Masters & creatives

Domestika Maestros: Paula Scher

We talked to graphic designer, artist and one of the biggest names in modern branding, Paula Scher

Her talent lies behind some of the most important brands in the world; she created the sleek and sharp Windows 8 logo, as well as the visual identities of MoMa and the New York Public Theater. Paula Scher (Washington D. C., 1948) is one of the most influential designers of the last few decades, with a style that continues to captivate clients and the public project after project.

The first woman to become a partner in the legendary design agency Pentagram, Scher has broken barriers not only because of her striking graphic solutions, but also because of how she has transformed how the work of designers is seen. We talked to her about her extraordinary career, some of her most important projects, and the pursuit of excellence in every job she undertakes.

Illustrating with typography

Scher is known for her artistic use of typefaces, a style she set out with her revolutionary design for the Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk poster. The truth is however, letters didn't interest her at first: "For me, it was too much like tidying up your room, with all the influence of the Swiss School".

It was then that her teacher, graphic designer Stanislaw Zagorski, encouraged her to start using them to illustrate. "I began to realize that typefaces had form, and that form could become something expressive. Over the next few decades, Scher would apply these principles to dozens of commissions, culminating in her poster series and identity design work for the Public Theater.

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Paula Scher, Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, The Public Theater
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Paula Scher, Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk, The Public Theater
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Paula Scher, visual identity for The Public Theater

Mapping words

For several decades, Scher has been working on a parallel project, compiled in 2011 in the picture book Paula Scher Maps: the creation of maps in which geographical features have been replaced by words, generating a colourful, striking, baroque effect.

The work frees her to create and explore, combining everything she has learned throughout her career with other artistic techniques: "going to the country for three days to work on my paintings, which is very laborious and slow, helps me to behave in a very different way to how I usually do during the week".

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Paula Scher, U.S.A. Extreme Weather 2015
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Paula Scher, Berlin 2014
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