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InsightApr 16, 2024

Takeaways from a conversation with Paula Scher at the RGD Book Club Meeting

Focusing on 25 Years at the Public: A Love Story (PA Press 2020) and Pentagram: Living by Design (Thames & Hudson 2023) for the last RGD Book Club meeting, design legend and author Paula Scher offered a glimpse into her illustrious career. 

This rich discourse encapsulated Paula's design ethos, reflecting the transformative power of her iconic contributions to the design world. Below, we share key takeaways from this joyful discussion:

  • Embrace Experimentation: Paula highlighted the importance of inventing, exploring and having fun with the design process to create something truly unique. Her advice accentuated the value of experimentation in fostering creativity and innovation within a design team.
  • Type as Emotion: Paula's perspective on type as a means to convey emotion offered a fresh outlook on typographic design. Her guidance to understand the nuances of creating differentiated designs provided valuable insights for aspiring designers.
  • Scale Relationships: Throughout the session, as in all her books, Paula underscored the significance of dynamic and dramatic scale relationships in design. The emphasis on tension, proportion and compelling storytelling highlighted the critical role of scale in creating impactful design compositions.
  • Design History: Paula emphasized the importance of immersing oneself in design history and literature to enrich one's creative arsenal. The passion for design books and continuous learning resonated with the audience, reinforcing the value of lifelong learning in the design profession.
  • Human Relations: She spoke about the social dynamics and human relations that underpin the success of design partnerships. The criteria for selecting partners, including personal affinity and admiration for their work, offered valuable perspectives on fostering collaborative relationships in the design industry.

The event was a delightful blend of fun, inspiration and intrigue, offering participants a deeper understanding of Paula's design process, her journey and design philosophy. We left with a renewed appreciation for the power of experimentation, the expressive potential of typography and the importance of genuine human connections in the world of design.

Watch Paula's talk title 'I am not done yet' from DesignThinkers Toronto 2023

About Paula Scher

Paula is among the world's most influential graphic designers. Her iconic, smart and accessible designs have become part of our design language. Since 1991, Paula has been a partner in the New York office of Pentagram. She began her career as an art director in the 1970s and early 80s, when her eclectic approach to typography became highly influential. In the mid-1990s, her landmark identity for The Public Theater fused high and low into a wholly new symbology for cultural institutions.

As you continue to explore Paula's work and influence in the design world, be sure to check out her vibrant and playful campaign for Public Theater's 2024 season. Additionally, consider diving into the Graphic Design course offered by BBC Maestro, taught by Paula herself, for an opportunity to learn and experiment with design principles.

Keep an eye out for the reissue of Paula Scher: Works book by the Thames & Hudson releasing in June 2024. Finally, if you find yourself in Munich this year, make sure to explore Paula's first solo exhibition in Germany titled ‘Paula Scher – Type is Image’ at Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum, running through September 22, 2024.

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