With a career that fuses rock and roll, corporate identity creation, and impressionistic geography, Paula Scher is a master conjurer of the instantly familiar.

Why you should listen

The tag "rock star" is recklessly applied to everyone from bloggers to biochemists, but in Paula Scher's case it couldn't be more appropriate. As a rock star designer, she's cooked up everything from Boston album covers to Elvis Costello posters, pausing somewhere in between to trash the ubiquitous visual authoritarianism of Helvetica. She's also created some of design's most iconic images, like the Citibank logo. She is a partner in the renowned design firm Pentagram, and in 2001 received the distinguished AIGA medal.

As a fine artist, Scher has also become increasingly well known for her microscopically detailed map paintings, densely latticed with hand-lettered text, that evoke not only place but the varied political, historical and cultural meanings (and preconceptions) brought to the world by the viewer.

What others say

“Paula Scher continues to set standards in graphic design with bold imagery and a highly illustrative approach to typography” — Computer Arts, 2008

Paula Scher’s TED talk

Paula Scher on the TED Blog

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

Continue reading
Design

Great design is serious (not solemn): Paula Scher on TED.com

January 16, 2009

Speaking at Serious Play 2008, Paula Scher looks back at a life in design (she’s done album covers, books, the Citibank logo …) and pinpoints the moment when she started really having fun. Look for gorgeous designs and images from her legendary career. (Recorded May 2008 in Pasadena, California. Duration: 21:56.) Watch Paula Scher’s talk […]

Continue reading

Quotes from Paula Scher

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.
Paula Scher
Serious Play 2008 • 372K views Jan 2009
Inspiring, Informative
The best way to accomplish serious design … is to be totally and completely unqualified for the job.
Paula Scher
Serious Play 2008 • 372K views Jan 2009
Inspiring, Informative