BrandingFeminism AdvertisingGraphic DesignHistoric Advertising

Great Females Graphic Designers: Paula Scher

Paula Scher

We review the history of the Great Female Graphic Designers: Paula Scher.

With Susan Kare we started a series of blog entries at telling advertising agency to talk about the great graphic designers of history. We saw that thanks to talent and work it was possible to find a place in an era where men were the big names in the world of Graphic Design and Advertising.

Today we are going to review the life and work of Paula Scher. The great graphic designer of the 90s in the United States and one of the most relevant figures of graphic design of the last four decades.

Paula Scher was born in 1948 in Virgina and studied at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. She soon began her work in the world of advertising and design at CBS Records where she was hired in the advertising and promotions department. In this department she did not feel comfortable and decided to go to the competition, Atlantic Records, where she became Art Director, beginning to design album covers.

Her stage on CBS Records

Portadas CBS Records Paula Scher

A year later, she returned to CBS Records as an Art Director in the cover department. There he spent one of the most productive periods of his career, reaching more than 150 album covers per year in the 8 years he was on the record label.

He made some of the most memorable designs on album covers such as: Boston (Boston), Eric Gale (Ginseng Woman), Leonard Bernstein (Poulenc Stranvinsky), Jean-Pierre Rampal and Lily Laskin (Sakura: Japanese Melodies for Flute and Harp). Her designs have been recognized with four Grammy nominations.

Portadas CBS Records Paula Scher

In her years at CBS Records, Paula Scher moved between pop culture and fine arts; endowing his designs with an eclectic approach that became highly influential. He developed a typographic solution based on Art Deco and Russian Constructivism, incorporating obsolete typefaces into his work.

In 1984 he would leave CBS Records to found Koppel & Scher with Terry Koppel, friend and colleague of the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. There he learned to survive day to day, a situation very different from his status on CBS.

Terry Koppel was an editorial designer and complemented much of the day-to-day of the agency. Thus, Scher was able to work quietly on what he was most passionate about: design.

Paula Scher Design

Paula Scher Design

They were 7 prolific years, but the studio suffered the consequences of the recession and Scher left the agency to join Pentagram as a partner in the New York offices in 1991, where she is still working. In parallel, Koppel began working as Creative Director in Esquire magazine.

The era in Pentagram

Logo Pentagram

Currently, Pentagram is one of the most important design studios in the world. They cover all fields of design: graphic design, identity, architecture, interiors and products, as well as brand image consultancy. The agency stood out for understanding group dynamics and organizational aspects, which differed from traditional methodologies.

With Scher, each member was a partner and each partner the leader of a project. In the style of a cooperative, it brought together small design studios and disciplines sharing space, services and good company. This way of working allowed to create work synergies that otherwise could not have been produced. Thanks to this, they have created trends that have influenced designers from around the world.

Paula Scher - Public Logo

Paula Scher - Design Public

Paula Scher - Design Public

Portadas Public

In Pentagram, Scher became an icon of New York’s visual culture. In the mid-1990s, its corporate identity for The Public Theater merged into a completely new symbology for cultural institutions. Scher created a graphic language that combined the typography of the street and graffiti. This increased public awareness and got diverse viewers to attend the theater. And thanks to that he won the coveted Beacon Award in 1996.

New Jersey Performing Arts

Her architectural collaborations reimagined the urban landscape as a dynamic environment of dimensional graphic design. Their graphic identities for Citibank and Tiffany & Co. have become case studies for the contemporary regeneration of American brands.

There are many clients with whom Scher has worked. Design work and brand identity for The New York Times Magazine, MoMA, Perry Ellis, Bloomberg, Microsoft, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Performing Arts Center and The New York Botanical Garden among others.

Paula Scher Logos

Acknowledgments of Paula Scher

At the same time, in 1992 she entered as a design professor at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. His teaching career has led him to work at the Cooper Union and the Tyler School of Art.

He has received more than 300 awards from international design associations. Among the most prominent are the American Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA), The Type Directors Club (NY), the New York Art Directors Club and the Package Design Council.

His work has been exhibited all over the world and is represented in the permanent collections. At the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, the Library of Congress in Washington DC, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Denver Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London , the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, and the National Library of France and the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris.

Paula Scher

She is currently a member of The Art Directors Club Hall of Fame and the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts). He has won the Chrysler Design Award and the Medal of the Type Directors Club. Since 1993, she has been a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and president since 2009. Paula Scher has been a member of the board of directors of The Public Theater. In 2006, she was appointed to the Art Commission of the City of New York.

She is the author of Make It Bigger (2002) and MAPS (2011) and appears in “Abstract: The Art of Design”, the Netflix documentary series about outstanding figures in design and architecture.

Great design is serious

Do What You’ve Never Done Before

Paula Scher en Indaba

Related: Great Female Designers, Susan Kare

Great Female Graphic Designers: Susan Kare

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