Friday, March 19, 2010

Stefan Sagmeister, My Hero (new & improved)

(with an emphasis on adjectives and occasional glaze of alliteration)

Stefan Sagmeister (b.1962) grew up in a peaceful town surrounded by the snow-frosted Austrian Alps. Following high school, his studies centered around engineering. A swift change in focus occurred upon experiencing the seductive lure of graphic design while composing layouts for a liberal magazine; to create graphics for an anarchy issue, Sagmeister asked fellow students to lie on the playground in the shape of an “A”, while photographing them from a rooftop.

The potential possessed by design, enamored Sagmeister—although his first application to the Vienna University of Applied Arts was returned with a frigid stamp of rejection. Instead of wallowing in the depths, Sagmeister tightened his drawing skills, and received acceptance to the University upon a second attempt. His competence continued to bloom; following undergrad, Sagmeister received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. While at Pratt, he dreamed of working for Tibor Kalman; peppering Kalman with phone calls proved beneficial as Sagmeister eventually acquired a job at M&Co.

Kalman encouraged Sagmeister to pursue his dreams and open a studio with only the addition of a designer and an intern. A studio of three, gave Sagmeister the freedom to pursue only the jobs he found engaging, including music graphics, AIGA lecture posters and self-indulgent, experimental projects. Even today, in spite of four Grammy nominations, Sagmeister continues to pursue only the jobs he finds engaging.

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