Stefan Sagmeister

The top people in your profession—you know who they are. But, even the most established and accomplished outside of your profession, you’ve probably never heard of them. Stefan Sagmeister is one of those people you’ve probably never heard of (even though he has one of the most unique names I’ve ever seen), unless you are a graphic designer. Although, he is so much more than a print designer!

I really see Stefan Sagmeister as an artist, he transcends his profession of graphic designer. He can brush with commercial design, but doesn’t live in it. Common design work is inseparable from the computer, and Stefan makes a point to do a portion of his work with other mediums. In the project above, “Trying to look good limits my life“, he uses his environment with natural materials to create his typography. I would love to have an opportunity to create typography this way. The most shocking piece he has done is physically cutting typography in his skin with a razor blade. That, I think I’ll avoid.

Another connection I share with him is design not as a means to make money; instead, design as a means to be happy. Although a cliche, having money does not make one happy. He has more than one Ted Talks video about creating Happiness in our work, and how design can make us Happy.

His personal and commercial work has mostly been solo in the past, but fairly recently, he has teamed up with Jessica Walsh and others at Sagmeister and Walsh. He works in New York, NY, but travel and taking time off in other parts of the world is a big part of his life and career. A true inspiration.

If you want to read an article that describes his essence much better than I do, the graphic design organization I belong to, AIGA, has a great article about Stefan Sagmeister.


Schildbach Design Office Renovation For A Better Physical Business Identity

It is not just a virtual business identity being launched this February. I’ve also gotten permission from my landlord to renovate my home office. My office was originally a sun room or an enclosed porch with no insulation. Seattle is not very cold in the winter time, but still, for me to work in my office required blasting an industrial heater, and wearing a couple of extra layers of clothes. For 4 years I have operated this way. The room was so uncomfortable my solution was to only work in my office half the time and the rest of the time work in coffee shops (I like the description of this work tactic—coffee shop squatting).

Thanks to Jon Stenzler, at Lasting Nest, Inc, he insulated the floor and walls of my office (which required removing the beadboard walls, and replacing it with new beadboard). Then I followed his work with installing carpet. It was so rewarding to do part of the physical work. Being a web designer and developer has been terrible for my staying in touch with physical reality. My whole work day is in front of a computer. Being a part of this renovation is rewarding and a great way keep myself present in the physical world. Next step is painting and decorating.

Business Identity in Realationship to the Physical Space

By Spring of 2015, I completed my office and wanted to add my thoughts about one’s physical space and it’s importance. Having this renovated office space may not directly be my business identity, but it does have an effect on it, and reflects the philosophy behind my own business identity. My office is small but has many windows to look out and receive light. As I work in November and our Seattle light is limited, I can not recommend more a space the is open, light and comfortable for good working conditions. When I enter other people’s cramped spaces, even my thoughts feel restricted by the physical space. Also, a cluttered space clutters the mind (I’d like to improve even more on this topic).

Getting back in to creating in a physical space (off the computer), is an strong emerging desire of mine. I’m not sure where that desire will go. I’ve always enjoyed how stores like Anthropology decorate their stores with fine art installations. One can only do so much, so if there is anyone in Seattle who is interested in teaming up with Schildbach Design to create both a virtual and physical business identity for a business, I’m open to this collaboration.

A New Moon Brand Identity Launch

What a better time to launch a new brand identity (aka business identity) than on a new moon (and the Chinese New Year). Farmers know that you plant crops at certain times of the moon’s cycle, but most business owners make their advances forward using more rational means—like during a good economy or after analyzing favorable statistical results. Something I’ve cultivated (especially the past few years), is paying attention to rhythms and patterns in life, people and nature. Noticing these messages requires using our intuition. In the technical and rational field of web development (and the internet age we live in), intuition is not talked about very much. It even seems to me that many people completely disregard intuition, to be replaced with the use of only rational thought. For me, intuition is essential to the success of my business and my happiness.

What my intuition has been telling me in the beginning of 2015 is to expand my business, improve my design skills, and cultivate a different perception of work, more specifically, my business, Schildbach Design. This new brand identity launch did not start this year. I created a large portion of it the beginning of 2014. But, personal, family, and work commitments forced me to put the project on the back burner. What I thought would be a couple of weeks of waiting, turned in to a year-long overbooked schedule.

Schildbach Design was formed in 2008, after my illustration career shriveled up from the double recession in the 2000’s, and computer technology replacing more traditional illustration mediums. I attempted two new business identities following the initial launch of Schildbach Design, but they were sort of half-baked. Simultaneously, my personal life and work load became so over-full that I decided to run my business without much marketing. My busyness consumed me—the most import thing is providing my clients with their work after all!

Then, at the very end of 2014 and into January and February of 2015, something shifted. Negative internal thoughts and external overwhelming responsibilities lifted, and a new enthusiasm and awareness grew. This is where intuition is so valuable—to guide us when it is the right time to act. (I’ll save the specific reasons why I decided to move forward with this launch for now.)

My initial Brand Identity launch is small—not an approach I often do with my clients. Normally, we do a more thorough job on the business identity before we launch. My reason for breaking that rule was I didn’t want this enthusiasm to loose it’s power! So, I am launching with work that is incomplete to my vision, but built to allow the process of growth. There is much more coming to the website. Additions will be made weekly. I plan for a section of tech tips for my clients and the general public. Philosophies on life and my line of work, and adding presentations of the projects I am doing.

Brand Identity at the Year’s End

It’s almost December and I can now report on what my new Brand Identity has done for my business. I got the reaction I was expecting. People who understand my intentions of not wanting to please everyone and stay true to my personal aesthetics, embrace my branding approach. Others who expect to see what everyone is doing now, I get silence. That is fine. I’ve been fortunate in that a full workload continues. Mostly, the new brand identity gives me happiness. It’s like wearing the clothes you want to wear versus someone dressing you.

I’m starting to notice other business that are taking the similar niche approach. My hope is that they too are in that niche because they like being that way, not because it is a marketing tactic. Hendricks is such a company that tells the reader to, “Join the Society of the Unusual”. Even more surprising to me was the illustrations on their website resembled my own. And, I sincerely promise, I saw this website AFTER I created my brand identity.