Stefan Sagmeister

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Stefan Sagmeister
Stefan Sagmeister - 2008.jpg
Sagmeister in 2008
Born (1962-08-06) August 6, 1962 (age 54)
Bregenz, Austria
Nationality Austria Austrian
Education University of Applied Arts Vienna, Vienna
Pratt Institute, New York City
Known for Graphic Design, Film
Notable work Set the Twilight Reeling poster (1996)
AIGA Detroit poster (1999)
Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far (2008)

Stefan Sagmeister (born August 6, 1962) is a New York-based graphic designer and typographer. Sagmeister co-founded a design firm called Sagmeister & Walsh Inc. with Jessica Walsh in New York City. He has designed album covers for Lou Reed, OK Go, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, Jay Z, Aerosmith and Pat Metheny.

Stefan Sagmeister dressed as "La Sciùra Maria" at OFFF 2009 in Oeiras, Portugal.


Sagmeister studied graphic design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. He later received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Pratt Institute in New York. He began his design career at the age of 15 at "Alphorn", an Austrian Youth magazine, which is named after the traditional Alpine musical instrument.

In 1991, he moved to Hong Kong to work with Leo Burnett's Hong Kong Design Group. In 1993, he returned to New York to work with Tibor Kalman's M&Co design company. His tenure there was short lived, as Kalman soon decided to retire from the design business to edit Colors magazine for the Benetton Group in Treviso, Italy.[1]

Stefan Sagmeister proceeded to form the New York based Sagmeister Inc. in 1993 and has since designed branding, graphics, and packaging for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones, HBO, the Guggenheim Museum and Time Warner. Sagmeister Inc. has employed designers including Martin Woodtli, and Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker, who later formed Karlssonwilker.

Stefan Sagmeister is a long-standing artistic collaborator with musicians David Byrne and Lou Reed. He is the author of the design monograph "Made You Look" which was published by Booth-Clibborn editions.

Solo shows on Sagmeister, Inc.'s work have been mounted in Zurich, Vienna, New York, Berlin, Japan, Osaka, Prague, Cologne, and Seoul. He teaches in the graduate department of the School of Visual Arts in New York and has been appointed as the Frank Stanton Chair at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York.

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

Sagmeister goes on a year-long sabbatical around every seven years, where he does not take work from clients.

He has spent many years designing for the music industry. Several years ago he decided to dedicate 25% of his work to the art world, things like books and publications for galleries, another 25% to the scientific community, 25% to social causes, and the remaining quarter has stayed dedicated to the music industry.[2]


Sagmeister received a Grammy Award in 2005 in the Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package category for art directing Once in a Lifetime box set by Talking Heads. He received a second Grammy Award for his design of the David Byrne and Brian Eno album Everything That Happens Will Happen Today in the Grammy Award for Best Recording Package category on January 31, 2010.

In 2005, Sagmeister won the National Design Award for Communications from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.[3] In 2013 Sagmeister was awarded the Golden Medal of Honor of the Republic of Austria.[4]

Some of his clients are; Aiga Detroit; Anni Kuan Design; Booth Clibborn Editions; Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities; Capitol Records; Chaumont; copy Magazine; Dai Nippon Printing Company; The Guggenheim Museum.[2]


2000 Design Biannual, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York

2001 Stealing Eyeballs, Kunstlerhaus, Vienna; Solo exhibition, Gallery Frédéric Sanchez, Paris

2002 Solo exhibition, Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna

2003 Solo exhibition, Museum fur Gestaltung, Zurich, Switzerland; Solo exhibition, DDD Gallery Tokyo[2]

2012 The Happy Show, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia[5]

2015 The Happy Show, Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna

2015 The Happy Show, Museum für angewandte Kunst Frankfurt[6]


  • 2016: The Happy Film (documentary)[7]

Further reading[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice (February 3, 2008). "What Stefan Sagmeister has learned in his life so far". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b c Fiell Charlotte and Peter, “Contemporary Graphic Design”, p. 260-263 Taschen,.
  3. ^ "Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Announces Winners of the Sixth Annual National Design Awards". Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Oct 1, 2005. 
  4. ^ Winterpalais
  5. ^ ICA Website The Happy Show
  6. ^ Museum für angewandte Kunst Frankfurt The Happy Show
  7. ^ Official Website The Happy Film

External links[edit]