News and thoughts from the center of Gravity

Sagmeister & Walsh’s new identity is a bit of a tragedy


I saw Stefan Sagmeister speak for the first time at a HOW conference in 2004 or 2005. His topic was Production. It was one of the most entertaining talks I’ve heard at any conference and the crowd cheered him to the echo. About production. Dude’s a genius.

Being naked in print is not new for Sagmeister, and recent photos have the whole team jumping about in the buff. So maybe it’s not out of the norm for Sagmeister & Walsh who’ve already posed naked together to announce their partnership, but unsettling to see the whole team…you know, really see them (I mean how does a new client feel with their creative team in full monty mode when they are about to meet for a presentation?)

Then I see the new Sagmeister Walsh identity and I’m baffled. I want to get inspiration and good stuff from it but all I get is an ew (Penis size by race? What?) and ick (the design is almost as bad as the subject matter) and a feeling that they really need to rethink the whole thing. It’s their business and their identity but Stefan Sagmeister is about the closest design comes to a real rockstar and people notice what he does.


I don’t know where he’s going with this but it all feels kind of sad and desperate. Pushing buttons instead of pushing the envelope if that makes sense. Misguided.

For more, this article by Michael Silverberg has some good thoughtful insights on the new identity system.

-Barbara Combs