Stefan Sagmeister, an Influential Designer

Topics: Graphic design, Art, Design Pages: 4 (1158 words) Published: April 12, 2013
Libby Castellani
Holly Vaughn
GRA 1109C
17 October 2012
Stefan Sagmeister: An Influential Designer
In today’s art world there seems to be a large gap that separates fine art from commercial art. Often there is a disconnected coldness associated with those who work in communications art and produce art for clients. As if all emotion and feeling is stripped from commercial artwork merely because it was created with the intention of pleasing a client. Stefan Sagmeister bridges the gap in the art industry by redefining commercial design as a personal, emotional, and deep art. While Sagmeister’s work encompasses a vast spectrum of mediums such as, album covers, logos, installations, and posters it is his philosophy on design that attracts one to his work:

I am mostly concerned with design that has the ability to touch the viewer’s heart. We see so much professionally done and well executed graphic design… beautifully illustrated and masterfully photographed,

nevertheless, almost all of it leaves me cold. There is so much fluff: well produced, tongue-in-cheek, pretty fluff. Nothing that moves you, nothing to think about… I think the main reason for all this fluff is that most designers don’t believe in anything… When your conscience is so flexible, how can you do strong design?... Our goal for the future will be to touch somebody’s heart with design (Fiell & Fiell, 490).

Austrian-born Stefan Sagmeister received his Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and, as a Fulbright Scholar, graduated with a master’s degree from Pratt Institute in New York City (Fiell & Fiell, 490). After forming his own design firm, Sagmeister Inc., he has since designed album covers for The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, and a Grammy-winning box set for The Talking Head’s Once In a Lifetime (Carnick, 13). When it comes to the style of Sagmeister’s work, unlike many other graphic and commercial artists, he...

Cited: Fiell, Charlotte, and Peter Fiell. Graphic Design for the 21st Century. Köln: Taschen, 2003. 490. Print.
Foster, John. Dirty Fingernails: A One-of-a-kind Collection of Graphics Uniquely Designed by Hand. Beverly, MA: Rockport, 2009. 18-27. Print.
Heller, Steven, and Véronique Vienne. 100 Ideas That Changed Graphic Design. London: Laurence King, 2012. 10. Print.
Sagmeister, Stefan. "Featured Work." Sagmeister & Walsh. Media Temple, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <>.
"Stefan Sagmeister." Designboom. N.p., 23 May 2006. Web. 16 Oct. 2012. <>.
"Stefan Sagmeister: The Art of Introspection." Interview by Anna Carnick. Clear Magazine 2009: 10-15. Web. 10 Oct. 2012. < content/uploads/2009/05/sagmeister1.pdf>.
Once in a Lifetime, Talking Heads box set, 2003.
Set the Twilight Reeling, Lou Reed album art, 1996

AIGA Poster, 1999
Trying to Look Good Limits My Life,
Things I have Learned in My Life so Far, 2008
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