Typographer of the Week | Paula Scher

About the Typographer

Image result for paula scher
Image of Paula Scher

Hailed as one of the most prominent key figures in the design industry, Paula Scher is known for her versatility in creating polished logos and “loudly expressive” posters. This “all-embracing sensibility” of Scher has made her a “reigning titan in a heavily male-dominated industry”. She has had a hand in identity and branding systems, promotional materials, environmental graphics, packaging and publication designs, receiving hundreds of industry honours and awards.

Scher is also referred to as the “master conjurer of the instantly familiar”, “[straddling] the line between pop culture and fine art in her work”.

Her Works

I. Branding and identity systems

Mentioned previously, Paula Scher was notable for her contributions to some of the world’s most recognisable brands and organisations. One of which would be her works for CBS Records, where the records she designed were associated with four Grammy nominations. She is also credited with reviving historical typefaces and design styles.

Paula Scher

Image result for citibank logo paula scher

Image of CitiBank logoScher was also known for designing the CitiBank logo.

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Image of promotional graphics system for The Public Theatre

She was also known for her works for The Public Theatre in 1994. Tasked with the challenge of raising public awareness and attendance, along with trying to appeal to a more diverse crowd, Scher managed to create a programme that was said to have become the “turning point of identity in designs that influence much of the graphic design created for theatrical promotion and for cultural institutions in general”. She did so by creating a graphic language that “reflected street typography” and “graffiti-like juxtaposition”.

Learning Points

  • A takeaway I got from briefly looking at Paula Scher’s works was her use of contrast. I found the idea of how she took aesthetics commonly associated with the subject and completely going the opposite direction with the final product especially bold and interesting (especially what she did with her collateral for The Public Theatre). What resulted was something that was considered both groundbreaking and a reincarnation of old design principles.
  • I also found her use of bold colours and unconventional layout of text very eye-catching and intriguing (especially in her works for Atlantic Records). The placement of the text helps create movement, and just adds an overall energetic and vibrant feel to the artwork.
  • I think Paula Scher’s versatility as a designer is also very inspiring; it’s interesting to see how she’s able to cater to a vast range of different clients from prim and proper big names to more underground and “street” brands – she is able to create slick and clean-cut designs, as well as grungy and energetic-looking typeface layouts.

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