Paula Scher’s work is celebrated in a new monograph

Paula Scher: Works is a comprehensive guide to the iconic graphic designer’s legacy over the last half a century

Thames & Hudson has published a new monograph on renowned American graphic designer Paula Scher. Best known for her posters, logo designs and album covers, this 520-page book forms the most extensive collection of her work to date, featuring 300 projects, 910 illustrations, and spanning her entire 50-year career so far.

After entering the music industry in the 1970s and working as an art director at CBS Records and Atlantic Records, Scher went on to found Koppel & Scher with editorial designer and fellow Tyler School of Art graduate Terry Koppel. This venture marked the start of her lifelong dedication to graphic design, and over the course of the seven years that she worked with Koppel, she covered a broad range of outputs, including identities, packaging, book jackets, and advertising.

Top: Top: Planned Parenthood, 2017. Design: Paula Scher, Courtney Gooch, Sarah McKeen; Above: Ballet Tech, 1997. Design: Paula Scher, Lisa Mazur, Anke Stohlmann, Keith Daigle; Photography: Lois Greenfield
New York Shakespeare Festival poster, 1995. Design: Paula Scher, Ron Louie, Lisa Mazur, Jane Mella, Anke Stohlmann, Tina Chang, Sean Carmody

In 1991, following the closure of her studio, Scher joined Pentagram as a partner in the New York office. As the book attests, Scher has spent this time honing her skills as a visionary designer, and slowly building a legacy that many other designers could only dream of.

Co-edited by Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook, Paula Scher: Works is a new edition of the monograph previously published by Unit Editions. It breaks down Scher’s practice into thematic sections, including her early record covers from the 1970s and 1980s, and her identities for high profile clients such as Citibank, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). It also delves into her approach to environmental graphics, which she meticulously crafted for many NYC-based organisations, leaving a mark on “contemporary New York’s urban fabric”.

Poster for the 50th anniversary of the Royal National Theatre in London, 2013. Design: Paula Scher, Jeff Close
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) poster template, 2009. Design: Paula Scher, Lisa Kitschenberg, Julia Hoffmann

Throughout the book, acting as its guiding thread, is an extensive interview between Shaughnessy and Scher, with the latter taking readers through the various facets of her practice. Together, the pair discuss Scher’s innovative brand of graphic design, how her approach has changed over the years, and the background to many of her most well-known projects. The interview provides unprecedented access to the designer’s psyche, revealing much about Scher’s iconic work, and the person behind the designs.

Writing in the book, Brook says: “Ultimately, this is a book designed for you – the reader – to welcome you into the world of one of the most remarkable figures working in design today. She is inspiring to me in so many ways, and it’s my hope that having enjoyed the journey through this major monograph, she inspires you too.”

Obama, 2008, inspired by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Design: Paula Scher, Drea Zlanabitnig
From The Number Series for Grafx, 2005. Design: Paula Scher, Drew Freeman

Paula Scher: Works is published by Thames & Hudson; thamesandhudson.com