Paula Scher

Paula Scher was born on October 6, 1948 in Virginia, and grew up in Washington DC and Philadephia. Her father was a photogrammetric engineer for the US Geological Survey who invented a device that ensured the distortion-free aerial photography. That encouraged her to create hand-printed maps. Scher later went on to study at the Tyler School of Art, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, where she collected her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1970; then travelling to New York where she began her professional career as a layout artist – working for children’s book division at Random House.

1007009 Paula Scher, Boston, Album cover, 1976

Afterwards, Scher worked in the advertisement and promotion department of the CBS Records and, in 1974, joined a competing label, Atlantic Records, as an art director; and where she used album cover art to expand her creativity and earned four Grammy nominations. Later, she returned to CBS Records and worked there for eight years producing over one hundred and fifty album covers, annually. These included Eric Gale’ “Ginseng Woman”, Bob James’ “H” and “One on One” and Boston’s “Boston”. Her contributions included reviving historical typefaces and design styles. In fact, she earned four Grammy nominations for her inspiring designs. She would, however, resign from CBS in 1982 and, along with former classmate, Terry Koppel, founded the firm of Koppel and Scher. For seven years flourished for seven years, during which time Scher developed corporate identities, book jackets, advertisement and packaging. The recession would lead to the dissolution of the firm, with Koppel leaving for the creative director position at Esquire Magazine. Scher joined the New York office of Pentagram, a world-leading design partnership, in 1991, as a partner. Scher worked in consultancy and eventually earned the post of principal; the first female to do so. Her expertise would also include teaching, as she had accepted a position at the School of Visual Arts. In addition to her work there for over two decades, Scher also taught intermittently at the Yale University, Tyler School of Art and Cooper Union, to name a few. Scher is also credited with the new identity creation of The Public Theater, where her promotional graphic system for the program became highly influential in theatrical promotion.

windows-8-branding Paula Scher, Windows 8 Branding, Brand identity, 2012

Scher has received more than three hundred awards by several international associations, AIGA, the Package Design Council and The Type Directors Club. Her collection of work is showcased at New York MoMA, the Museum für Gestaltung and the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Scher’s style evokes bold imagery and uses typography in an almost illustrative rather than print style; and her work has included corporate identity and branding for the likes of Citibank, Coca Cola and Bausch + Lomb, as well as in the arts (with clients like Museum of Modern Art, New York Ballet, Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic).

Works influenced/inspired by Scher

6a00d834522c5069e201157024ba4b970c-500wi Joanne Maguire, Artist Research, Poster, 2011

paula_scher_psalm_poster_by_delusionzofgrandeur-d510hyt Sara Christensen, Paula Scher Psalm Poster, Poster, 2012


Contemporary Graphic Designers – Paula Scher. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from

Famous Graphic Designers – Paula Scher. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from

Paula Scher. Retrieved October 26, 2015, from


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