Wednesday, June 13, 2007
jo 1980' & 90's
Stefan Sagmeister was born in 1962 in Austria and educated at a local engineering school.
In 1981 he moves to Vienna and is accepted after a second attempt to the Vienna University of Applied Arts to study graphic design.
In 1984 he designed posters for Vienna’s Schauspielhaus theatre and the successful campaign to save the Ronacher music hall from demolition.
Stefan graduated in 1985 with a first class degree and a prize from the city of Vienna.
Then in 1987, with a Fulbright scholarship, moved to New York for three years to study at the Pratt Institute. When he returned to Vienna in 1990, to avoid military conscription, he worked in a refugee centre as well as designing posters for Nickelsdorf Jazz Festival.
He lands a job in Hong Kong with ad agency, Leo Burnett in 1991. Stefan upset many with his 1992 controversial 4A’s advertising awards poster depicting four naked buttocks with the wording “Who’s the asshole who designed this poster?” In fact a lot of Stefan’s designs provoked thought and conversation among his viewers. And this is exactly what he wanted; by mixing sexuality with wit and adding a bit of the sinister, his works though often simple, became potent messages for the reader.
Stefan’s goal was to design music album covers, but only for music he liked. He formed Sagmeister Inc, but kept his business small with a team of three. After designing their own business card, their second commission came from Stefan’s brother who owned the jeans company Blue. Stefan’s long time friend and musician HP Zinker commissioned him to design his CD cover for Zinker’s ‘Mountain of Madness’ album. Replicating the optical illusion with the red plastic slipcase he’d used for his business card, Stefan designed the cover and put in in the case. When the album was viewed it showed the close-up of a placid man’s face, but when the red cover is removed the man’s face changes to that of a furious look. This cover won Sagmeister his first of four Grammy nominations.
Lou Reed invited him to design his 1996 CD cover for his “Set the Twilight Reeling” album. Other great covers followed for bands like The Rolling Stones and David Bryne. As well as this form of graphics, Stefan continued to design lecture posters for the AIGA.