Picture This: The Happy Show

Photo Source: Stefan Sagmeister

Photo Source: Stefan Sagmeister

Hello!  I hope you had a great weekend!  I did 41 lbs. of laundry – an Olympic sport when you live in a 4th-floor walk-up.

Well, it’s Monday folks, so let’s try to kickstart the week properly (read = one of these links will contain nudity – happy hunting!).

Stefan Sagmeister is an Austrian-born, NYC-based graphic designer with a mega-hip following – he’s designed album covers for Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, and The Talking Heads, among other projects for HBO and the Guggenheim Museum.  Basically, he’s one cool dude.

On display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA, his current project, “The Happy Show,” works with several personal themes of happiness (what it is, how we get it, how we keep ourselves from feeling it), and is filled with interesting statistics, cheeky typography, and lots of interactivity (one installation asks viewers to climb to the top of the museum stairwell and sing their favorite pop songs as loudly as possible – one brave soul wrote, “Yes, I did it. Got weird looks but I did it. It was great.”).

Stefan was motivated by the question of whether we can train our minds to be happy the way we train our bodies to run.  What do you think – can we?  How would you do it?  I would start with lots and lots of these.

One part of the exhibit asks museum-goers to draw their symbols of happiness on slips of paper (no smiley faces allowed) – you can see selections made by Sagmeister and his colleagues on Flickr.

Sagmeister has also issued lots of questions to his followers via twitter:

What is the happiest word? (My Answer: Cozy)
What would you do if you had a year off? (My Answer: Explore)
What food makes you happy? (My Answer: Sugar)
What have you done to make someone else unexpectedly happy? (My Answer: A lady doesn’t kiss and tell.)

Here are more great looks at the exhibit, as well as some of the really eye-catching work he does as a designer, and a link to his TedTalk: 7 rules For Making More Happiness.

TheHappyShow_4 TheHappyShow_5 TheHappyShow_6 TheHappyShow_7

Photo Source: Bettyko

Photo Source: Bettyko

The Happy Show Staircase

Stefan Sagmeister Looks

Symbol of Happiness


  • Creative Direction: Stefan Sagmeister
  • Art Direction & Design: Jessica Walsh
  • Design: Verena Michelitsch, Jordan Amer, Simon Egli, Martin Gnadt

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