Stefan Sagmeister: Bring the personal and the human into design (video interview)

At AGI Open in 2013, I interviewed the great Stefan Sagmeister, graphic designer and filmmaker.

His motto: Design that needed guts from the creator and still carries the ghost of these guts in the final execution.

Stefan Sagmeister is an Austrian graphic designer living and working in New York City. At AGI Open 2013, he spoke about doing both experimental and client-based work, and the effect it has had on his studio, Sagmeister & Walsh.

Being a designer for more than 30 years, Sagmeister has explored furniture, film, digital and graphic design, which has divided his studio into three fundamental time frames. The first seven years was music centric, the second seven years branched out bringing the personal and the human into design, and the third seven years increased the second significantly with multiple projects being either self-initiated or more traditionally client based.

Sagmeister’s The Happy Film came from an interest to see whether it’s possible to document happiness and explore what it means to different people. The film reveals that it’s not possible to reach a constant state of happiness, and neither is it necessary.

“If people watch my film and feel happy, then I feel the project has been a success”.

His advice for young designers is to try out as much as possible. Don’t worry about finding your own voice; it will come, says Sagmeister. He encourages designers to travel down new roads even though it will be more difficult, it will be more rewarding.