Stefan Sagmeister

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Stefan Sagmeister
Sagmeister in 2022
Born (1962-08-06) August 6, 1962 (age 61)
Bregenz, Austria
EducationHochschule fuer Angewandte Kunst, Vienna,
Pratt Institute, New York City
Known forGraphic design, film

Stefan Sagmeister (born August 6, 1962) is an Austrian graphic designer, storyteller, and typographer based in New York City. In 1993, Sagmeister founded his company, Sagmeister Inc., to create designs for the music industry.[1] He has designed album covers for Lou Reed, OK Go, The Rolling Stones, David Byrne, Jay Z, Aerosmith, Talking Heads, Brian Eno and Pat Metheny.[2][3] From 2011 until 2019 he partnered with Jessica Walsh under the name Sagmeister & Walsh Inc.[4][5]

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

Early life and education[edit]

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.[6] Sagmeister studied graphic design at the Hochschule fuer Angewandte Kunst, Vienna, graduating in 1986.[7][8] He later won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Pratt Institute in New York, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree.[9]

Design career[edit]

In 1991, worked with Leo Burnett's Hong Kong Design Group.[10] In 1993, he returned to New York to work with Tibor Kalman's M&Co design company.[11] In 1993, he set up his company Sagmeister Inc in New York. He has since designed branding, graphics, and packaging for clients as diverse as the Rolling Stones, HBO, the Guggenheim Museum and Time Warner.[2][3] He is the author of the design monograph "Made You Look" which was published by Booth-Clibborn editions.[12][13] He teaches in the graduate design 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.[14][15]


Sagmeister became the subject of controversy after his performance of a lewd joke about animal fellatio at the annual web conference Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand, in February 2017, embarrassing a sign language interpreter and upsetting some in the audience.[16] The organizers apologized to the interpreter in person, and to attendees following the incident, and on Twitter.[17] Webstock organizers also followed this apology up with a longer statement on their blog.[18] The joke, according to Fast Company, involved having a sign language interpreter assigned to his talk "interpret a story about a manatee giving itself a blowjob", with repeated requirements to the interpreter to use gestures to indicate the sex act.[16] Sagmeister later apologized through the Sagmeister & Walsh Twitter account,[19] and from his personal Instagram account.[20]


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.[21] 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.[21]

In 2005, Sagmeister won the National Design Award for Communications from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.[22] In 2013 Sagmeister was awarded the Golden Medal of Honor of the Republic of Austria.[23]

In 2018 he was voted Austrian of the Year by the Austrian newspaper Die Presse.[24]


2000 Design Biannual, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York[25]

2001 Stealing Eyeballs, Kunstlerhaus, Vienna; Solo exhibition, Gallery Frédéric Sanchez, Paris[26]

2002 Solo exhibition, Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna[27] 2003 Solo exhibition, Museum fur Gestaltung, Zurich, Switzerland; Solo exhibition, DDD Gallery Tokyo[28]

2012 The Happy Show, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia[29]

2013 The Happy Show, Design Exchange, Toronto[30]

2013 The Happy Show. MOCA, at Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles[31]

2013 Jewish Museum, New York[32]

2013 The Happy Show, Chicago Cultural Center[33]

2013 The Happy Show, Paris, Gaite Lyrique[34]

2015 The Happy Show, Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna[35]

2015 The Happy Show, The Museum of Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada[36]

2015 The Happy Show, Museum für angewandte Kunst Frankfurt[37]

2018/2019 Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty, Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna[38]

2019 Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty, Mak Frankfurt[39]

2019 Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg[40]

2021 Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty Fondation d’entreprise Martell[41]

2021 Beautiful Numbers, Thomas Erben Gallery[42][41]

2022 Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty Vorarlberg Museum, Bregenz, Austria[43]


  • The Happy Film (2016, documentary)[44]

Further reading[edit]

  • Sagmeister, Stefan: Made You Look – Peter Hall (Booth-Clibborn, 2001) ISBN 978-1-86154-207-6; also Abrams paperback edition (2009): ISBN 978-0-8109-0597-9
  • Sagmeister, Stefan; Things I have learned in my life so far (2008) New York:Abrams, ISBN 978-0-8109-9529-1
  • Sagmeister Stefan, Another Book About Promotion & Sales Material, New York, Abrams 2011, ISBN 1419701398
  • Sagmeister & Walsh, Beauty, Phaidon Press; 2018, ISBN 978-0714877273

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Freedman, Adam (16 December 2007). "Clause and Effect". The New York Times. Retrieved 16 December 2007.
  2. ^ a b "The Biggest Design Breakups of the Decade". 13 August 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b ""The Star Wars poster is ultimately a piece of shit" says Stefan Sagmeister". 16 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  4. ^ Robertson, Katie (30 January 2020). "The Work Diary of Jessica Walsh, Designing (and Winning) Woman". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  5. ^ "Designer Jessica Walsh launches her own creative agency, &Walsh". 24 July 2019. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Stefan Sagmeister on design heroes, the love of travel and what he's learnt so far". 16 November 2017. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
  7. ^ Poynor, Rick (2006). Designing Pornotopia: Travels in Visual Culture. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-56898-607-4.
  8. ^ Cyberarts (in German). Springer. 1998. ISBN 978-3-211-83135-9.
  9. ^ "International designer Sagmeister to lecture in Young Auditorium March 3". Daily Jefferson County Union. 12 February 2020.
  10. ^ "The case for taking a sabbatical: Why Grammy-winning designer Stefan Sagmeister took a break". 27 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  11. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice (February 3, 2008). "What Stefan Sagmeister has learned in his life so far". The New York Times.
  12. ^ "Sagmeister: Made You Look – Award". Retrieved 1 January 2002.
  13. ^ "Sagmeister: Made You Look". Retrieved 1 January 2002.
  14. ^ "Stefan Sagmeister – SVA". Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Lecture: Stefan Sagmeister". Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  16. ^ a b "Stefan Sagmeister's Jokes Have Officially Gotten Old". Co.Design. 2017-02-17. Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  17. ^ "webstock on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  18. ^ A statement from the Webstock team
  19. ^ "Sagmeister & Walsh on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-18.
  20. ^ stefansagmeister Feb 18/2017
  21. ^ a b "Stefan Sagmeister – Artist". Retrieved 23 November 2020.
  22. ^ "Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Announces Winners of the Sixth Annual National Design Awards". Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Oct 1, 2005. Archived from the original on 2013-06-14.
  23. ^ Winterpalais
  24. ^ "Austria'18: Die Österreicherinnen und Österreicher des Jahres". Die Presse (in German). 23 October 2018.
  25. ^ ""Design USA: Contemporary Innovation," Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum". Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  26. ^ "Museum in Progress – Stealing Eyeballs 09". Retrieved 5 June 2001.
  27. ^ "Exhibition SAGMEISTER & WALSH: Beauty – MAK Museum Vienna". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  28. ^ "MyCollection: Stefan Sagmeister – Museum für Gestaltung". Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  29. ^ ICA Website The Happy Show
  30. ^ "stefan sagmeister: the happy show at design exchange (DX), toronto". designboom | architecture & design magazine. 2013-01-29. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  31. ^ "Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show". Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  32. ^ "Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh". Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  33. ^ "Stefan Sagmeister: The Happy Show". Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  34. ^ "La Gaîté Lyrique | The Happy Show". La Gaîté Lyrique. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  35. ^ "Stefan Sagmeister – MAK Museum Vienna". Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  36. ^ "The Happy Show". MOV | Museum of Vancouver. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  37. ^ Museum für angewandte Kunst Frankfurt The Happy Show
  38. ^ "SAGMEISTER & WALSH: – MAK Museum Vienna". Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  39. ^ "Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty / Museum Angewandt Kunst". Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  40. ^ Germany, Gosign media , Hamburg. "Sagmeister & Walsh: Beauty". (in German). Retrieved 2021-01-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  41. ^ a b "stefan sagmeister biographie". Retrieved 22 March 2021.
  42. ^ "Alone Together: Newsha Tavakolian at Thomas Erben Gallery". Retrieved 2 March 2013.
  43. ^ "Ausstellungsvorschau". vorarlberg museum (in German). Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  44. ^ Official Website The Happy Film

External links[edit]