Paula Scher Essay

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PAULA SCHER By: Jade Zuspan Paula Scher was born in 1948 in Virginia and grew up in Philadelphia and Washington DC. Her father worked for the United States Geological Survey as a photogrammetric engineer and there he invented a device that corrects the distortion aerial photography creates. Her father’s career inspired Scher’s passion for creating hand painted maps, which is shown in some of her later works. In 1970 Scher began her higher education at Tyler School of Art studying design. During her senior year, at Tyler School of Art, Scher met her Husband Seymour Chwast. Chwast is a talented designer who founded Pushpin design. He was and still is a huge influence on Scher both in everyday life and in her design work, as she said in an interview with Caitlin Dover, “I originally wanted to be an illustrator, but I realized, being around Seymour, that I’d never be good enough, so I concentrated on design.” Scher began her career in the record business as an art director for CBS and Atlantic Records. There she designed covers for Eric Gale: the typographic ‘Best of Jazz’ series and Boston’s 6m-selling debut. These initial experiences with the design world helped her understand how design is structure as a business and how to navigate its many facets. In addition the business side of things, stylistically it set her on the path to become the pop-style, edgy designer she is today. Scher worked independently from 1979-1984. During this time she focused her work on expressive typographic, which later becomes evident in her bold use of type in her designs. She gathered her skills and joined forces with her former classmate Terry Koppel. In 1984, Scher and designer Terry Koppel co-founded Koppel & Scher. Koppel & Scher designed book covers, swatch watches, and the identity for Bruce Lundvall’s Manhattan Records, Beautiful Faces, and Great Beginnings.

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