Thursday, March 20, 2008

the art of getting it wrong

While Stefan Sagmeister is more circumspect about the productive role of failure, his anecdote about one such moment is hilarious. A few years back he commissioned Ken Miki to design a six-page spread featuring one of his maxims (in this case "Money does not make me happy"). When the piece finally appeared in a technology/art/design magazine called .copy it became painfully evident, if only to Sagmeister, that a rather unhappy accident had occurred during repro and printing. The legend now read: "Money Does Does Make Me Happy." As he notes dryly, "Next month the magazine ran a tiny correction: Stefan Sagmeister now thinks money does not make him happy after all." This abject failure — not a failure to communicate so much as a 180-degree reversal of meaning — actually provided the inspiration for his design of an installation on the exterior of a huge Austrian casino: the main façade reads "MONEY:" only by passing down a side street can one see the rest of the maxim.

Matt Soar at Design Observer on the uses of failure

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