“YOU DESIGN ART”
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“THE ORIGINAL GANGSTA OF SERIF TYPOGRAPHY.”
“LOVE FOR ART”
Art have to start somewhere, and it’s you who design art. Stefan Sagmeister is one of the most important Graphic Designer today. In 1987, Sagmeister won a Fulbright scholarship to study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Here humour emerged as the dominant theme in his work. When a girlfriend asked him to design business cards which would cost no more than $1 each, Sagmeister printed them on dollar bills. And when a friend from Austria came to visit, having voiced concern that New York women would ignore him, Sagmeister postered the walls of his neighbourhood with a picture of his friend under the words “Dear Girls! Please be nice to Reini”.
STEFAN SAGMEISTER (1962-) is among today’s most
important graphic designers. Born in Austria, he now lives and works in New York. His long-standing collaborators include the AIGA and musicians, David Byrne and Lou Reed. When Stefan Sagmeister was invited to design the poster for an AIGA lecture he was giving on the campus at Cranbrook near Detroit, he asked his assistant to carve the details on to his torso with an X-acto knife and photographed the result. Sunning himself on a beach the following summer, Sagmeister noticed traces of the poster text rising in pink as his flesh tanned. Now a graphic icon of the 1990s, that 1999 AIGA Detroit poster typifies Stefan Sagmeister’s style. Striking to the point of sensationalism and humorous but in such an unsettling way that it’s nearly, but not quite unacceptable, his work mixes sexuality with wit and a whiff of the sinister.
After three years in the US, Sagmeister returned to Austria for compulsory military service. As a conscientious objector, he was allowed to do community work in a refugee centre outside Vienna. He stayed in Austria working as a graphic designer before moving to Hong Kong in 1991 to join the advertising agency, Leo Burnett. “They asked if I would be interested in being a typographer, “ he later told the author, Peter
Sagmeister’s technique is often simple to the point of banality: from slash-
“So I made up a high number and said I would do it for that.” ing D-I-Y text into his own skin for the AIGA Detroit poster, to spelling out words with roughly cut strips of white cloth for a 1999 brochure for his girlfriend, the fashion designer, Anni Kuan.
Hall. “So I made up a high number and said I would do it for that.” When the agency was invited to design a poster for the 1992 4As advertising awards ceremony, Stefan depicted a traditional image featuring four bare male bottoms. Some ad agencies boycotted the awards in protest and the Hong Kong newspapers recived numerous letters of complaint. Sagmeister’s favourite said: “Who’s the asshole who designed this poster?” By spring 1993, he had tired of Hong Kong.
The strength of his work lies in his ability to conceptualise: to come up with potent, original, stunningly appropriate ideas. Born in Bregenz, a quiet town in the Austrian Alps, in 1962, Sagmeister studied engineering after high school, but switched to graphic design after working on illustrations and lay-outs for Alphorn, a left-wing magazine. The first of his D-I-Y graphic exercises was a poster publicising Alphorn’s Anarchy issue for which he persuaded fellow students to lie down in the playground in the shape of the letter A and photographed them from the school roof.
As a Pratt Institute student, his dream had been to work at M&Co, the late Tibor Kalman’s graphics studio. Sagmeister bombarded Kalman with calls and finally persuaded him to sponsor his green card application. Four years later on his return from Hong Kong, the green card came through. His first project for M&Co was an invitation for a Gay and Lesbian Taskforce Gala for which he designed a prettily packaged box of fresh fruit. Cue a logistical nightmare as M&Co’s staff struggled to stop the fruit rotting in the heat of a sweltering New York summer. A few months later, Tibor Kalman announced that he was closing the studio to move to Rome, and Sagmeister set up on his own. His goal was to design music graphics, but only for music he liked. To have the freedom to do so, Sagmeister decided to follow Kalman’s advice by keeping his company small with a team of three: himself, a designer and an intern.
At 19, Sagmeister moved to Vienna hoping to study graphics at the city’s prestigious University of Applied Arts. After his first application was rejected – “just about everybody was better at drawing than I was” – he enrolled in a private art school and was accepted on his second attempt. Through his sister’s boyfriend, the rock musician, Alexander Goebel, Sagmeister was introduced to the Schauspielhaus theatre group and designed posters for them as part of the Gruppe Gut collective. Many of the posters parodied traditionally twee theatrical imagery and offset it with roughly printed text in the grungey typefaces of punk albums and 1970s anarchist graphics.
C LAU D
ORIGINAL G A N G S TA O F
S ER I F
T Y PO G R APH Y
One of the worlds most used antikva fonts, just as popular as in the year 1500 as in year 2000. 500 years has only done this font good, and it’s getting better. Claude Garamond was a French printer born in Paris in 1490. His career began as an apprentice punch-cutter andprinter for Antoine Augereau in 1510. “Punch-cutter” refers to the traditional craft of cutting the master image of a typographic letter at the actual size on a blank of steel that is then used to make the matrix from which metal type is cast. Claude Garamond was the first person to master all aspects of book publishing: type design, punch-cutting, and type-founding. Because of his many skills, Garamon was well known in the publishing industry in France. He created many different types and was often requested by Royalty to create specific type for their documents. By 1545, Garamond started his own publishing house and became the first independent type founder. Garamond often offered his cast moveable type to other publishers at a very affordable price. His books were meticulously crafted with attention to everything from the quality of the paper to the superb binding. He incorporated his own type into every book and concentrated on the visual beauty of every printed page. Garamond demanded clarity in his designs and widemargins to match from page to page. After Garamond’s death in 1561, his punches made their way throughout other regions of Europe, and became extremely popular in Germany and Belgium. The readability of Garamond’s type quickly inspired other types that copied his style such as Stempel Garamond and Garamond Antiqua in the early 20th century and, more recently, Adobe Garamond and ITC Garamond. Today there are nearly hundreds of Garamond type designs, and they all contain the key traits of the original type created over 450 years ago. The character stroke-weight stress is
canted, or running in a slanted direction. The head serifs look like banners and the baseline serifs tend to be long and slightly cupped. One striking feature that is present in most all Garamond styles is found in the capitol letter T. Garamond is originally rendered as “Garamont”, but the French spelling, the terminal ‘d’ became customary and stuck. Garamond came to prominence in 1541, when three of his Greek typefaces (1541) were requested for a royally-ordered book series by Robert Estienne. Garamond based these types on the handwriting of Angelo Vergecio, the King’s Librarian at Fontainebleau, as well as that of his ten-year-old pupil, Henri Estienne.
“among the most finished specimens of typography that exist.” A native of Paris, Garamond was an engraver and letter founder of high repute. He was regarded as the best typecutter of his day. He was commissioned by King Francis First of France to make a new cast of type for his own exclusive use, now known as Grecs du Roi. Garamond was the first to produce a reworking of the earlier typefaces of Aldus Manutius, creating a face called Garamond. Small roman type became the standard European type of the day and was still in use in the 18th century. During most of the 20th century, most leading foundries around the world redrawn their own versions of Garamond’s typeface, and Garamond’s roman is still regarded today as one of the classic typefaces. According to Arthur Tilley, the resulting books are “among the most finished specimens of
typography that exist.” Shortly thereafter, Garamond created the Roman types for which he would most be remembered, and his influence spread rapidly throughout and beyond France during the 1540s. Garamond’s name was originally rendered as “Garamont”, but following the standardization of French spelling, the terminal ‘d’ became customary and stuck. In 1621, sixty years after Garamond’s death, the French printer Jean Jannon (1580–1635) created a type specimen with very similar attributes, though his letterforms were more asymmetrical, and had a slightly different slope and axis. Jannon’s typefaces were lost for more than a century before their rediscovery at the National Printing Office of France in 1825, when they were wrongly attributed to Garamond. It was not until 1927, more than 100 years later, that Jannon’s “Garamond” typefaces were correctly credited to him on the basis of scholarly research by Beatrice Warde. In the early 20th century, Jannon’s types were used to produce a history of French printing, which brought new attention to French typography and to the “Garamond” type style. The modern revival of Claude Garamond’s typography which ensued was thus inadvertently modeled on Jannon’s outstanding work. Garamond’s letterforms convey a sense of fluidity and consistency. Some unique characteristics in his letters are the small bowl of the a and the small eye of the e. Long extenders and top serifs have a downward slope. Garamond is considered to be among the most legible and readable serif typefaces for use in print applications. It has also been noted to be one of the most eco-friendly major fonts when it comes to ink usage.
THE OASE INTERVIEW Karel Marten
by Peter Bil’ak
“It is important to realise that it is always the same audience that reads OASE, and they don’t really want to have always the same magazine with just a different cover. It is more respectful to the public to always prepare something unique.” Has the grid changed since the first issue? How was the grid evolving as the magazine was growing up? Yes, The 6×2 mm grid changed. The production of OASE changed, and now we are doing it fully in-house, the grid changed. Now it is made completely on the Macintosh and this offers much more opportunities to play with columns, type and the margins.
When did you start working on OASE magazine? The first issue that I did was in 1990. Before it was a magazine of a different format, A4 size. Did you suggested a new size? Yes. The magazine has quite a theoretical approach, so used this book format. Before What is was just loose papers, where students would hand their the size of type-written essays. It looked very nice, I liked it, but the OASE magait was a bit problematic to continue this way, so I zine? It is related decided to change it. to the maximum size of the sheet? Yes, 24×17 And the change was using a book cm it is the most economical format rather then using a consize for the 50×70cm presses in ventional magazine format? the Netherlands. It is very economical, There was a lot of text, however, you cannot bleed on all sides. I and not so many imaghave to adjust the design to this as well, so we es. It was easier to move all the images up on the sheet. read in new format.
issues are I spent some time looking at OASE trying to bilingual, so I follow the internal structure of the magahad to adapt the zine. I had an impression that the grid is grid to accommodate changing with every issue, as well as more text. We are now paper and typefaces. That’s true. As doing an issue of OASE basic typfaces I am trying to stick with [issue 49] and we made the Monotype Grotesque and Janson, Dutch and the English text equal. but there are exceptions. The This requires a change in grid too. grid is also changing when the format is changing. Did you add more pages when OASE beThe grid, and the came bilingual? No, and that was the problem. division of the grid, The editor wanted to have the English translation, depends on and asked me to put it in the back of the magazine. the issue. However, for me it was a nice opportunity to combine both The last languages, but they did not offer me more pages. The type two was getting smaller and smaller.
When you started working on OASE did you design a fixed grid for the future issues? For me the grid is an instrument that allows me to work with books. Very often it is a flexible grid so I am not too constrained, I still have to take decisions about placing text and images.
It seems that you turn all the technical constrains and limitations to an advantage, and there is no visible aesthetic compromise in OASE, all the issues work well with all these limitations. Limitations are an important thing in design because they offer solutions. You seem to almost enjoy those limitations. It’s not that I would ask for them, but I am always trying to find my space when working on a project. OASE is a very low-budget publication, and For me, from the beginning, it was important to realise that it is always the same audience that reads OASE, and they don’t really want to have always the same magazine with just a different cover. It is the same as if I would have invited a guest to my house and prepare a wonderful meal. They enjoy it, but if they come next time, I cannot prepare the same meal again. It is more respectful to the public to always prepare something unique. They look forward for the next issue.
L OV E F O R A RT t h r o u g h
M a r i a n
B a n t j e s
My love typography. Dear typography, since the first time we crossed roads I’ve always felt like there was something interesting about the way you made me feel about my work. The new way you appeared, that finally has become my salvation. Always playing nice, and always letting me have a say before the big decitions. You have both strong and weak sides, but when they are joined together it makes you perfect. The changes in you never scare me, but on the contrary I get more immersed by the way you change my way of thinking. You always have the ability to change, and it never stops inspiring me when you do. From nothing to something amazing is a part of what I am dealing with everyday, but only by the way of typography I will have something to present to the world. I’ve accomplished everything and even more than I ever thought could be possible. Like when I’m walking in the park trying to avoid dog poop, and suddenly my mind form letters out of leafs, and it reminds me of you, my dear typography. If you ever where to leave me, I would be devastated, and something big in my life would disappear .I’m a puzzle-lady, and you are like the biggest puzzle in my life. Like a big mystery I’ll never be truly able to solve myself, but I will never give up. I will love you till my very last breath, and I really hope you will let me, and never disappear.
Love from Marian