PICNIC07: Things I have learned in my life so far, Stefan Sagmeister

Talks on work for a logo for a new building. Spent weeks trying to avoid using the building itself, then realised the building itself was the logo. Isolated the building, flipped it around, and took 6 different views of it for 6 logos. Colour scheme taken from any image pumped into a logo maker programme. Summary of it here.

Socially responsible design: an organisation of 500 American businessmen got together to petition the government to reduce military spending by 15% and spend the savings on education. The group has marketing know-how and money; they ran full-page ads, but for the $75k this cost (in the NYT) they could build vehicles, running around the US looking good on TV so local news picks up on them - generating more publicity than a NYT advert does.

For a lighting company, the brief was "show the power of light". Did a raise imprint with various shadows etc playing off it, with different colours.

In 2000, he decided to do no client work and just work on his own ideas. One of these was "unavailability creates desire": when they reopened they got loads of work, with better briefs. In his client-free year he makes a list of thoughts, e.g. "everything I do always comes back to me". He was surprised that he got a load of difficult feedback from ads he rang along these lines. Another: "trying to look good limits my life". Another: "Everybody thinks they are right". Clients were now coming to him asking for another sentence to use for their campaigns.

"Starting a charity is surprisingly easy": written using microscopic photography.

"Being not truthful works against me": a spiderweb projected onto a white wall which reacts to passers-by, all created using an iMac and custom software.

"Keeping a diary supports my personal development". As time went past, clients became free-er and free-er in their briefs.

"Money does not make me happy": lettering raised in what look like piles of flour or sugar. The printer lost some of the original artwork and reproduced it, changing the meaning. The piece was rerun by a casino (!).

From 0 - 35,000 euros/year money makes a significant difference to peoples lives. Above this quantity, it makes no difference at all: your level of comfort remains the same.

"Having guts always works out for me".