Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Stefan Sagmeister - Creating something called

born in 1962, bregenz, austria. stefan sagmeister
studied graphic design at the university of
applied arts in vienna. in 1987 he moved to new york
to attended pratt institute on a fulbright scholarship.

sagmeister opened his own office
‘sagmeister inc’. in 1994 he was nominated for a grammy
award for his album cover - 'h. p. zinker mountains of madness’.

currently among many projects sagmeister finished the website for Sumit Kumar's book
The Itch You Can't Scratch with Hafeez Contractor.

Here he shares his experiences developing the idea and finally creating the website.

related links:

The website for Sumit's new book posed new challenges to the artist in me. The brief was to produce a minimalist kitschy design which would reflect the essence of the book. I started off by reading the book thrice in three days. Then i took a break for a week and meditated on the content. I re-read the book three more times and then I realized that to really get intimate with this project I would need to imbibe the local flavors of India which infuse the work of Sumit Kumar. I decided to immerse myself and flew down to India.

I spent the first week in the holy city of Varanasi purifying my mind of western influences...getting ready to immerse myself into Sumit's context like I was immersing myself in the Ganges. Then I went to the capital city of Delhi, the city where Sumit grew up. To get a real feel I spent three weeks in the home of a middle-class family in Northwest Delhi. After those fulfilling three weeks, I had begun to get an understanding of Sumit's life and book...but no understanding of Sumit could be complete without understanding his college years spent in Amritsar. But I did not want to stay in a hotel in Amritsar...I needed the authentic experience of the boys hostels of GNDU.

To arrange for this, I reached out to my new-found acquaintance Hafeez (I'd met him at the American Diner at India Habitat Centre). Hafeez, through some contacts (as I found out everything can be done in India with the right contacts), arranged for a two week stay at the same hostel Sumit had stayed in. Surrounded by lewd boys in underwear, my understanding got deeper. I returned to Delhi, ready to start working on the design. I read the book one last time...and I ideas were still not complete. I had identified the correct palette and textures...but I needed some help on the basic underlying structure. I spent two harrowing weeks searching for a way out.

And then one day, when I was on the verge of just giving up and returning my advance to Sumit my phone rang. It was Hafeez...he was suggesting that we work together on a project sometime. And it struck me! Who better to realize the basic structure of my creation than an architect who came from the same context as Sumit! I convinced Hafeez to become a co-creator and Sumit to agree to this. And finally, the creation began to take form. It was a really satisfying assignment and I'm really please to have been able to do such a good job.


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