Stefan Sagmeister is a prominent designer born in Austria and based in the United States. He is the other half of the sought-after design company Sagmeister & Walsh. Many regard him as a mischievous figure due to his shocking and unorthodox works. Know more about this visual provocateur below.
1. He began designing at 15 years-old.
- Sagmeister worked for a left-leaning youth publication called Alphorn.
- He pioneered the DIY graphic for the magazine’s Anarchy issue. He stood on the school roof and photographed his classmates lying on the ground and forming the letter ‘A’.
2. Sagmeister was first rejected by Vienna’s University of Applied Arts.
- The school refused him because “just about everybody was better at drawing than (he) was”.
- Sagmeister passed his second application. His excellent performance earned him a scholarship to New York’s Pratt Institute.
3. He is a “design bad boy”.
- Sagmeister prefers to design with attitude instead of style. His slogan is “Style=Fart”.
- His first infamous work was a poster for the 4A Advertising Awards Ceremony in Hong Kong. It included a drawing of four Chinese men exposing their buttocks, calling these “the 4A’s”.
4. Sagmeister announced the opening of his studio with frontal nudity.
- The advertisement for Sagmeister Inc. includes two photographs of its founder fully exposed and standing in an office.
- Sagmeister, up to present, keeps a small staff. He began with a designer, an intern, and himself.
5. He received four Grammy nominations for his first CD cover design.
- Stefan Sagmeister designed the cover for H.P. Zinker’s “Mountains of Madness”. Using stereoscopic illusion, it features the relaxed face of a man behind its red casing. Sliding the booklet out reveals the man’s screaming face in green, red, and white.
- His success earned Sagmeister Inc. prominent clients such as The Rolling Stones, The Talking Heads, and Lou Reed.
6. Sagmeister had a poster cut into his body.
- Details for his 1999 lecture at the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) were carved into his bare torso using an X-Acto knife. He wished to represent the pain of a designer.
- The same institution awarded him the AIGA medal in 2013.
7. Stefan Sagmeister went “On a Binge” for a poster.
- He ate 100 different types of junk food within one week and gained 25 pounds.
- The poster has “before” and “after” images of Sagmeister sitting on a sofa, in his underwear. The latter includes the empty containers of all the junk food he consumed.
8. He partnered with Jessica Walsh after looking at her portfolio for five minutes.
- Sagmeister Inc. changed its logo from an ‘S’ to an ampersand (&) to signify the addition.
- Like before, Sagmeister posed nude to announce the change. Walsh, also nude, stood beside him, on top of a stack of magazines.
Stefan Sagmeister’s attitude over style philosophy makes him one of today’s best visual artists. His playfulness and creativity continues to inspire new graphic designers.
To learn more about other inspiring graphic designers, check out their interesting facts here.