Paula Scher – Amazing Female Graphic Designer

Paula Scher was born on October 6 1948 in Washington DC and raised there. She studied at the Tyler School of Art, Elkins, Pennysylvania graduating with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in 1970 where she met Seymour Chwast when she was a senior and in a very tempestuous relationship were married twice and divorced twice.

She graduated from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington D.C. in 2001 with  Doctor of Fine Arts Honoris Causa ; the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in 2008, and Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia in 2011. Paula Scher moved to New York City and took her first job as a layout artist for Random House children’s book division.

In 1972, she got accepted to the advertising and promotions department for CBS Records. During her eight years working at CBS Records, she is credited with designing as many as 150 album covers a year. The iconic album cover designs are Boston (Boston), Eric Gale (Ginseng Woman), Leonard Bernstein (Poulenc Stranvinsky) to mention but a few.

In 1984, she left CBS to work on her own;  co-founding Koppel & Scher with editorial designer and fellow Tyler graduate Terry Koppel. During the six years of their business, she produced identities, packaging, book jackets, and even advertising, including the famous Swatch poster based on previous work by Swiss designer Herbert Matter.

With recession in 1991, Koppel took a position at Esquire magazine and Scher began consulting and joined Pentagram as a partner in the New York office. Since then, she has been a principal at the New York office of the Pentagram design consultancy.

In 1992, she became a design educator, teaching at School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York. She had received more than “300 awards from international design associations as well as a series of prizes from American Institute of Graphic Design (AIGA), The Type Directors Club (NY), New York Art Directors Club and the Package Design Council.

From 1993 to 2005, Scher worked with George C. Wolfe, The Public’s producer and Oskar Eustis joined as artistic director during the fiftieth anniversary in 2005, on the development of posters, ads, and distinct identities. In 2001, Paula Scher created an interior design for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Paula Scher was the first designer to create a new identity and promotional graphics system for the public theatre, a programme that 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.

In 1994, Scher has created the first poster campaign for the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park production of The Merry Wives of Windsor and Two Gentlemen of Verona, and was borrowed from the tradition of old-fashioned English theatre style. Scher’s Shakespeare in the Park campaign had become a seasonal tradition in the city. The identity has progressed over the years which redesigned The Public Theater logo in 2005 and 2008.

In 2006, an exhibition at Maya Stendhal gallery in New York City, Paula Scher painted two 9-by-12-foot maps that resembled patchwork quilts from afar, but contain much textual detail. She created lines that represented the separation of political allies or borders dividing enemies. Scher created the maps into layers that reference what we think when we think of Japan, Kenya, or the Upper East Side. This was Scher’s first solo exhibition as a fine artist and sold every pieces between $40,000 to $135,000. The Maya Stendhal’s owner decided to extend the exhibition for four weeks, until January 21.

In 2007, Paula Scher had created screen-prints of NYC Transit and Manhattan that is printed on hand-made deluxe Lana Quarelle paper. NYC Transit portrays the island of Manhattan as a busy destination crisscrossed by a subway system of loopy, color-coded lines and stations. It’s also shows the Manhattan night famed neighborhoods.

She continues to receive accolades for her rich and diverse work and surely is a force to be reckoned with in a male dominated industry.

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