The graphic design course blog for
HND Visual Communication at Edinburgh College

Something Worth Schering

7 May 2014

On Thursday of last week Helena and I caught the train through to Glasgow after work to attend the latest LongLunch talk. The venue was Glasgow School of Art's new and extremely impressive Reid Building, and the speaker, introduced as the designer who needs no introduction, was Pentagram's Paula Scher.

Scher is amongst the most influential designers of the Twentieth Century, has been at the forefront of graphic design and design education for the best part of 40 years, and in her opening remarks claimed that she 'still looked good from a distance'. She then went on to deliver an engrossing and brilliant talk, taking the audience through many of her most famous projects, including the High Line, Public Theatre and the Windows 8 branding.

Scher described her career as having been through three distinct phases - a 'stylistic' period during the 70's and early 80's,  mostly involving experimental typography and postmodern pop-cultural ideas, then a 'large scale' period during the 90's (when she applied huge typographic-based murals onto buildings), and finally a socially responsible period, dominated by ergonomic signage and large-scale external and environmental visual communication. She also talked about her painting, modern technology, artistic inspiration, and the politics and economics of working at Pentagram.

It was great to see a significant number of our current and former students in the audience, and some were brave enough to ask Paula questions in the Q&A afterwards, including Emma Hart (currently a designer at Edinburgh agency STUFF), who asked what Paula's favourite typeface was and why. The answer came back as 'I think that Futura still has it. It still does look really great, even if the ascenders and descenders are a fraction too long'.

After the talk and a huge ovation, Scher signed posters and accompanied the LongLunch team, and our own group, to the CCA bar, where she chatted and posed for numerous pics and even took time to have a look over first year student Craigh Robertson's logotype design for his end-of-year project. A class act.

Pentagram / The High Line
Pentagram / Public Theatre
Eye Magazine / Paula Scher interview