A Short Conversation with Paula Scher

Everyone that knows me knows that I am a big fan of Jon Stewert. His newest book ‘Earth’ has a great cover that made me chuckle when I saw it advertised on the subway. I had no idea that it was designed by one of the most respected and pervasive designers in the world –  Paula Scher.

I can only imagine that how cool it would be to be the creative director to all the design work done on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show. Paula Scher didn’t get the chance to attend the Daily Show Rally last November but she “heard it was fun”. I’d imagine she was probably far too busy as she designs the identity for most of the famous cultural institutions in the city including MoMA, Jazz at the Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera.

Her work is completely varied – from detailed hand-drawn typographic maps to the clarity of her san serif typographic logos, but is always brimming with personality. When I asked Paula what aspect of her personality manifests itself the most in her work, she answered frankly – “My loudness”.

She has no problem articulating herself and discussing her work, and believes verbal skills is essential to any designer’s career – “You always have to help a client understand why something terrific and help them build enthusiasm and confidence in it. There are designers who don’t speak well and are brilliant so designers who aren’t as brilliant do well because they are more verbal. I always find that depressing.”

Despite her success, she still believes the design profession doesn’t always get the respect it deserves – “People who would feel totally uncomfortable telling a doctor or a lawyer how to do their job have no problem telling a designer or an architect how to do their job. Never.”

Well here’s hoping that because of the talent and dedication of designers like Paula, things will begin to change.

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