Stefan Sagmeister to Creatives: ‘No F*ckhead, You Are Not a Storyteller’

By Claire Daniel 

We knew that someone would eventually call the idea of advertisers as “storytellers” bullsh*t…and that someone was Stefan Sagmeister of design firm Sagmeister & Walsh. He made his comments at the recent CAMP Festival in Calgary, where the theme this year was–you guessed it–storytelling.

In an uncharacteristically irascible interview for FITC, the organisers of the Camp festival in Calgary, Sagmeister attacks the urge for those in the communications industry to rush to re-assign themselves as storytellers, the theme of the conference. “Now everybody’s a storyteller,” he says, before dismissing the trend as “bullshit”. [Source]

Some key quotes after the jump…


“Well I’m actually quite critical of the storytelling theme. I think all the storytellers are not storytellers.

Recently I read an interview with someone who designs roller coasters and he referred to himself as a ‘storyteller.’ No fuckhead, you are not a storyteller, you’re a roller coaster designer!” And that’s fantastic and more power to you, but why would you want to be a storyteller if you design roller coasters or if the story you are telling is bullshit? … That’s a fucking bullshit story—it’s boring!

People who actually tell stories, meaning people who write novels and make feature films don’t see themselves as storytellers. It’s all the people who are not storytellers, who kind of for strange reasons because it’s in the air suddenly now want to be storytellers.

There is this fallacy out there. I don’t think I fell for it, but somehow maybe unconsciously I did, you know I’ve seen a number of films so I must be able to do one. Of course this is the most stupidest thought ever. It’s like, Oh, I watched the philharmonic. That’s why I’m a virtuoso violin player. You know, well, I’m not, even though I’ve watched a lot of philharmonic concerts.

I think by now, in our space, meaning the space of design, it sort of took on the mantle of bullshit… now everyone’s a storyteller.”