Stefan Sagmeister reflects on his Insta-based design clinic

For two years, graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister has been giving feedback on the work of his Instagram followers on a daily basis. CR speaks to the designer about why he does it and what he’s learnt about criticism 

In 2017, Stefan Sagmeister, often touted as one of the world’s best known graphic designers, began using his Instagram account as a virtual design clinic. After inviting his followers to submit their work, in return, Sagmeister would post a short critique of it on his Instagram account. Two years on, his page is brimming with the work of designers from around the world all seeking his wisdom.  

“I had gone to a salon of the late artist Louise Bourgeois, who, every Sunday evening, allowed up to 12 people to come to her living room,” Sagmeister says of where the idea first originated. “Everybody needed to bring work, which she then critiqued. She was ruthless! And of course incredibly generous too, it is quite a gift to give up an evening every week in order to do this.” 

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@triaquarcle writes: Here is a poster I have created for showcasing my in-progress typeface Bass. Bass is a typeface which is as bad-ass as you. ⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ my review: This is a fine poster, well composed and containing type both quirky and fun. I am not a big friend of the term 'badass', its been so ubiquitously overused mostly for perceived breaks from the norm within a corporate context that I'd retire it. And yes, 'quirky' might be next.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ If you want your project reviewed within this space, email me a square jpeg or mov file on white or black background, do include your IG address. Please do not send in designs based on the work of another designer. ⁠⠀

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In the studio, Sagmeister and his team received a near-constant stream of requests from people who asked them to look at their portfolios. “I simply copied her idea and conducted a salon, where up to 12 designers came into our studio on Monday evenings,” explains Sagmeister.