Stefan Sagmeister©John Madere
16. März 2020

Stefan Sagmeister im Interview

Stefan Sagmeister is a legend in graphic design and typography, often referred to as the „Swagmeister“. His unmistakable style shapes the industry like no other. The exhibition „Why Beauty Matters“ reminds us that beauty still can and should please the senses. We ask him what future challenges designers are facing and how he personally uses „The Power of No“ for his career.

Why is blue the most beautiful color?

A majority of people in most cultures around the world select blue as their favorite color because of our pre-historic ancestors:  A blue sky meant a safe sky without any dangers, a blue sea meant a safe sea.

What was your most challenging project and why?

Likely, our self-initiated project, the Happy Film. It turned out that the differencee between design and documentary film making were much more significant than anticipated and I wound up at many junctures where I knew what we had was not good with few ideas on how to make it better. This was frustrating.

Who is the final opponent of creativity?

Self-satiscfaction, fear and laziness. Walking down a new path requires openness, guts and energy.

Walking down a new path requires openness, guts and energy.

Where are designers needed today and what should their mission regarding the many – also sociopolitical – challenges be?

I could see many directions: Designers and architects can become the proprietors of creating beauty again, online and offline, in products and neighborhoods, as we see that we all feel better and behave better in beautiful environments. Designers will be collaborating with engineers and scientists when it comes possible solutions to large environmental problems, from carbon capture to green belts around coastal cities. And hopefully, a designer can eventually solve the crappy security procedures at airports.

We all feel better and behave better in beautiful environments.

This year’s festival motto is  „The Power of No – For a new Diversity of Thinking“ – When did you say „No“ for the last time?

I have always found saying „No“ to be easy. My last big „No“ was saying „No“ to accepting all new commercial work, and concentrating on projects I come up with myself.

Are no-sayers more productive than yes-sayers?

Yes and no. While no can be very powerful – it is responsible for all of my sabbaticals („No“ to regular work for a year) – it can also be an excuse for not having to be engaged and take responsibility. If you say yes you are on.


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