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Things I Have Learned In My Life So Far by Stefan Sagmeister

September 21, 2014

Sagmeister is one of the world’s most respected graphic designers. Every seven years, he closes his successful studio down for a sabbatical year, yet each time discovers that after 12 months of doing projects for himself, his commercial work is even more in demand. This is a collection of typographical projects resulting from one of those sabbatical years, each with an accompanying essay. Each project brings to life a personal maxim from Sagmeister’s diary.

ASSUMING IS STIFLING.

BEING NOT TRUTHFUL WORKS AGAINST ME.

COMPLAINING IS SILLY, EITHER ACT OR FORGET.

DRUGS ARE FUN IN THE BEGINNING BUT BECOME A DRAG LATER ON.

EVERYBODY [ALWAYS] THINKS THEY ARE RIGHT.

EVERYBODY WHO IS HONEST IS INTERESTING.

EVERYTHING I DO ALWAYS COMES BACK TO ME.

HAVING GUTS ALWAYS WORKS OUT FOR ME.

HELPING OTHER PEOPLE HELPS ME.

IF I WANT TO EXPLORE A NEW DIRECTION PROFESSIONALLY, IT IS HELPFUL TO TRY IT OUT FOR MYSELF FIRST.

KEEPING A DIARY SUPPORTS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT.

Sagmeister makes them personal to avoid the pressure of coming up with universal truths. This leads to a collection of observations that are sometimes slightly awkward, sometimes banal, but more unique than if he had tried for universality. Most are pretty insightful.

Not surprisingly, the most interesting part of the book is not the writing but the design. The projects themselves are sometimes remarkable, sometimes strange, often quirky and fun, always unique. But each project is created as a booklet inside a cardboard case. The case has a photo of Sagmeister on the front, die-cut to allow whichever booklet is first to show through, creating 30 different possible looks for the cover. Of all the works in the book, it is the design of the book itself that has become iconic. A very cool book to have on the shelf.

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