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.