What Paula Scher’s advice means to me as a designer:
“Over time people will rebel. Designers just line the way with their accidents.”(Scher with barker 2017)
I have researched Paula Scher and her design history for a few of my tasks at university. Through this research I have become aware of how she practices expression through text. She doesn’t confine herself or her talent to traditional styles or common design techniques or rules. She provided this quote during her interview with ‘Semi Permanent’ and it has resonated with me and my practices as a beginner designer.
As a beginner, this quote is something I can relate to. Only just learning and understanding design as a concept and a practice, I have made many mistakes. Sometimes it is frustrating but it is a part of a learning process. I believe that designers shape the future of their careers from what they have learnt through their mistakes. I have made many mistakes, mostly within typography. But through time and practice I am able to understand what I have done wrong and correct it. Through this process I also discover what techniques and tools I favour and begin to brainstorm how I can use them for assessments and future tasks.
Making mistakes is not only a learning process for yourself but it also teaches those around you. With successful designers communicating their mistakes to their audience, it begins a conversation of shared ideas and new solutions.
This can be said the same for when designers rebel. As mentioned, Scher thinks outside traditional means and common design techniques that have been passed through time. Through her curiosity and defiance she has created successful works that have introduced a new sense of style, alongside other designers such as David Carson. Beginner designers like myself reflect her works and are swept into a spiral of crazy and spontaneous brainstorming.
This quote is both comforting and confronting. It gives a sense of panic through the mention of rebellion and mistakes. It conceives the idea of mess and could make designers seem unprofessional. But to me it is comforting because it inevitable that I’ll make many mistakes through out my education and career as a graphic designer, so to see mistakes not as a negative but as a gateway for possibilities feels more constructive.
The start of the quote, ‘Over time people will rebel’ also conveys that it is only a new trend to rebel against traditional techniques. Over time this rate will increase and gain popularity. I think this act of rebellion would be encouraged with the infinite possibilities technology has gifted us. We are more aware than ever of designer’s actions through efficient access to international media sources.
Overall I find this quote complex and compelling. It inspires me to not be afraid of making mistakes and instead use them to my advantage. In order to ‘line the way’ we must communicate our mistakes for learning purposes and challenge other designers to do the same.
Visualising the quote.
The task for visually representing this quote is to make a collage from magazine clippings. Due to Paula Scher herself practicing acts of design rebellion, I want to also reflect a sense of havoc on the page. It’s designers like herself that were in the industry around the late 20th century that embraced the idea of creating elements that can be left for interpretation. They also had a sense of playfulness through design that can be assisted through visual arts. I was told to look at ripped art on old buildings. This holds a sense of interpretation because these poster once had meaning, which now has literally been stripped down. I plan to rip pictures from magazines to communicate this as well and have it surround Paula’s quote. Also, I aim to emphasis the words ‘rebel’ and ‘accidents’ with dominate colours, or even skip some letters to display forced accidents.
Abstract: The Art of Design n.d., image, SEMI PERMINANT, viewed 20 May 2019, <https://www.semipermanent.com/articles/interview-paula-scher>.
Barker, C 2017, ‘An interview with Paula Scher’, SEMI PERMINANT, weblog post, 7 December, viewed 20 May 2019, <https://www.semipermanent.com/articles/interview-paula-scher>.
[Paula Scher] 2018, image, The Logo Creative, viewed 27 May 2019, <https://www.thelogocreative.co.uk/designer-interview-with-paula-scher/>.
Scher, P 1979, Best of Jazz, image, MoMA, viewed 27 May 2019, <https://www.moma.org/collection/works/189144>.