Paula Scher – The goddess of Graphic Design


Paula Scher - the graphic design goddess

Paula Scher is one of the most influential graphic designers in the world.

Paula began her career as an art director in the early 80s because her typographic work became a trend.

Some people say.“She is the goddess of Graphic Design.” I do agree with them as her unique style is remarkable.

According to her: “typography means panting with words.”

It was 1994 when she created her first big case: “The Public Theater“ this modern design was revolutionary, it undoubtedly inspired lots of new cultural institutions, changing completely New York’s urban landscape consequently big cities around the globe.

The public Theater bring da noise funk
The public Theater blade to the heat

Paula has been a partner in the New York office of Pentagram since 1991, bringing with her extremely important clients like Microsoft, Adobe, Coca-Cola, the Walt Disney Company, Bloomberg, among others.

We can also see some of Paula’s designs in the New York Times, GQ and other publications.

If you are into typography, Paula recommends the reading of American wood type. She gathers from this book tons of inspiration.

American Wood Type book
American Wood Type book

She also says. “I have my best ideas in taxi cabs.”

During her career, she has received many industry honours and awards. In 1998 she was named to the Art Director Club Hall of Fame, in 2000 she received the Chrysler Award for Innovation in Design. In 2001 she was guarded with the AIGA Medal, a recognition for her contributions to the field, among others.

She also has an academic career, teaching 20 years at the School of Visual Arts, Paula holds a BFA from Tyler School of Art and honorary doctorates from the Corcoran College of Art and Design.

She is the author of Make it bigger, MAPS and 25 years the Public. A live story.

Paula Scher's book - make it bigger
Paula Scher’s book – make it bigger
Paula Scher's Maps book
Paula Scher’s Maps book
Paula Scher's book 25 years at the public - A love story
Paula Scher’s book 25 years at the public – A love story

Mrs Scher is married to Seymour Chwast. She describes him as her first design here and then they got married.

Her father was a mapmaker, who invented a device to produce accurate maps with the highest precision.

We can see her genuine passion for maps in some paintings, created by mixing maps and typography.

Paula Scher's - World Maps
Paula Scher’s – World Maps

Another Paula’s passion is music and pop culture, especially the 60s combining typography and illustrations. She developed some album covers as well, although her most fantastic job is a cover created to Boston, this album sold 6 million copies.

“The Boston cover is dumb,” she says.

Paula Scher's - Bostan album cover
Paula Scher’s – Bostan album cover

We have talked already talked about album covers here.

Another challenge she experienced was the creation of a new visual communication to Citibank after the bank had purchased a very big travel insurance company.

If you want to dive into her successful career, you need to watch Abstract a Netflix documentary about design.

Paula Scher is the star in episode number six of the first season.

To correctly conclude Paula Scher is one of the brilliant minds in our field, her remarkable accomplishments since the 80s are absolutely an inspiration for all designers that have started to work after it.

We know that even nowadays the market has much sexism, in the 80s it was worse for sure, but Paula with her genius could break it, hopefully, other women will look up to her, because our field undoubtedly requires even more talented women.

Do you have anything to add about Paula Scher’s portfolio?

Tell us in the comments.

Wrote by: Rafael de Rezende Basso


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