History of Graphic Design: Paula Scher


Paula Scher is a graphic designer best known for her use of type as an illustrative device.  She has designed for the Public Theater, the New York City Ballet, the Museum of Modern Art, and several other well-known companies, including Microsoft.  The poster above was designed for the play The Diva is Dismissed at the Public Theater.  In this example, it is clear that Scher uses type as both advertising for the play as well as incorporating the text into the design as a whole.

Scher was one of the first graphic designers to use text as a major part of a design, rather than just a supplement.  Her use of bold typefaces make it easy to recognize her work from others’.  Furthermore, the subjects featured in her designs are recognizable as she usually references pop culture.  As a result, American audiences find her works to be easy to relate to and understand.

As well as a graphic designer, Scher is also a painter and creates murals of maps.  Her maps seem simple at first glance, but upon further inspection contain lots of detail.  Scher’s map of the United States can be seen below.


scher map

Currently, Scher is a graphic designer at the New York branch of Pentagram, where she has worked for over two decades, and she also teaches design classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Read more about Paula Scher’s accomplishments and see more of her works here.


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