#DesignerSpotlight: Stefan Sagmeister Breaks Design Boundaries

This time in designer spotlight I’ve covered Stefan Sagmeister, a renowned Austrian typographer and graphic designer famous for co-founding the company Sagmeister & Walsh Inc. in New York with Jessica Walsh during the early 1990s.

Since 1993, he’s designed for several eminent clients such as HBO, Time Warner, the Guggenheim Museum, and not to forget the Rolling Stones. This said, he has dedicated over 25% of his art work to the music industry. He has jazzed up album covers for David Bryne, Pat Metheny, OK Go, Aerosmith and Lou Reed.

Additionally, he’s written acclaimed books like Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far, and Made You Look. In case you want to hear him, he also gives inspirational speeches on TED Talks like The Power of Time Off, and Happiness by Design etc.

Moreover, he has exhibited his works in culturally and economically rich cities such as New York, Paris, Tokyo, Prague, Miami, Berlin and Vienna.

Connect with him on twitter @sagmeisterwalsh


His career in design actually began at the age of 15 at an Austrian magazine for young people, called Alphorn. No doubt he had a passion for design from a young age and grew up to follow that dream. In an interview, the designer confirmed that becoming a designer was not a childhood wish but the interest sparked in his adolescent years.

Later in his life, he attained a graphic design degree at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and then studied in New York City at the Pratt Institute on a Fullbright scholarship.

The design education thing didn’t end with his graduation, he’s a teacher at the School of Visual Arts, New York. Plus, a Frank Stanton Chair at Cooper Union School of Art in the same city.

Design Style

In one of his many talks, Sagmeister said “something that has absolutely no purpose can be absolutely beautiful… art is one of very few things that can just be, it does not feed a function.” True that. He however makes art functional when he simultaneously uses design.

Yes, art and design go hand in hand for Stefan Sagmeister, whose works are idiosyncratic, highly expressive and unconventional. Stretching the boundaries of propriety and stomping popular taboos and mores while altering prevalent perceptions, this designer is illustrious for cleverly incorporating environmental art, typography, video and design to produce such great pieces of work.

For many years, he thought that personal style didn’t have “much value in graphic design” and so he came up with the “style=fart” formula. Despite this theory, he received awards for his unique style including the Grammy Award in 2005 and 2010, as well as the National Design Award.

Personal Preferences

His day starts early morning for concepts and ideas because “it’s quiet” in his office and essentially because evenings are a “more playful time, specifically when all the tasks are done”. Surprisingly, he likes working in planes and hotel rooms whenever he travels.

Apart from designing, he enjoys reading “fiction, non-fiction and really whatever comes” his way. If you’re one of his fans, then know that he’s read Paula Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies, Picasso’s biography, and John Crawford’s The Last True Story I’ll Ever Tell.

Know more about Stefan Sagmeister!

#DesignerSpotlight: Stefan Sagmeister Breaks Design Boundari

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A philanthropist by nature, Shyrose Vastani is professionally working as a digital media marketer and visual design blogger. She is a visual media enthusiast with keen interests in research, business trends and graphic design. With a background in psychology, she is passionate about learning and sharing knowledge about visual media and its impact on consumer behavior and people in general.

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