My Creative Hero

As it may be obvious, design is my ultimate core passion. I love all things creative and follow so many designers, artists and illustrators on social media to keep up with the fresh trends and for my own personal inspiration.


A designer who has always strived my attention is Paula Scher, who is an iconic designer, painter and art educator. She creates identities for brands and organisations ranging from Microsoft to the New York City Ballet. I first discovered Scher in my first year at university when I came across 'MAPS' which she began painting in the 1990's. These paintings are exceedingly colourful typographic maps of the world, its continents, countries, islands, oceans, cities, streets and even neighbourhoods. I was so captivated by the paintings and how she had implicated type. Every lone letter had been obsessively hand painted and I really admired her time and diligence for that. 

''I began painting maps to invent my own complicated narrative about the way I see and feel about the world. I wanted to list what I know about the world from memory, from impressions, from media, and from general information overload. These are paintings of distortions.” ~ Paula Scher

The above quote is really exhilarating. Her own life experiences have impacted the way she see's the world and the way she designs and she distinguishes the link between the distortion on a map, and distortion in design and every day life. For example in her book she comments ''articles are cut to fit into specific formats, and sometimes the cuts alter meaning. Hierarchies are created to help readers navigate texts, sometimes distorting the emphasis of specific content.''


On Netflix, I found the recent documentary about Scher, showing her at work on the paintings.  It was really compelling to find out that rather than most people who may listen to music whilst they paint or design, she plays old movies in the background. She likes to speak the lines along with the actors. The documentary showed her doing this via a split-screen, it was also interesting to see how big the paintings actually are in comparison to herself, yet still how intricate they are.


Charlotte Parker