INTERVIEWS: ucef hanjani talks to stefan sagmeister on design


ucef hanjani: does design = communication? stefan sagmeister: no. not all design needs to communicate. not everything needs to tell a story. not every designer is a storyteller, despite many claims to the contrary.

uh: does design need ideas? why? ss: an idea is a new way of approach… evolution designed us so that we develop, that we grow, this is the reason why we find ideas pleasurable. as a viewer, if i see something i have not seen before, i experience the sensation/emotion of surprise. surprise might be the best strategy when it comes to communications where we can count on the attention of a viewer only for a short period of time.

uh: what is the role of a designer/art director, aside from making things “pretty”? ss: i find beauty (or what you describe as “making things pretty”) totally and utterly underrated within design and contemporary art. if i can contribute to making something that is beautiful today, then today was a very good day.

uh: describe the perfect client? ss: david byrne.

uh: is pain and struggle a necessary path to true creation and personal satisfaction? even if you are not into s&m? ss: yes. basically every worthwhile project we have ever done had a difficult phase. i wish it would not be so. and no, i am not into s&m.

uh: do you have any good advice? ss: stay small!

uh: what do you think about fashion? ss: within the applied arts fashion must be one of the most difficult discipline from a creators point of view, as it is so deeply personal to the wearer. its easy to fall into (or create a) costume when pushing the boundaries, but if designing things that are wearable, it might just become boring. only contemporary jewelry design is as equally difficult.

uh: social media, personal view vs. professional view. ss: professionally the distribution possibilities are wonderful, personally i remain rather uninvolved.

uh: talk to me about fame and money. ss: we experience the best kind of fame, the itsy bitsy design fame. when we go to conferences our egos are stroked but outside we can live very normal lives. i make enough money to live the life i want to live: i attend every concert i like, buy every book i want and travel everywhere i need. things are good right now.

uh: best way to go? ss: in bed, either alone, or with someone lovely.