The envelope-pushing graphic designer behind The Happy Show at Toronto’s Design Exchange.
At the opening of his exhibit last night, Sagmeister prefaced a tour for the packed-to-capacity crowd by explaining that the show’s collected insights are not meant to be ironic or cynical. Taken honestly, the New York–based designer’s installations—gum ball machines numbered from 1 to 10, with the levels of gum dispensed illustrating showgoers’ average level of happiness, and figurative stencils (naked bodies, the seven continents) outlining such themes as marital and geographical happiness—convey Sagmeister’s hard-earned maxims. What ties the show together, beyond its palette of smiley-face yellow, black and white, is his handwriting on the walls to accompany his more formal video and illustrative works.
Ahead of the opening, we spoke with Sagmeister about bringing the exhibit into the gallery’s unofficial spaces, determining typographic treatments and what that pedal-powered neon sign is all about.
How did you weave together the various elements of the Happy Show?
There are a lot of spaces, some connected, some disconnected, so I decided to put our old trick of handwriting into the show, and that made everything easier. It was necessary to have some sort of common thread to move the people through. And it gives them an opportunity to linger... (continue reading)
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