It’s hard to believe that a single creative mind could be responsible for both the polished corporate-ness of the Citibank logo and the loudly expressive poster designs of historic Public Theater productions like Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk. Yet this all-embracing sensibility is the calling card of Paula Scher, a reigning titan in a heavily male-dominated industry.
After working for decades designing record covers and magazines, Scher became a principal at the heavy-hitting design agency Pentagram in 1991. Since then she has remade the identities of brands ranging from Microsoft to the Museum of Modern Art, all the while maintaining an abiding interest in environmental design, and a mural-scale painting practice that is all her own.
The “postmodern” appellation derives partly from Scher’s refusal to draw lines in the sand with regard to what sorts of jobs and clients she takes on, reflecting her belief that multinational corporations are just as worthy of dignified design as vanguard local arts organizations. It also stems from her exuberant rejection of modernist strictures deman...