Paula Scher is a talented American graphic designer, painter, author, and educator. She has been described as the master conjurer of the instantly familiar. She has a pop culture and Fine Art combined style. Her work is known for being iconic, clever, and accessible. Paula has been a very inspiring, talented, and renovating designer. In order to fully understand and admire her we have to look into her mind. We have to learn about her cultural influences, what problems she solves for her clients, and how. We have to learn how she relates concept, culture, and the art she produces.
Scher was born in 1948 in Virginia, she grew up in Philadelphia and Washington DC and studied design at Tyler School of Art before moving to New York City in 1970. Her father, who worked for the United States Geological Survey as a photogrammetric engineer, invented a device that corrects the distortion caused by aerial photography, which prompted her passion for creating hand-painted maps. Her parents were completely against her being an artist or designer. Scher always had a passion for art though. She went to school for fine arts first, but didn’t truly find herself till she took a graphic design class. To Scher this meant a lot of things. It taught her real problem-solving using ideas. She was taught to make metaphysical portraits using symbols or some such thing. She majored in design and had a teacher called Stanislaw Zagorski, who she credits for influencing her whole life. Her course split between design and illustration. She went into illustration. she could never do the type on her projects. She would come up with an idea and illustrate the idea. What Zagorski did for her was ask her ‘Why don’t you illustrate with type?’ So she began drawing the type and discovering that typography could have form. Later she found that you could be expressive simply by making choices.
Scher then went on to becoming the first woman principal at pentagram. She’s been partnered with them since 1991. She began her career as an art director in the 1970s. Her distinct typography style was very influential. She has created amazing designs for companies such as the public theater, Citibank, Tiffany’s and Co, Coca Cola, the Museum of Modern Art, New York City ballet, and so much more. Paula has won many awards and honors for her clever designs. Her work has been showcased all over the world.
Her biggest challenge as a designer is that she doesn’t like to repeat herself. He’s been designing for over 40 years. And tries to approach everything with a new point of view. She believes nowadays there’s too many ways to pass time with all the technology. She stated that her best ideas come to her while she was bored, stuck in traffic, and in cab. She thinks that minds are like a slot machine on one side of your brain you have life experiences, influence, Inspirations, and all the stuff that has made you angry, and your thoughts. On the other side is where you input a specific brief where it has the constraints for specific situations. You want the right brief to line up with the appropriate piece from the other side of our brain. These things come together to form a solution. She has said sometimes they don’t. And she has been criticized for not meeting up to her usual work, she has replied that some days she is simply more talented than other days. To her while her jobs are both good and bad jobs. A bad job is something she didn’t have an interest in in the first place, or a mean client. Her biggest challenge in design is to raise the expectations of what the sign could be. If there’s a better solution, or something that hasn’t been done yet, that’s the goal.
For over 4 decades Paula has been dazzling us with her brilliant mind. Her consistently fresh point of view is unique and modernizing. To take a peek into her mind to try to understand how she relates concept, culture, and the art she produces is beneficial to any designer. She encourages designers to approach designs the way an illustrator mentality.