Stefan Sagmeister - Portrait

Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister has made a name for himself primarily with the design of album covers. However, the Austrian also designs the brand presences of well-known companies and institutions. In doing so, he works closely on the border between graphic design and art.


Biography of Stefan Sagmeister

Stefan Sagmeister was born in Bregenz on August 6, 1962. He completed his schooling at the Höhere Grafische Bundes-Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna. He then enrolled at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, where he studied graphic arts and design until 1986. He then received a Filbright scholarship to study at the Pratt Institute in New York. There he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree.

In 1991, Sagmeister moved to Hong Kong, where he worked at the Leo Burnett advertising agency. Two years later he returned to New York. There he worked briefly for the design company M&Co, run by Tibor Kalman, until he founded his own agency Sagmeister Inc. in 1993.

For his work in the music industry Stefan Sagmeister receives many awards

With Sagmeister Inc., the Austrian designs media of various kinds, including above all the covers and packaging of long-playing records. Among others, the illustrations of the albums “Bridges to Babylon” (1997) by the Rolling Stones, “Set the Twilight Reeling” (1997) and “Ecstasy” (2000) by Lou Reed as well as “Nine Lives” (1997) by Aerosmith originate from Sagmeister’s creative work. The latter has been nominated for six Grammys for his work to date. He has also won the music award twice: in 2005 in the category Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package for “Once in a Lifetime” by Talking Heads and in 2010 in the category Best Record Packaging for “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today” by David Byrne and Brian Eno.

In addition to his work for the music industry, Sagmeister also creates graphic designs for companies. Well-known companies such as BMW, Ben & Jerry’s, Levi’s and the British bank Standard Chartered have already been among his clients. Sagmeister has also worked for the TV channel HBO and the Guggenheim Museum. In 2009, he published the book “Made You Look”, in which he presented all the works he has realized to date. Since 2000, there have also been exhibitions around the world dedicated to Sagmeister’s work.

Stefan Sagmeister and the long-standing partnership with Jessica Walsh

Like Hjalti Karlsson and Jan Wilker, the owners of Karlssonwilker. In 2010, Stefan Sagmeister met New York designer Jessica Walsh and hired her to work at his agency. Two years later, Sagmeister made Walsh a partner. The agency was therefore renamed Sagmeister & Walsh. To announce the news, the duo posed for public nude photos. In July 2019, Walsh left the agency and founded her own agency &Walsh. Sagmeister then returned his company to its original name, Sagmeister Inc.

Quotes of Stefan Sagmeister

There are brands out there in the world that have an incredible influence on the culture. Numerous ones are badly done.

- Stefan Sagmeister

I didn't think that personal style had much value in graphic design.

- Stefan Sagmeister

Yes, design can make you happy.

- Stefan Sagmeister

Work your ass off. Don't be an asshole.

- Stefan Sagmeister

Keeping a diary supports personal development.

- Stefan Sagmeister

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