Paula Scher is quite likely the most important graphic designer living and working today. Celebrated at every level of the industry, she has turned her creative vision towards many industries and found ways to see them differently — including designing album covers. She has designed 100s, maybe 1000s of albums, many of which have gone on to sell tens of millions of copies. If you have a record collection its quite likely that you collect her work. 


To listen, select your favourite podcast platform from the links on the right.

Follow along with the SHOW NOTES below to see images of the projects and people discussed in this episode and be sure to enter our contest (details at the bottom of the SHOW NOTES on this page and at the end of the podcast episode).




Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia

5:20 – Paula’s father Marvin Bertram Scher
Mr. Scher’s invention of the stereo template for use in photogrammetric mapping in 1949 was nationally and internationally recognized. The template allowed photographs to be properly aligned so that mapping was more accurate. For this invention, Mr. Scher was a 1954 recipient of the Sherman Fairchild Photogrammetric Award from the American Society of Photogrammetry.

8:22 – Stanislaw Zagorski
Polish graphic designer & illustrator, born 20 August 1933 in Warsaw, Poland. He worked in New York from 1964-1992.

10:40 – Paula at CBS Records

11:00 – Paula and her husband Seymour Chwast, a famous graphic designer, illustrator, and type designer.

12:30 – Paula first album design

14:15 – Assortment of albums Paula Scher designed, including work for Bob Dylan, Boston, Hollies, Cheap Trick, Paul Simon, The Chieftans, Patti Labelle, Blue Oyster Cult, Billy Joel, The Rolling Stones, Bobby McFerrin and Richard Marx.

14:45 – Paula has been nominated four times for Grammy Awards in the Best Album Package category.
  • 1977 – Eric Gale, Ginseng Woman
  • 1977 – Yardbirds, Favorites
  • 1978 – Bob James, Heads
  • 1980 – Bob James & Earl Klugh, One On One

    14:55 – Bob James & Earl Klugh, One On One (photographed by Arnold Rosenburg)

    15:05 – Bob James series of album covers (photographed by John Paul Endress)

    18:20 – Charles Mingus I and II

    18:37 –

    20:00 – Paula often chose to include illustrations on the covers of albums she art directed.

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    24:00 – The CD format (especially jewel cases) led to Paula moving on from designing records as she found the format took all the fun out of it.

    24:18 – A couple Stefan Sagmeister designed CD releases for Rolling Stones and Lou Reed.

    24:30 – Jewel cases are the all plastic CD cases. Digipaks are primarily cardboard, with a plastic tray to hold the CD.

    25:00 – For a short time jewel case CDs were placed in taller card boxes called ‘Longboxes’ for display in stores. These long boxes stood 12 inches tall, the same as LPs and did look much more impressive in a record store than jewel cases –– but they were very short lived as a design option.

    25:40 –

    26:23 – PAULA SCHER has been a partner at Pentagram since 1990.

    A little 3 minute Fastcompany video that explains more about Pentagram:

    29:15 – Paula Scher’s incredible book “Work”. Buy it here. 326 pages. Edition of only 2000 books.

    29:50 – For nearly 3 decades PAULA SCHER has been behind New York’s Public Theatre identity. The visual styles she has created for them have been mimicked all over the world and are widely regarded as some of the best branding ever created.

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    31:41 – Ruth and Marvin Sackner collected ‘word art’ as part of a collection they called Concrete and Visual Poetry. They bought two of Paula’s earliest maps which started Paula down a path of taking this type of art more seriously.

    33:00 – Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is located in the Upper East Side’s Museum Mile in Manhattan.

    33:39 –

    34:40 – Paula Scher’s 1998 Citibank identity has won many awards and has been widely regarded as one of the best rebrands in design.

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    37:00 –

    37:22 – Queens Metropolitan Campus project

    37:22 – Tyler School of the Arts project with students

    40:19 – Ellen Lupton presenting at a design event in St. John’s, Newfoundland in 2019 (photo by Adam Hefferman).

    40:40 – Ellen’s husband, J Abbott Miller, is one of Paula’s partners at Pentagram.

    40:55 –

    42:18 –

    44:30 – Learn more about PAULA SCHER

    Paula Scher’s episode of Abstract, the hit Netflix series

    44:55 – Drop us a line about this or any episode. We’re looking for emails with feedback on the show; suggestions for future show guests; stories of your favourite album covers, posters, or music videos. Basically we just want to know you’re out there and you love music as much as we do.

    We’re giving away a brand new pressing of John Prine’s Common Sense album, one of the earliest records Paula designed back when she was with Atlantic Records. All you need to do is send in an email to artdesignmusicpodcast@gmail.com and we’ll enter you in the draw. If you’re following our Facebook or Instagram pages then we’ll enter you in the draw as well. Find us @artdesignmusicpodcast

    46:15 – Huge thanks again to Loel Campbell for playing all the beats on the podcast. Check him out at these links:


    46:30 – and find Jud at these links:

    Jud’s portfolio at judhaynes.com
    Atlantic Aire – Jud’s skateboard company

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