Stefan Sagmeister is one of the world’s most daring, provocative designers. But, when it comes to creativity, it’s the simple things that make him happy.

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Stefan Sagmeister loves making lists. His design work is some of the most visually stimulating, creatively adventurous in the world, but his brain likes to organize things. 
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Ask him how he comes up with his ideas, and he reels off a list: “Thinking. Making a list. Concentrating. Talking to the client. Listen to the music – in the case of designing a CD cover. Look through old sketchbooks.” 
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Stefan Sagmeister is the man behind Sagmeister Inc, the world-renowned design agency, based in New York. The company has worked with some of the biggest names in music, including Lou Reed and the Rolling Stones, and has specialized in creating striking posters. 
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He was born in Austria in 1962, and got into design through his love of music. Album covers inspired him to build a career out of designing for the music industry. He went to Vienna and eventually got accepted into the city’s prestigious University of Applied Arts. 
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He has since studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He says that his studies were massively important to him, but believes designers can get by without formal training. “I myself loved design school a lot, and I extended it for as long as I possibly could – I also have a masters in communications. I would probably still be in art school if I could have found a way to make it happen. Having said that, many of my favourite designers have never been to art school at all.” 
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He is now experienced in the world of work, though, and has worked out what makes him happy. “Thinking about ideas and content freely – with the deadline far away – [makes me happy]. Working without interruptions on a single project, using a wide variety of tools and techniques, travelling to new places, and working on projects that matter to me.”
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Sounds like he’s asking a lot, but Sagmeister Inc has managed to achieve this goal. The company takes on corporate work in order to fund socially responsible projects, says Sagmeister. 
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He has been involved in projects such as Move Our Money – a campaign to lobby the US government to move money out of defence and into more positive areas. Sagmeister says he has learnt to deal with the stress of creativity. “I experience that much less now than I used to. With experience I got much better at being in charge of my time.”
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