Paula Scher studied at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and began her graphic design career as a record cover art director at both Atlantic and CBS Records in the 1970s. In 1984 she co-founded Koppel & Scher, and in 1991 she joined Pentagram as a partner.
Paula has developed identity and branding systems, promotional materials, environmental graphics, packaging and publication designs for a wide range of clients. Drawing from what Tom Wolfe has called the “big closet” of art and design history, classic and pop iconography, literature, music and film, Paula creates images that speak to contemporary audiences with emotional impact and appeal. Three decades into her career, these images have come to be visually identified with the cultural life of New York City.
In a 22 mins video, Serious Play, found on You Tube, Paula Scher begins by saying, "My work is play and I play when I design..." This would be any Designer's dream out there is the workforce, but she does describes her career as and explains "Great design is serious (not solemn)"
As a student in the 70's, Paula Scher hated the typeface Helvetia and although there was not an enormous amount of font to chose from like these days, she searched for other fonts and created her own and mixed fonts together. This was a time she describes as "Serious Play". Her designs with font was spontaneous, intuitive, accidental, innocent, imperfect, first of it's kind.
Another time Paula Scher describes her work being play was when she was asked to design and change the face of the Public Theatre in New York, posters, tickets, flyers everything. Spontaneous, intuitive, arrogant, rebellious, imperfect and first of it's kind again. Her designs for the Public Theatre became very popular and was taken on as New York's identity. She describes her designs then became solemn and many copies of her style appeared all over New York as well.
Architectual signs around New York and other cities in the US were created by Paula Scher. It was new and she did not have any architectural experience, but it was another time of Serious Play.
Paula was asked to design the Citibank logo and she immediately came up with a design on a napkin. Then she spent a year going to long tedious boring meetings and presentations to try to sell this logo. Citibank did buy the logo but during this time she need some counter balance and began painting the huge maps of the world and the US and she was controlling her own information as alot of the cities were actually in the wrong spot. It was another time of "Play"
I love this idea of "Serious Play" and hope that I find this in my workplace sometime in the future.
www.youtube.com Paula Scher: Great Design is Serious (not solemn)www.aiga.org/content.cfm/medalist-paulascher