Maptastic!: Paula Scher Explores the Geography of Design

Need another reason to love New York? Paula Scher credits the chaos of the city as a key inspiration for her map paintings. In “The Geography of Design,” a short film drected by Nicolas Heller and produced by Brian Collins for the Art Directors Club, Scher discusses how the city’s high-volume hubbub and mix of viewpoints, attitudes, and ethnicities influenced her work, particularly her painting. “I began to paint maps, and they really are layers of opinion and layers of populations,” she explains in the first part of the film. “I don’t think I really would have painted that dense cacophony if I hadn’t been living in New York City.” Check out part two (below) for the story of Scher’s first map painting—created in 1989 for the back cover of the AIGA annual—and a look at all the places the maps have taken her since then.