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Posts Tagged ‘Stefan Sagmeister’

Bright Lights Is Tonight: Drenttel & Helfand, Hoefler & Frere-Jones to Receive AIGA Medals


A taste of the digital typefaces designed by Hoefler & Frere-Jones.

Shield your eyes from the glare of design talent this evening in New York, as AIGA hosts “Bright Lights.” The annual awards gala will begin with cocktails and conversation, and proceed to celebration and presentation of the coveted AIGA medal, the graphic design world’s highest honor. This year’s crop of James Earle Fraser-designed medallions goes to John Bielenberg, William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand, Jonathan Hoefler and Tobias Frere-Jones, Stefan Sagmeister, Lucille Tenazas, and Wolfgang Weingart. Not bound for Bright Lights? Play along at home by reading aloud, in your best announcer voice, AIGA’s citations (below) of the design luminaries.
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Sagmeister & Walsh Designs Business Cards to Flatter, Provoke, Insult


(Photos courtesy the Luxe Project by moo.com)

We’re declaring March Stefan Sagmeister month! The designer’s “Happy Show” opens Wednesday in Los Angeles at MOCA Pacific Design Center (he’ll speak on “Design and Happiness” tomorrow evening in West Hollywood), and on the other side of the country, New York’s Jewish Museum offers up a room full of jaw-dropping, typographical whimsy in “Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh,” the first exhibition of Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh‘s recently launched design firm. Between readying museum shows, the designing duo found time to whip up some new business cards for you–and all profits go to New York’s Coalition for the Homeless.

Now to muster the courage required to give the cards to others. True to their provocative nature, Sagmeister and Walsh have created something that is half graphic design, half social experiment. The seven sets of seven cards in their “Halftone Satisfaction” series are printed with bold sentiments that range from the flattering (“It’s a delight to be around someone who loves with they do.”) to the vicious (“You are a waste of time.”). Lest you vituperate someone (“Fuck you. Eat shit.”) you had meant to compliment (“Your eyes are lovely.”), the back of each card is printed with a mood-matched pattern, from solid white through gradations of dots and finally, solid black. “It’s a test of what kind of person you are and what kind of people you meet,” says Sagmeister, “what cards would you give out and why?” Sagmeister & Walsh’s motivations for creating the cards are easier to explain: they are a limited-edition collection for the Luxe Project, a moo.com initiative that gives 100% of net proceeds to the designer’s charity of choice.

Nicholas Blechman’s Nozone Is Still All Too Resonant

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Nicholas Blechman‘s Nozone is a brilliant little zine with a star-studded roster of contributors. Issue 9, Empire, which was published in 2004, is probably the most famous, but as Blechman went through the highlights at today’s Cause/Effect, we were like, dude, this could have been published yesterday. The issues of imperialism are handled with grace and wit by people like Paul Sahre, Stefan Sagmeister and Christoph Niemann (his flags from fictional countries are a hoot). You can see some of the issue online here, by clicking Empire, then clicking the contributor names.

If you haven’t bought it already, we still say Empire would make the perfect Christmas gift for the social activist/graphic novel fan in your life. Or you could always wait until the next issue, which will be arriving at an undisclosed time: Forecast.

Design Miami: The Bad News

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Most of us were too busy slamming orange gin drinks, slumming in tattoo parlors and stalking San Francisco-based industrial designers to care anything about the real reason everyone had converged on Miami for this high-humidity gathering. So, like, did anyone, like, buy anything? The LAT’s Janet Eastman (who is delightful; we met her at Stefan Sagmeister‘s party) says, eh, not so much:

The frenzied buying that many have come to expect at Design Miami never materialized for some exhibitors. Was the downturn in the economy to blame? Have rising auction prices for collectible furniture led to unrealistic expectations here? Was there too much competition from what’s snidely called “artmageddon,” the two dozen other art and design shows, showroom events and museum exhibits within a five-mile radius? Or is the market just beginning to see how few people are willing to spring for a $450,000 Jean Prouve vault ladder?

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Not even Michael Ovitz, who was granted an exclusive audience with designer of the year Tokujin Yoshioka, bought anything. When the Big O doesn’t throw down the AmEx Black, we’re all in trouble, right? Not necessarily: Murray Moss sold two of his five pieces seen with him here, which just so happen to be named Robber Baron: Tales of Power, Corruption, Art and Industry.

Partying with NADA, ANP and the Return of the Re-Run

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After swigging several dozen Stefan Sagmeister-tinis over at the Wolfsonian, we zig-zagged over to the Paris Theater where NADA (that would be the New Art Dealers Alliance) and ANP Quarterly hosted Nike’s “Re-Run” vintage running exhibition for the final stop on its four-city tour. The mystery musical act Car Clutch? It was actually ANP’s Brendan Fowler (who up until now we knew as BARR) and Ethan Swan. We caught Gang Gang Dance thrashing away while a packed-to-capacity crowd went wild in the orchestra pit. Unhappier hipsters waited in the lines that stretched outside until last call.

The installation snaked two stories high into the gorgeous Art Deco interiors, where Aaron Rose gathered work from a group of artists we’d like to call the next generation of Beautiful Losers: Scott Campbell, Tracy Nakayama, Andrew Jeffrey Wright, Kime Buzzelli, Steven Harrington, Jesse Spears (who we’re still loving for her tattoo booth at Swerve), Eric Mast, Mike Pare, Jo Ratcliff and Alexis Ross, who painted the killer portrait of legendary long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine below. Photos are by Dan Monick and Jeaneen Lund. Graphics on the over 300 panels are by Keith Scharwath, with more images here. More Miaminess shots from Ed Templeton at ANP’s blog.

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High Monkeys, Low Expectations at Stefan Sagmeister’s Wolfsonian Installation

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“Everyone Always Thinks They Are Right” declared the giant inflatable monkeys on the roof of the Wolfsonian, seven stories above Miami Beach (and fresh from Scotland as part of a world tour). Inside, approximately 2250 martini glasses filled with a surprisingly good orange gin concoction were arranged into the words “Low Expectations,” with custom swizzle sticks printed with “Are a Good Strategy.” And a loop of film showed the rest of the illustrated maxims from Stefan Sagmeister‘s book Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far.

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The only question we had for Sags was this: After going through the process of bringing so many things he had learned in his life to life, had he learned anything new? “I’ve learned that I still learn things, but at a much slower rate,” he laughed. He also said he gave his students the choice to skip their last assignment and make their own list of things they had learned.

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Of course our darling Yves Behar was there, and chatting with Eames Demetrios to boot. Jeffrey Deitch breezed through briefly but with purpose–another exhibition of Sagmeister’s work will open at Deitch Projects in NY in March. New Yorkers represented: Steven Heller (he curated the installation, but assures us he was not the mixologist), Lita Talarico, Deborah Buck of NY gallery Buck House and Janet Froelich, creative director of the New York Times Mag. Design journos represented, too: We chatted up Fast Company’s Linda Tischler, Janet Eastman of the LA Times and AIGA Voice managing editor Sue Apfelbaum. And Debbie Millman and Marian Bantjes (that’s her with Sagmeister) jetted in early before appearing in a “Design Matters” about the 2008 Publikum calendar at the Wolfsonian on Saturday.

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By the time we left, the ‘e’ and ‘x’ of ‘expectations’ had been gulped, but refills were quickly secured by martini shaker-wielding assistants nearby, and the crowd continued to swell. As guests exited, they were confronted with a parting message: “Material Luxuries Are Best Enjoyed in Small Doses,” as printed on a custom-made Kate Spade tote bag, so they could take a few words of Sagmeister’s wisdom home with them.

Who Is That Handsome Fellow With the Funny Looking Face?

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While strolling the streets of South Beach this morning we happened upon this interesting display of books stacked in the window of the Wolfsonian. Yes, indeedy, those are the very first copies of Stefan Sagmeister‘s new book, Things I Have Learned In My Life, So Far, with fancy laser-cut slipcases that can rearrange to make 15 different covers.

We got tipped off on some of the hoopla that will accompany the book’s release and a new site-specific installation at the Wolfsonian tomorrow, and let’s just say this: If you thought embossed chocolate bars were cool, just wait until you see the monkeys…

Seven Questions for Cathy Leff

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As the UnBeige snowbirds migrate south into the Miami cacophony of art and design this week, we’ll be looking to local museum The Wolfsonian – Florida International University to be our home away from home. This oasis of design in the heart of South Beach has become a formidable institution and research center on the international stage, mostly due to the tireless leadership of one Cathy Leff, who has served as the museum’s director since 1998. Leff stepped away from her 18-hour workdays dusting off the collection in anticipation of Art Basel and wrapping chocolate bars on behalf of Stefan Sagmeister to answer our questions:

1. What’s the first thing(s) you read in the morning?
Email, then New York Times–for the national/ global view–and Miami Herald for the local picture.

2. Last book you read?
What Orwell Didn’t Know: Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics.

3. Best/most memorable design/designer-related encounter?
Hosting Zaha Hadid as a guest speaker for The Wolfsonian-Florida International University and accompanying her with then-NY Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp to see the space where she would deliver her lecture. I had tried very hard to locate a venue that would excite Zaha as opposed to the typical anonymous auditorium. I was so excited when the Fontainebleau Hotel agreed to let us use the Bam-Bam Room, one of the only rooms–well, cabaret theater–that was still in its original Morris Lapidus-designed condition (though a bit run down). When Zaha saw the red and blue lights and this over-the top cabaret theater, I think Zaha freaked out, saying she could not give a lecture in that space, but Herbert came to the rescue and calmed her down when he reminded her that she invented bling and this was the perfect venue in which to deliver a lecture.

4. How would you describe Miami’s design scene?
HOT and getting hotter–from high to low–and there’s certainly a growing audience that both appreciates and consumes design. I think there has been a lot going on in Miami for many years–it’s all been cumulative–from the work of Judith Arango and the Kassamalis, to the schools of architecture–to what we, The Wolfsonian, aim to do: promote the study and appreciate of how design affects human behavior.

5. Why is this Art Basel Miami/Design Miami thing such a big deal?
Because it brings together during a few-day period a critical mass–approximately 100,000–of international designers, institutions (museums), design manufacturers, press, luxury brand promoters, cultural consumers, dealers, and artists. And that encounter is quite spectacular.

6. This holiday season, I’m giving…
…my friends and family a break from the silly gifts, and I will make a donation in their honor to the Sundari Foundation, which provides shelter to homeless women in Miami, some of whom have infants.

7. This holiday season, I’m hoping to get…
…a holiday. I am heading off with friends for two weeks in Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto) and southeast China, ending it all with five days in Beijing.

Seven Questions for Stefan Bucher

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Besides being one of the nicest designers on the block, Stefan Bucher has suddenly become one of the most popular. While minding his own business at his firm, 344 Design, Bucher embarked on an experiment called Daily Monster, which not only celebrates its one-year anniversary today, come February, it will also be a book. This month he’s also putting the final touches on the products for the Echo Park Time Travel Mart, the latest 826 retail establishment, which will open December 15. Luckily, he had a few minutes between monsters and time travel to answer our questions…

1. What’s the first thing(s) you read in the morning?

I usually go to bed around 3 or 4AM, so technically the first thing I read every morning is the New York Times e-mail digest that tends to roll in around 1AM. I follow that by catching up on Russell Davies and Last Night on ER. Once I actually manage to crawl into bed, I usually read a New Yorker article or two before I turn off the light.

Once I wake up again, I actually really look forward to going through my stack of e-mails, because there is always something new and fun and exciting in there.

2. Last movie you saw?

The last movie I saw was Elizabeth: The Golden Years. I was in Seattle to give a talk the next day, but I had the night off. The night before out-of-town talks is as close as I come to complete relaxation. The files are done, I’m away from the office, nobody expects me to do anything other than show up the next morning. It’s how I used to feel during summer vacation in high school. As beautiful as Seattle is, I just had such a longing to go see a movie, something sprawling and epic that would be so much better on the big screen. So I walked from my hotel to the theater, got myself a hotdog, a pretzel, and some M&Ms and let it all wash over me. It’s a fun movie, too—both gorgeous to look at and satisfyingly soapy. That was one of the nicest nights I’ve had in a while. Thank you, Shekhar Kapur.

3. Best/most memorable design/designer-related encounter?

Earlier this year I had the great honor of designing the catalog for David Hockney‘s new show of paintings “The East Yorkshire Landscape.” In the process I got to present the design to Mr. Hockney at his Los Angeles home. I’ve been a huge fan of his work for years, as well as of his writing. I was trying to figure out how to steer the conversation towards his book Secret Knowledge about the use of optics in Renaissance painting without coming off as a Trekkie (which I also kind of am, but that’s beside the point.) As it turned out, I didn’t have to do anything. Within minutes he started telling me about his latest findings.

It’s rare that you get to meet one of your heroes and have them exceed your expectations. It’s even better when you get to meet them not as a fan, but as part of your work.

Along those same lines, I visited Stefan Sagmeister‘s studio in the spring of 1999 and he was such a kind and gracious host. He must’ve spent an hour talking with me, when I had nothing more to offer than wide-eyed enthusiasm. His kindness has always stuck with me. On that visit I also met his then apprentice Hjalti Karlsson, which led to a long friendship with both Jan Wilker and Hjalti, which led to my first book [All Access: The Making of Thirty Extraordinary Graphic Designers] which led to… everything else.

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This Design Festival Is Coming At You Like a Spider Monkey

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Do not be alarmed. These are simply sneak preview shots of the giant inflatable monkeys that Monika Aichele created for the Six Cities Design Festival in Scotland. The monkeys appeared today, the day before our favorite design conference headliner, Stefan Sagmeister, appears in Glasgow. Thanks to the unflappable Felix Sockwell.

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