clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Paula Scher's Mind-Bending New York City Maps And Murals

Paula Scher?a veritable guru in the fields of design, branding, and art who was just named a National Design Award winner?has a long roster of A-list clients. From the High Line and the Public Theater to Bloomberg's headquarters and the Parks department, her logos and graphics, defined by bold typography, adorn New York City's creative, public, and corporate spheres.

A principal at design consultancy Pentagram, Scher has a miles-long resume with one project, in particular, that we love: her 2010 work on the atrium of the Queens Metropolitan Campus in Forest Hills, a space shared by two schools. In it, she plastered one of her beautiful, detailed, signature typographical maps all over the walls, giving students a sense of place via unconventional means. Peruse the photo gallery for a room that, from virtually every angle, offers a new perspective on the geography of the city.

Scher used to do her branding and design work by day, relegating her painting?representations of maps that are packed with little words and phrases related to the location?to a hobby. But then, at the Queens Metropolitan Campus, she was able to marry the two, blowing up a map she had made of the five boroughs to a larger-than-life size and zooming in on the students' home borough. "I started doing them [the maps] 20 years ago. I used to make them small, and I was doing them more as illustrations," Scher said. "I suddenly realized they'd be better big. They have a life of their own; there is no rhyme or reason. New York is totally inspiring to me."

Keep an eye out for Scher's latest work at Coney Island, Brighton Beach, the Rockaways, and on Staten Island's shores this summer. Why? She designed the new signage system that directs visitors to and around these rebuilt beaches, which suffered severe damage at the hand of Hurricane Sandy.
· New Work: Queens Metropolitan Campus [Pentagram]
· Bio: Paula Scher [Pentagram]
· Paula Scher's projects [Behance]
· Paula Scher Maps [official]
· Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Announces 2013 National Design Awards Winners [Bustler]

The Public Theater

425 Lafayette Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 539-8500 Visit Website