Jennifer Garcia


Throughout the years there have been many designers who have made their impact, one designer I want to talk about is Paula Scher. She was able to influence the graphic design world, she is well known and well respected. The pentagram describes her as “as the ‘master conjurer of the instantly familiar,’ Scher straddles the line between pop culture and fine art in her work. Iconic, smart, and accessible images have entered into the American vernacular.”  She made an impact when she started working for Pentagram in NYC. I will talk about her education, her work in the Pentagram, and the influence she has made.

Paula Scher was born on October 6, 1948 in Washington DC she graduated from the Tyler School of Art in 1970. She is a graphic designer, painter, art educator and illustrator. Once she had graduated she moved to New York City. She had small jobs here and there and managed to work for Random House, where she designed the inside of children’s books. Within two years, she began to work for CBS records, after a year she pursued a career as an art director in Atlantic Records. She went back to CBS records and during her time she designed many album covers and received 4 Grammy nominations for her album covers. She eventually left CBS to work on her own and developed the typographic solution based on Russian constructivism and Art Deco. After 5 years she partnered up with her old classmate from Tyler, the recession of the 1990’s affected the business and she began to work for Pentagram in the year 1991 where she became the first female principal to join. Following another year she became an art educator at the School of Visual Arts in New York and since then her art has been rewarded with many awards. She was given the School of Visual Arts Masters Series Award.  She developed a reputation for her unique large-scale painting including her maps. Where she made large typographic maps, her painted maps reach as tall as 12 feet. She released a book called “MAPS” in 2010 where all the 39 paintings reside.

Paula Scher’s Map –


Paula Scher is mostly well known for her redesign of the new identity she created for the public theater; she used street typography and graffiti to attract a more diverse crowd. In 1995 the Pentagram designed The Public Theater’s production of Savion Glover’s Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk, the described it as “wood typefaces used throughout The Public’s identity. The play’s title and theater logos surrounded the tap artist in a typographical be-bop, like urban noise. And for the first time, advertising for The Public appeared all over the New York City landscape, from Chelsea to Harlem, in Times Square, at the Lincoln Tunnel, on the city buses, and most fittingly, beneath one’s feet on the sidewalk.”  Once they collaborated the typography used was everywhere, from magazines to other shows using the same type. Everyone followed the new style which was blocky wood type in all caps.


Paula Scher is known for many iconic logos such as Citibank, CNN, Windows 8 and many more.  Works Design Group says “her iconic work has spanned more than just the pages of print. She has created a number of promotional graphics systems and the exterior artwork of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She masterfully displays type in 3D works of art and stated that the best piece of advice she ever received is to ‘illustrate with type.’” She has received many rewards over the years  and even First Lady Michelle Obama recently presented her with a National Design Award, Scher said in the ceremony “you have to misbehave to make breakthroughs.” Scher believes that practice makes perfect, and that it’s through the mistakes that you can grow, being bad in order to get good. She even says “it took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.” Currently she continues to pursue her passion of painting and designing complicated large scale maps. Also, she continues to teach design to students through TED talks, inspirational speeches and courses. She also recommends carrying around a mini sketchbook because you never know when inspiration will come.


Paula Scher’s Iconic Logo –


Paula Scher had made an influential impact on the graphic design world and managed to change the design world with her new designs. Everyone in New York City began to follow her work and now she still manages to impact and teach the next generation of graphic designers. She is definitely someone to look up to and aspire in terms of trying new things. She has very unique work from her iconic logos to the large scale maps she makes. Her logos are all around New York City if you manage to take a close look when you are here.




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“Creative Titans: How Paula Scher Helped Shape Graphic Design.” Works Design Group, 12 Feb. 2018,

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“Paula Scher.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Nov. 2021,

“Paula Scher.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Nov. 2021,

“Paula Scher: Biography, Designs and Facts.” Famous Graphic Designers,

Written by: Katy Cowan. “Paula Scher on Falling in Love with Typography, Timeless Identities and What It Takes to Become a Great Designer.” Creative Boom, 31 Oct. 2019,