Nationality: American

Born: 1948

Famous For: her album covers, illustration and branding at Pentagram

Paula Scher is an American designer, illustrator and the first female principal of Pentagram, which she joined in 1991.

She is probably best known for her recent work on large brand projects such as Citibank, Windows 8, MoMA and The Metropolitan Opera in New York.

In saying that, she has been recognised with more than 300 awards from international design associations, with work being showcased in the Museum of Modern Art, the Library of Congress, the Museum für Gestaltung and the Centre Georges Pompidou.

Outside of actually designing, she is a well-known educator, teaching at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Her 2008 TED talk entitled “Great design is serious, not solemn” can be viewed below.

Citibank Logo — Designed in 1998

Windows 8 Branding — Created in 2012

New York Philharmonic — Designed in 2009

The Metropolitan Opera — Designed in 2006

The Public Theater Branding — Created in 1994

There’s a great interview with Paula Scher worth reading on Designboom, it can be found here:

Paula Scher Quotes

Another thing they don’t teach you in design school is what you get paid for… Mostly, designers get paid to negotiate the difficult terrain of individual egos, expectations, tastes, and aspirations of various individuals in an organization or corporation, against business needs, and constraints of the marketplace… Getting a large, diverse group of people to agree on a single new methodology for all of their corporate communications means the designer has to be a strategist,psychiatrist, diplomat, showman, and even a Svengali. The complicated process is worth money.That’s what clients pay for.

Find out what the next thing is that you can push, that you can invent, that you can be ignorant about, that you can be arrogant about, that you can fail with, and that you can be a fool with. Because in the end, that’s how you grow.

Be culturally literate, because if you don’t have any understanding of the world you live in and the culture you live in, you’re not going to express anything to anybody else.

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.

The work needs to get out of your head and on to the table, and it needs to be done from the heart.

Related Article: Steve Martin’s Funny Business Cards

Books by Paula Scher

Make it Bigger

“a straight-talking and insightful glimpse into what makes a designer tick, A must for helping clients to understand us and a benchmark for designers to aspire to.”


“Collected here for the first time, Paula Scher MAPS presents thirty-nine of Scher’s obsessively detailed, highly personal creations.”

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Inkbot Design a Creative Graphic Design Agency in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Experts in Logo Design and Branding.