Design Indaba

Stefan Sagmeister: Bring The Personal And The Human Into Design

Stefan Sagmeister is an Austrian graphic designer living and working in New York City. At AGI Open 2013, he spoke about doing both experimental and client-based work, and the effect it has had on his studio, Sagmeister & Walsh. 

Being a designer for more than 30 years, Sagmeister has explored furniture, film, digital and graphic design, which has divided his studio into three fundamental time frames. The first seven years was music centric, the second seven years branched out bringing the personal and the human into design, and the third seven years increased the second significantly with multiple projects being either self-initiated or more traditionally client based. 

Sagmeister's The Happy Film came from an interest to see whether it's possible to document happiness and explore what it means to different people. The film reveals that it's not possible to reach a constant state of happiness, and neither is it necessary, "If people watch my film and feel happy, then I feel the project has been a success". 

His advice for young designers is to try out as much as possible.
Don't worry about finding your own voice; it will come, says Sagmeister.
He encourages designers to travel down new roads even though it will be more difficult, it will be more rewarding. hosts hundreds of videos of speaker presentations and interviews and world design news. Updated daily, its content features the most cutting-edge design thinking and the work and ideas of the world's industry leaders in all the creative fields.

Design Indaba is a multi-tiered platform committed to a better world through creativity. Established in 1995 with its flagship conference, it has evolved into a multidisciplinary experience that now consists of the globally acclaimed annual Design Indaba Conference, Simulcast, Expo and FilmFest, as well as a host of parties, performances, training workshops, design projects, community initiatives and publications.

Posted 01 September 2016 Written by Will Hudson
Collection: Interview
Disciplines: Graphic Design
Mentions: Stefan Sagmeister
Sign Up Sign In

Lecture in Progress relies on the support of partners and plus members to provide the ongoing insight and advice to the next generation. To help support sign up now or find out more.

scroll to top arrow-up

Become a Member

Lecture in Progress is now free to access. Become a member and receive a number of additional benefits.



Alongside a wealth of behind-the-scenes advice and insight into the creative industries, join now to get exclusive access to offers and promotions. You’ll benefit from:

  • Member offers and promotions
  • Two weekly newsletters
  • Bookmark content
  • Shape the future of Lecture in Progress

Member Plus

£35/per year

By becoming a member plus, you’ll be helping us in our aim to support the next generation of creatives. You’ll also get the chance to shape the future of Lecture in Progress, and benefit from:

  • Member Plus offers and promotions
  • The biannual Lecture in Progress newspaper, delivered to your door
  • Insight reports into creative education and industry
  • Two weekly newsletters
  • Bookmark content
  • Shape the future of Lecture in Progress

Lecture in Progress is made possible with the support of the following brand partners