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.