Paula Scher

Paula Scher is a very successful designer that has been around since the Seventies. Scher attended Tyler School of Art during the Sixties then moved to New York City and got a job with CBS Records. She worked for CBS Records advertising for two years then got a job designing album records with Atlantic Records. Twenty-five records and one year later Scher was offered and accepted an art director position with CBS Records. Scher designed a large number of album covers, best known for her cover of Boston’s first album and her work with Lake, a German band. She spent a number of years working at CBS Records until she quit in 1982.

Scher began freelancing after she quit her job as art director at CBS Records. She did work with Time Inc.which led to her teaming up with a college classmate, Terry Koppel, to create their own business, Koppel & Scher. They advertised their design company with a book they created entitled Great Beginnings. The book was entirely typography so at the time it was a fresh outlook on design. It attracted many clients and provided Koppel & Scher with a good foundation for their firm. They created the identity for Manhattan Records; Scher said it was her first and only idea but it was very successful. Koppel & Scher also created book jackets for most major publishing companies. Like most of her work, the book jackets were typographic.

Soon Scher began teaching design at New York’ School of Visual Arts. The school asked her to design three posters for a subway advertisement campaign. The first poster was mainly typography, the second combined three unrelated images, and the third used the headline “Art is” and Scher filled the letters with the names of all her favorite artists, musicians, and writers in alphabetical order. Scher loved creating posters and often did them for free. In 1990 AIGA asked Scher to design the cover of the annual Graphic Design USA II, which was a book containing all the competitions and exhibits AIGA held in 1989. In 1991 Scher joined Pentagram in New York City after Koppel & Scher failed in the recession of 1990. Pentagram worked in teams and helped Scher develop as a designer. She began working with architects in the mid nineties beginning with the Public Theater and the American Museum of Natural History. While working for the Public Theater, Scher created the poster for the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. She designed dozens of posters for The Public Theater. Scher designed the poster of the tap-rap musical Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. In 1998 Scher helped design the logo for the newly merged Citigroup. She worked for Citi for two years. Due to her work with the Public Theater, Scher was given the job of creating the posters for The Ballet Tech.  She frequently designs with the New York Times, GQ, and other publications. She recently created a mural of Queens in twenty different languages at Queens Metropolitan High School and covers 2,430 square feet.

Scher was another innovator of her time. She was one of the first women graphic designers to really make a name for herself. She is ambitious and has does a lot of different types of work. I’m sure you’re surprised to hear me say that I was attracted to her work because of her use of type. I love the way she uses it in her posters for Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. I also really like her mural of Queens in Metropolitan High School. Scher was one of the first graphic designers that I became aware of and I found that her work has influenced mine in slight ways.





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