Supersized Public Service Announcement—Stefan Sagmeister
Ran across this self-initiated installation piece that became a public billboard—the sweet spot of writing & design one might say. It’s a excerpt from Stefan Sagmeister’s book “Things I have learned in my life so far” — Number 16. Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
The artwork was created on the roof of his studio in New York by exposing newsprint paper to the sun through letter stencils. This process took advantage of the paper’s yellowing or bleaching effect from Ultraviolet light and created a subtle and temporal impression in the pulp of the paper. Once the sun’s bleaching created the desire results, Sagmeister removed the stencils and shipped the large format paper to Lisbon, Portugal for display. Makes me ask why Lisbon needed a social whack on the head. Also, nice to see smart offline work creating an impression online media can’t pull off.
Once in place for public view, the artwork began its final and completed state of transformation—by additional exposure to the sun, in due time the previously unexposed areas darkened to the same value and hue as the surrounding background—creating the effect of vanishing type—a subtle and clever use of material, time and natural elements. Interestingly enough as a process for creating art, the execution of the visual forms (the typography and the paper) was critical for the transmission of the concept in the message/text. For it’s with the ‘fading’ of the text that he mirrored the central idea of ‘Number 16’.