams.' (, 2008)

'Pentagram is organized around nineteen partners with offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Austin and Berlin, employing a total of 220 people. The partners are all practicing designers, recognized in their particular fields. They work independently or collaboratively according to a client's needs, with a single lead partner always in overall control. Pentagram offers an efficient and broad range of design services to both local and international clients of all sizes. All clients, large and small, benefit equally from the full weight of Pentagram's experience and resources.' (, 2006)

Pentagram has at the top of it's list and as it's main concern-design with the partners always having hands-on imput on individual projects. This differs vastly from the A.Epstein and Sons International approach.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Paolo - Gravitate studio VS de-Luxe & Associates


Gravitate studio was founded in 1999

Their priorities are : doing great work, treating their employees really well, and exceeding their clients’ expectations.

One of their slogan is: Talent isn't found in European light fixtures or expensive coffee.  Good business, they say, isn’t about those things – it’s about delivering outstanding solutions that are sensible and that drive profit.


 Michael Parker
Co-Founder, Director of Strategic Marketing

Founding Gravitate was a natural extension of his lifelong passion for marketing and business. As Gravitate's resident search engine guru, Michael helps companies get found and stay on top.

 Cyndi Nguyen
Co-Founder, Creative Director

  AT Gravitate, Cyndi leads all interactive design with a keen eye on web usab

ility. She's passionate about clean design, smart site engineering, and good ol' fashioned creativity.


The studio has 4 major fases within a project life cycle: Discovery( to ask questions) Conceptualization (research, and then they think of creative solutions to common problems) , Implementation( 1 construct the navigational architecture.2 put graphic and content to the pages. 3 technical requiments.4 Flash animations, dynamic menus and multimedia components), Deployment (double-check our work, get final approvals).



 Founded in 1993 by James and Nicola de vries to combine the best of Corporate 

Print Communications and Magazine Art Direction. De Luxe has completed many of the largest, most prestigious newspaper and magazine design projects in Australia and has extensive experience in Asia.

TEAM: James de Vries (creative director).

 Nicola de Vries (co-founder, she has run the amministration and human resources division of the organization.


Ford (art director)

Katherine Hall (senior designer)

Caroline Fox, John Scott (designers)


ALEC: Pentagram vs. THLU

Pentagram VS the Haters Love Us

By placing these two polar opposite design studios side by side I will be exploring the relationship between:

Expression vs. set goals

Design freedom vs. clients

The Haters Love Us is a two man design studio/creative outlet based out of Brisbane. Both the art director/graphic designer and motion graphic artist are heavily involved in the local/national indie music scene and draw from it a lot of inspiration. Their interview for states that although they’d be over the moon working for big name clients such as ‘MTV’ they are just as content doing their own thing. They create for the sake of creating - not for specific clients – which sets them apart from Pentagram instantaneously. This take it or leave it attitude gives the pair less boundaries and the freedom to express themselves without the encroaching parameters of clients/briefs.

Pentagram on the other hand is a multi national design studio based out of the UK which prides themselves on satisfying clients/pleasing users as is stated on their home page. They dabble in prints, screen graphics, products, environments, architecture and corporate identity which give them a wide client potential. Identity, function and aesthetics are three common goals that transcend Pentagram as a design studio and as a result I find their work a bit sterile. But being such an enormous company I think they must apply and abide by some well thought out goals which in some ways is good for the companies’ identity but gives them less creative leeway.

Sunday, August 10, 2008 / - Kurt
Corporate Image Design and Marketing is a company based out of Hawthorn, Melbourne, Victoria and was established in 1990, they are a large company that are experts in Corporate Identity and Branding on a National and International level and have a huge client list. There is a core team made up of branding experts and graphic designers for brand and corporate identity, online and print design.
also web designers and developers for complete online marketing solutions.
and brand and marketing consultants for strategic direction and implementation.
Then to support there core team there are Photographers, Sign-writers, Printers ,Digital animators and Market researchers to provide complete packages.The overall feel and vibe from this Design studio is Slick and and of high expertise, although for my liking it,s a very sterile and geometric style that mainly caters for large businesses.
Bubblefish is a young new graphic design boutique located in Pyrmont, Sydney. and was formed in 2005 by Delia (art direction and graphic design) and Rendy (Website programming, internet advertising and branding consultancy). The duo,specialize in offset printing and the production of high-quality design artworks; There expertise range from branding, company identity, custom websites design, magazine advertising, advertising campaigns and various other design solutions. They are innovative and fresh and have an artistic flare thats really eye catching. This type of Design studio/Environment is some what more appealing to me as the overall style of the work is that much more exciting and innovative, it,s a more personal type of design work.

Its quite easy to see the main differences between these design studio's the overall size of the companys and the type of work that is taken on and produced by these two firms is entirely different.

---------------> Pentagram Vs. TKOSM

I have chosen compare two very different design companies that are on opposite ends of the spectrum in the design world. Firstly, Pentagram is a long established international design firm with a global clientel. However at the other end of the scale you have Tksom a local business that is just starting out in a specialized industry.

Alan Fletcher, Theo Cosby, Colin Forbes, Kenneth Grange and Mervyn Kurlansky established pentagram in London in 1972. They have since established offices across the globe in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Berlin. They are a massive multi-faceted organization that works in graphic design, identity, architecture, interiors and products. They have developed packaging and products for many well-known companies as well as a good number of brand identities. Pentagram is made up of a long list of equal partners who each have an equal share, they also have there own independent design teams that work under a lead partner that is always in overall control.

The Kingdom Of Sad Machines (TKOSM) is a small graphic design company that was established in Brisbane in 2002. TKSOM consists of a a 3 man team including an art director, project manager and junior designer. They produce music and art magazines covering the National scene and also create logo designs for local bands, clubs and venues. It is a small company that is carving a niche within a specialized industry and its reputation for fine artwork and design is growing rapidly in Australia.



LEE: Pentagram vs. Wolff Olins

Pentagram was founded in 1972 by five partners who all specialized in different areas of design. Pentagram is now one of the most well known design firms in the world. They provide a service across all forms of graphic design, from architecture t products to interior design. They have an organizational structure based around the 7 partners doing business with the client and then creates a team of designers based on their individual skills that are good for the job at hand, the partner remains in control of this work group and remains in contact with the client. When the project is finished the team is disassembled and the designers are ready for another job.

Wolff Olins was founded in 1965, and is also, one of the most well known design companies in the world. one of their biggest and most important clients it general motors, to which they have a whole floor of their for story building dedicated to due to the sheer workload needed for general motors. Wolff Olins is primarily focused on corporate branding.
Unlike pentagram, wolff olins keeps itself as more of a faceless company, possibly because it is so large, rather than the smaller pentagram.

Sagmeister Inc. ..VS.. Wolff Olins

Within the graphic design industry, there are many different corporations and business out there; each offering there own  take to the business, the work and the clients. Two cases are, Sagmeister Inc. and Wolff Olins. Each is their own business, while both working in the same business. Between the two, their are a lot of comparisons. They range from the staff, to location, to ambitions, and most critically style. 

Sagmeister Inc. was founded by Stefan Sagmeister, and is located in New York. He works very originally compared to other, well known design businesses. He works by himself and usually with his apprentice. The major result and key idea behind keeping the business so small and tight, is so the sagmeister, keeps the style he is looking for and the direction in which he wants to take the job. his work is very unique. He thrives on originality, using that key idea for the reason why he is so popular. His works include a wide variety, including c.d. layouts, posters, brochures, books and many more. 

Some of his more famous works include, the Lou Reed CD design "Set The Twilight Reeling", an amazing Adobe poster, the Rolling Stones CD "Bridge To Babylon", the instillation "Being Not Truthful" etc. Sagmeister follows his unique style to jump out from the pack, and thus breaking away from corporate identities.

On the other side of the scale their is Wolff Olins. This million dollar company focuses on brand consultancy. This company has landed many major deals including the design for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The business was Founded in Cape Town London in 1965, and from 1990 became a lot more corporate. The company is based around its 180 staff members. they include designers, consultants and account managers. Some of their Major works include "G.E.", Sony Ericcson, Unilever, and most of all the 2012 london olympics. 

When we look at two very different company's we see how their size really relates to their work. While Wolff Olins can score major deals, their works become a lot more formal, while Sagmeister Inc. can really give their client a unique product. Each company has its triumphs and flaws though within this cut throut business, its hard to please everyone. each company has its own style, and if design became uniform then it would look like our world would become very boring.

Stefan Sagmeister-Kurt Nischel

I Think one of the most appealing aspects of the design work done by Stefan Sagmeister would have to be the fresh ideas that he constantly comes up with.
The graphic design industry is an enormous field and for someone to be constantly
able to pull new and exciting mediums out of the hat with such simple but effective ideas, in my eyes is a true master.

I especially love the passion that is put into his typographical work, where his humanistic touch is just so brilliant! the colors that are displayed weather it,s Red blood dripping from his own skin or reflections of metal floating on a Aqua Blue swimming pool it's these great ideas that make his design work stand on there own.

I also really like the way he speaks and his straight to the point honesty in various interviews about design, it's very inspiring, The point of not working for people who he doesn't like is such a great work ethic i can totally relate to.

There is a saying in the German language "klein aber fein" which if it,s directly translated means "small but fine" but what i,m getting at is that "good things come in small packages" relating to his studio ethics where he deliberately keeps it small and condensed, it definitely shows in his style and work.

Gemma: Bonsai Studios and Cato Partners

Bonsai Studios (, compared to Cato Partners and many other Design co-operations, is a fairly a small graphic and web design company. With this in mind, their modest size makes them very at hand with their clients, specializing in affordable electronic and print media solutions for individuals, businesses, and organizations.

Clients are dealt with personally as Bonsai aims to develop a close and professional relationship between both the client and designer striving to create exactly what the customers envision. Clients talk one-on-one with the same experienced designer throughout the entire design process in order to achieve a more than sound result and outcome, satisfying both client and designer.

On a more widely based and up market level stands Cato Partners (
This is Australia’s leading identity management and design group and one of the largest design companies in the Southern Hemisphere, with offices reaching across Australia and in four continents. This larger based company aims to achieve their ‘success’ differently opposed to already mentioned bonsai studios as they approach their clients on a wider scale through vast media advertising and methodologies.

Approaches they adapt to such as Broader Visual Language™ (allows them to achieve maximum market impact) give the company the ability to sell, position, communicate or influence their target market as they provide brand strategy, design architecture, implementation, audits, print and digital asset management.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Rosalind - Chermayeff & Geismar and Wolff Olins

Ivan Chermayeff and Tom Geismar initially formed their partnership in the late 1950s, over the following years their work has remained consistent in their approach in design. They have sought to humanize that ideal through humour, artistic invention, and an entrepreneurial spirit. As their firm evolved over the years, they have operated under various versions of the Chermayeff & Geismar name. Many exceptionally talented partners and associates have contributed greatly to the projects undertaken. Finding relationships, as Ivan Chermayeff has said, is what graphic design is all about. It is also what poetry is about—analogy, simile, metaphor, meaning beyond meanings, images beyond images. In the work of Chermayeff and Geismar, images are words, have meanings, communicate. They make visual images that are graphic poetry.

Michael Wolf and Wally Olins founded the company in 1965. From 1965 to the early 1990s, Wolff Olins played a central part in developing the art of corporate identity. From the 1990s onwards, Wolff Olins focused more on branding, particularly corporate branding. Wolff Olins has a very polished veneer, it does not let you in to see the under workings of its company, it is faceless most likely due to its size, as it employs up to 180 people. Wolff Olins approach to design stems through the idea of being inventive which then follows through with expression, transformation, brand-led innovation and ambition. Wolff Olins believes in helping clients break away from the competition and becoming unique, not one of many but one of one.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Brown and Co. / Ditley Web Design - Tane

Brown and Co. / Ditley Web Design

Here are two very different design companies, both in their approach and promotional image.
Brown & Company exudes an informal and creative yet organised image at They try to reach clients on the level, not bignoting a godlike corporate image as Ditley Web Design could be accused of. Brown Design declares ‘We want to create great work that our clients love – and we want to have fun while we do it.’ They describe their office space as unconventional, sporting disco balls, antique bicycles hanging from the ceiling, and lizards living in jukeboxes. ‘Some people think it’s a little strange, we think it’s inspiring!’

Brown & Company describes themselves as a 20 person strategic design studio that evolved from a two-person shop. They present themselves as very open, doing work ranging from banner ads for AOL to the logo of a local bakery shop. ‘Giving back to our community is also important to Brown & Company. From time donated to local nonprofits to our annual Pro-Bono Partnership, we strive to inspire a culture that promotes philanthropy and a sense of responsibility towards the community we’re a part of.’
Ditley Web Design is a subcompany of Chicago Web Design. They specialize in website design, website development, logo design, e-commerce shopping cart programming, TV informercial production with web splash page, product development and the list goes on and on. They apparently specialize in everything.

At, (no www) they convey a slick, body-corporate officey feel. The word professional looks like their main objective in image. The website is well designed as an effective way to reach other officey clients. It is strictly formal, well organized and filed, and indeed very professional. They rabbit on about how ‘A website is your corporate identity on the internet/Watch as we help you accomplish online yada yada/ success/ capitalizing/ return on investment’ and other terms invented to bore one into submission. They reckon they’ve set the standard for quality web design in Chicago.
Two very different companies. But both are extremely effective in reaching their target clientele.

BLOG #2: A Tale of Two Studios

Read through the article handed out in class today - A Tale of Two Cities - which looks at two well known design studios, Pentagram and Wolff Olins and their different approaches and business methodologies. (This article is from the AGDA website)

Then compare and evaluate two different design organisations (you may use Pentagram / Olins as your e.g.'s or others) to determine their approach and business methodologies.

Create a bubble diagram that illustrates relationships / strategies / methodologies of the studios you research to accompany your written summary.

A few starting points:

Friday, August 1, 2008

Abby - Stefan Sagmeister

The following quotes from interviews show that Stefan Sagmeister likes to work hard, he has a variety of purposes including social causes. One of these causes was to show people that complaining is useless.

“I think this ability to work things happen it’s absolutely the most important part of my job”

‘You do it smartly and for the right reasons, it work.”

“Doing design for misc, design for social causes. Corporate design and design for Art”

“The paper that you saw lying on the floor will be turned into a poster as part of that series. We will ship that out to Lisbon either tonight or tomorrow, where it’s going to be put together as a huge billboard. It is newsprint sheets with stencils on them, which we had lying on our rooftop for a week. Since it was exposed to the New York sun everything turns yellow, but the stencils stay white. Put together this billboard is going to read: Complaining is silly. Either act or forget. When we put it up in Lisbon, it’s going to be exposed with Lisbon sun, so eventually everything is going to fade away. So literally the sun will equal the difference, will make the complaining go away.”

The idea did go to Lisbon.

The following quotes show Stefan Sagmeister uses hand writing and drawing in his work because lots of people just use computer all the time. He wants his work to look a bit different.

“everyone else was doing modernism, very slick and high polished work. Our work stood out, because it was something obviously handmade, human touched and haptic, going away from this cold world.”

“Things I learned in my life so far”- series is also handmade typography.”

The following quote shows he does not use just hand skills but sometimes he uses the computer for all of a design.

“But not exclusively! That would not be part of the strategy. A good number of them are made with built type- so you can see that they are human made but we did one exclusively on the computer with Ken Miki, or we did a mixed one where it is partly built type…. it varies.”

He says that even when a computer is used there is a person behind it telling the computer what to do.

“Yes, this can be a way. I think that so many regular people, which are removed from the daily practice of graphic design - so maybe 99.9% - have actually no clue when they see a piece of well done graphic design, that there was actually a human behind it. Many look at a newspaper and think, that a machine did it all - and to a large extend, of course a computer was involved, but they don’t quite get the fact that there are still many human decisions to be made when designing a newspaper: what typefaces are used, how wide the margins are… they just don’t think about it and why should they.”

Stefan Sagmeister - Govinda

Stephan Sagmeister is an Austrian born, influential and prominent graphic designer working out of New York. His work has ranged from sleek perfume bottles to Rolling Stones CD covers and fashion brochures. He plays with surprise and sensationalism in his work, earning him a string of iconic designs.

Sagmeister once said in an interview that “for a long time, we prided ourselves not to have a style which to uphold.” He had a sign hanging in his studio stating that style = fart and consciously avoided any stylistic traps. I found this concept of not falling into a particular style as a designer to be very interesting. Although this idea would allow for a great variety of work and interest from a range of clients, as Sagmeister would later realize, it is almost impossible to uphold in the real world. If you “switch your stylistic approach from project to project, it is impossible to come up with a new one on a weekly or monthly basis, without ripping-off either historical styles or a particular designers’ style.” Avoiding a particular style may also result in clients not knowing what to expect from your designs and therefore going to a more stable company instead.

Over time, Sagmeister gave up this theory that style is just hot air and meaningless and settled on the fact that good and sometimes even trendy style do play an important role in delivering content to the viewer. Sagmeister has a strong personal style that is evident in his work, although his designs vary greatly.