Sagmeister set up his graphic design studio in New York in 1993, focusing at first on the music industry—his CD covers for Lou Reed, David Byrne, and the Rolling Stones are well known—then on other commercial commissions and pro bono cultural projects such as a series of posters for the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA).
Punctuation is one of twenty-four limited-edition posters commissioned by the Neenah Paper company in 2004 to raise money for the Books for Kids Foundation. A number of New York designers were each given a punctuation symbol to work with. Sagmeister got the apostrophe and based his poster on the premise that an “apostrophe is in the letter-elimination business.” The same image was later used to illustrate a 2007 New York Times article about the controversy around the use of the comma in the Second Amendment and the difference that a mere punctuation sign can make in the interpretation of each citizen’s right to carry a gun.
This poster typifies Stefan Sagmeister’s at once striking and humorous style as well as his ability to come up with a compelling concept and execute it with a raw and straightforward technique.
Gallery label from Rough Cut: Design Takes a Sharp Edge, November 26, 2008–October 12, 2009.