What would you do if Stefan Sagmeister dared you to get naked?

Would you research every naked photo he’s been in? Would you bock at the thought and proclaim, “Who does that guy think he is?” Would you accept the challenge, and bare all in the name of creativity, design, and free expression? In July, AIGA Portland was asked to do just that. After a healthy debate, we took the dare—and loved and despised every second of it.

Stefan Sagmeister is known for his innovative and expressive design work. After partnering with Jessica Walsh in 2012, he too sent out an announcement in which they posed nude, side by side, with the words: “We will do anything for design.” Sagmeister has posed nude on numerous occasions but it was the photo with Walsh that really gained the attention of viewers. It was bold, controversial, and extremely effective. When asked if the duo considered any alternative methods of announcing the partnership, Stefan responded, “We show our clients only one concept, so we showed ourselves only one too.”


If you were on the AIGA Portland board, what would you do with Stefan Sagmeister’s challenge? If you attended Design and Happiness during Design Week Portland last fall, you saw the results of our exploration. Though in the end not everyone could be there (or wanted to be there) for the photograph itself, the entire board was involved in the initial concept phase of creating the image. The challenge brought the AIGA Portland board closer together. It taught us to question everything, discuss our values and vulnerabilities, share how we feel about our bodies, declare where we will draw the line, discover our bravery, and debate what we are willing to do in the name of design. To sum it up, the dare was a powerful conduit that encouraged us to get a little uncomfortable and embrace the opportunity for growth.

As you are creating your next project, ask yourself these three things:

“Am I taking a risk?”
“Is the work coming from an honest place?”
“Will I do anything for design?”

We dare YOU to share your process, your work, and your love of design with us by using the hashtags #DesignNaked #AIGAPortland.

We’re starting a conversation here in Portland that will extend across the U.S. to other chapters. We want to discover what YOU love about design and how design helps YOU to be a more brave, courageous, creative force.

Marisa Green
Vice President, AIGA Portland



A special thanks goes out to Justin “Scrappers” Morrison for art directing our naked photo. We had to enlist the man who is known for Stay Wild—and, of course, getting naked.

We’d also like to thank Christine Taylor of Happy Playground for your stellar photography skills. She was key in helping us all to feel comfortable and to have fun!

Last but not least, thank you to Stefan Sagmeister for unwittingly being the catalyst in helping propel our bravery and helping us rediscover what it means to #DesignNaked.

Published March 6, 2015
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