The Stefan Sagmeister event was held at Zoo Atlanta. As a noob to the ATL, I wasn’t sure if this was the Atlanta zoo or some other place just given the name of zoo. There are morning zoos, etc. Perhaps the name referenced some other place, like an estuary. I wasn’t sure so I googled it. I discovered that Zoo Atlanta was located in Grant Park and the exact location I was looking for the Coca-Cola Amphitheatre was here as well. I had asked some folks at work, mentioning the Coca-Cola name and I drew blank stares. Perhaps I am an idiot, I thought to myself. As someone who is involved in the industry of branding I wonder whether it’s getting to be confusing. Names change…I went to see Radiohead at the Lakewood Amphitheater. When I mentioned it to ATL locals they said, “Oh yeah, that’s at Hi-Fi Buys.” “No, my ticket says, ‘Lakewood Amphitheater.” “No, that is Hi-Fi Buys…you’ll see when you get there.” Sure enough, the exit signs off the interstate were labeled, “Hi-Fi Buys”, and not, “Lakewood Amphitheater.” Well, whatever. I made it to the show. I could not care less the name of the joint.
So, eventually, I made it to the location of Sagmeister’s event. In time, actually, to make a stop at a local watering hole. It was raining when I got there…a drag since I wanted to sit outside. I ordered a Terrapin Rye, sat a table close to the bar and began to drink. I typically reserve the weekends for drinking. The week itself goes by quickly. I have a lot of work to do and I like to get up early, get to work early, and bust ass. Drinking typically slows this down so I wait. The place I stopped at was called something like, “The Neighborhood Bar.” Apparently, this is the place where all the local 20-30 somethings come, crumb-crunchers in tow, to unwind after a week full of daycare, working easy white collar jobs, and waxing the Beemer. I can’t complain. I suppose some day I’ll wind up in the same situation. Eyeing the guy sitting by himself at the bar, obviously unaware that this place is not really the place for Happy Hour but rather the Happy Meal. I order another beer and try to ignore the screaming child climbing on some other wayward patron’s hip scooter parked on the sidewalk.
The event had a start time of 7p.m. I had some time for drink and had a few more beers. They tasted wonderful…I have to recommend to anyone visiting Atlanta they try the Terrapin Rye.
Grant Park is a dog park. Nearly everyone that passed had a dog on a leash. I made it over to the Zoo and with the help of some AIGA signs and helpful Zoo staff, I found the Coca-Cola place. This was a sold out event and they had a large assortment of appetizers and drinks on hand. By the time I got there the reception was over and I had just enough time to get a couple of driinks, shove some snacks in my mouth, and find a seat in the packed amphitheater. The air conditioning wasn’t working so it was hot. Mr. Sagmeister came on and delivered his presentation as expected. It was good. I think the Q&A that goes on after is perhaps the most interesting part of the evening. There were some interesting questions that I can’t remember at this point. I wanted to ask whether Sagmeister feels he subverts the message of his clients to appease his own agenda. Those familiar with Sagmeister’s work, know that he likes to push the envelope, somehow asserting and yet defying the message of a brand. It’s a tightrope act that he seems to pull off time after time. His clients have to buy into his swagger and give up their notions of who they are and what they represent to become something that transcends the obvious in favor of the sublime. Sagmeister has had success doing this and it’s why we go to see him give his presentation.