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AG08 – Things I have learned in my life so far Keynote

Session: Keynote Speaker, Things I have learned in my life so far, Speaker: Stefan Sagmeister

Our keynote this AM was Stefan Sagmeister, media designer, author, and apparently grammy winner! Sagmeister started off the presentation showing us some of his deisgns – odd shaped buildings, pig cars, inflatable graphs that were photographed.

His method to energize his creativity is to close his studio every 7 years for a year of exploration and experimentation. He noted the first time he did this that his business boomed when he reopened his studio. Clients offered him carte blanche. The unlimited freedom wasn’t all he’d hoped for. It’s an overwhelming feeling. (I’m getting to the point of the story). To solve the problem he turned to his journal. In his journal he has a page labeled “Things I have learned in my life so far” that’s listed with several feel-good, deep, and profound sentences.

His design took this form.

He displayed these sentences in magazines, billboards, and on inflatable monkeys… One word at a time, beautifully crafted.

The reaction was profound. People went out of their way to find out more.

Why?

Because the sentences were personal…. The first one was “Everything I do always comes back to me.”

He showed several examples of the phrases he used:

  • Everything I get used to I take for granted.
  • Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
  • Worrying solves nothing.
  • Keeping a diary supports personal development
  • If I want to explore a new direction professionally I try it out for myself first
  • Assuming is stifling

And then his laptop rebooted…. and he started telling stories.

Sagmeister talked about how design can touch someone’s heart and have a profound impact on someone’s life. It doesn’t have to be just about marketing & profit. Good design can be socially responsible.

The keynote wasn’t directly related to learning, but I think we can take a lot from what he demonstrated and apply it to our field:

  • Simplicity is a great thing
  • Personal impact and emotional connection are powerful tools
  • Contradiction and juxtaposition evoke emotion, but can detract from the message.

The presentation wasn’t about learning. Plain and simple. It’s a stretch to make it so. But it was interesting none the less.

Check out the site where you can share what you’ve learned in your life.

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