Paula Scher (American, b.1948) is an illustrator, painter, graphic designer, and art educator. Scher was born on October 6, 1948, in Washington, D.C. She graduated from the Tyler School of Art in 1970 with a BA, and, after completing her education, she moved to New York City and worked as a layout artist for Random House.
Two years later, she was hired by CBS Records, but she left after a year to pursue a career at Atlantic Records as an art director. Soon after, she returned to CBS and remained there for eight years as the cover department art director; during that time, she designed several hundred album covers. While working at CBS Records, Scher received four Grammy nominations for her designs. She eventually left CBS to pursue her own work, including the development of a typographic solution based on Russian constructivism and Art Deco.
Five years later, she co-founded a design firm with a fellow Tyler graduate, but the studio began to suffer as a result of the recession of the early 1990s, and Scher joined Pentagram in 1991, becoming the first female principal to join the company. The following year, she became an art educator at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and since then, she has received hundreds of design awards. Scher is a recipient of the School of Visual Art's Masters Series Award. She has developed a reputation for her unique large-scale paintings, including her maps.
Scher held her first solo exhibition in 2006 at the Maya Stendhal gallery in New York, NY. Due to the success of the exhibition, the gallery's owner extended the show for an additional four weeks, and to accommodate the extended exhibition, Scher produced silk-screened map prints of cities, states, and continents entitled The World. The following year, she created screen-prints of the NYC Transit. She has also produced limited edition maps of China that represent the rapid economic growth and industry of the country as it attains superpower status. Many of Scher's designs have become synonymous with New York City culture. Scher married Seymour Chwast (American, b.1931) in 1973, but the couple divorced after five years of marriage. They later remarried in 1989.