About a week ago our long wait to greet Stefan “The Sagmeister” Sagmeister in Tallinn finally ended. There he was, drinking bottled water at our office, happily accepting a job offer as Brand Manual’s receptionist.
This happened many years after we made our first approach to Stefan through ADC*Estonia. A year ago at the festival in Cheltenham Dan, Brand Manual’s founding partner, again approached Stefan with the offer to come to Estonia. This was followed by months of thorough preparations by the Estonian Design Centre (thank you, Sirli!) to organize the event, because Stefan said YES.
The wait paid off handsomely. The seminar was sold out and the 95 head audience kept Stefan talking for hours and hours. The longest seminar for him to run, EVER, Stefan confessed afterwards. What he talked about, seemed to move a lot of people in the audience. Some had arrived to meet an idol, others expected to see a stiff celebrity, some had professional interest, but few expected to be launched into a personal journey of Stefan’s career.
Stefan didn’t preach, teach, or try to prove anything other than what he does, rather than what he knows. He showed what good storytelling was all about, sharing his personal experiences in staying true to his gut feelings as well as those little clever thoughts he has put down in his notebook over time. “A good reminder of things you often forget at daily work – just dig a little deeper with your ideas and designs” as Ville and Tony from the Finnish design studio Kuudes Kerros saw it.
People were all ears and took priceless notes. And still it was only after the seminar that the audience realized that all this time they were part of yet another Stefan’s project – the event was filmed and parts of it will probably be used in his newest work in progress – the “Happiness” documentary project.
This was all so common sense, that it felt uncommon. And inspiring. Thank you, Stefan.
Visit Estonian Design Cetnre’s FB page to see more photos from the event.