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"Sagmeister" Tag

A Printed Book History 9 : looking at Sagmeister

Monday, May 21, 2012

The first time I saw his book was at a gallery, which let’s agree it’s not the most intriguing place for displaying books since we didn’t have the chance to go through the pages, but the positive side of it was that it made me even more curious about the content of the book and helped me to analyze my primary choice I had to choose among an array of books from different ages, designers, concepts and styles.
Why did I chose this one? Sagmeister’s book was one of few books lacking any text on the cover meaning that for it’s representation
it relies only on its visual qualities. But not only that, it lacks any hint of subject on it as well so it triggered me to step closer.
At first look I saw a book with a portrait of an animal referring to a wolf, but the closer I went to the image the more information started “appearing” on it by different layers.That combination of overlaying made me curious even more. When it is in it’s red plastic cover a perfect, friendly and appealing portrait of a German shepherd is displayed on the surface, but once you remove it, the mood of the dog changes by an added green layer and it doesn’t even look like dog anymore. It adopts a dualistic grotesque-creature shape which fascinated me instantly.
I found this interaction between all the elements very intriguing. Further in my investigation I figured out that it’s a book covering 20 years of graphic designs by Sagmeister, INCLUDING THE BAD ONES.

‘Made You Look’ by Sagmeister 2001

Cover and content, the duality of our showing on the surface what people want to see, but giving them the chance to look on the other side as well.

post by Jenela Kostova


Made me look

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Designing a book is not something that requires a lot more than just putting together some pieces of paper and binding them in a book cover. But in order to design a book that immediately attracts ones attention, a book that makes you look, it is necessary to re-think it to make people wonder and speculate. Something that surprises them, make them think, or reminds them of something else that they are familiar with.
Stefan Sagmeisters book “Made you look” from 2001 is a great example of a book that has been re-thought. Already by removing the plastic cover of the book you get surprised and fascinated by the simple transformation that takes place in front of your eyes. What seemed to be a sweet family dog appears to be a ferocious wolf, just by using red foil on top of a separated red and green color print. The technology is simple, the result overwhelming.

Already in 1923 El Lissitzky was thinking further than just a bunch of papers in a hard cover, when he published an interesting little book with poems of Vladimir Mayakovsky accompanied by graphics by him self, under the title “For the voice”.

To make it easy to locate a specific poem Lissitzky made the kind of index we find in phonebooks at the edge of the pages. But where in the phonebooks you look up a name by the first letter, Lissitzky made small abstract symbols or thumbnails of the graphic that accompanied the specific poem in the book.
This way Lissitzky moves the form of the book away from the formal form and at the same time he plays with an already known design, that doesn’t make people confused but rather triggers a desire to explore. I really think that this is a great way to stimulate peoples curiosity to look in the book, which is the whole point of making one. It’s very inspiring.

“Obsessions Make My Life Worse and My Work Better”

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stefan Sagmeister is a graphic designer who lives and works in New York.You might know him from his CD cover designs for the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed and many more.

In Experimentadesign he showed us a quote from an old diary of his, saying; ’obsessions make my life worse and my work better’. Spelling out these words he used 250.000 Eurocent coins. He left it completely open for the public to do with the work whatever they wanted; take the coins and start using it as money; take some and create a new image, turn them around, destroy it or just look at it.

It’s ironic to use money as a kind of ink for this line and put it on the street like that. He’s playing with the value of the money. As soon as you realize that the work is made out of money, there is a desire to have it. But then, he’s talking about obsessions. So it feels like a stupid act to take the money and start using it for your own pocket. Beside that, you really need to carry a lot of those heavy 1(!!) Eurocent coins to have a high number. It would be a real torture to take it. You must be really obsessed almost… This reminds me of the work of Damian Hirst (For the Love of God). Wich you can now be seen in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum. He is playing with the value of art by making the money aspect in art so dominant, marketing. The big difference is though, that Hirst is putting it in a commercial context himself, provoking a discussion and then, he is the one who is leading it. And in Sagmeisters case, it just happened. He didn’t had a hand in it, while Hirst is blowing everything up and it becomes a hype in a way.

The night after the opening of Experimentadesign two people started to put the coins in bags. The police were called and they decided that they had to secure the work so they took it to the police department. How Dutch is that? Due to a lack of interests by the authorities in events like this, you’ll get this kind of results. They’ll fund you to make things possible, and end up taking the artwork after a few hours to protect it. How much room is there left for interventions like these in our super save and over regulated society? Whose space is this anyway?

But still, it’s an unexpected interaction, and that is what the artwork tried to provoke. Therefore, I must say, I love it.

posting and police logo by Doris Boerman

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