Skip to content
Paula Scher
At work with

Paula Scher

For the second consecutive issue, WeTransfer have produced three different versions of their WePresent magazine, each one designed by a different designer. This week we meet one of those designers, Paula Scher, at Pentagram’s New York office.

Paula is one of the most prominent graphic designers in the world. She made her name in the seventies at CBS records, and joined Pentagram as the first female partner in 1991. As well as global corporate clients, she has defined the visual identities of many iconic New York institutions including The Museum of Modern Art, The Highline and The Public Theatre. Her work on WePresent is a rare foray into editorial design.

What are you up to this Monday morning?
I do the same thing everyday. I get up around six thirty, make a pot of coffee, bring it back in the bedroom and read the New York Times and Washington Post for about an hour.  Then I run a bath and give Mimi a treat (she gets her breakfast about 20 minutes later).

After my bath, I decide what I am going to wear and rummage through the closet trying to find something that fits right. I usually try on two or more ensembles and generally wear the first one, but on bad hair days, nothing works, and those are the days where I am late and everything goes wrong,

Where are you?
I am at home today. None of this happens when I am traveling. For one thing, I don’t have enough clothing choices with me.

Cover of MAD magazine, October 1963, shows a cartoon of Fidel Castro lighting a cigar
Which magazine do you first remember?
Mad magazine!  The best ever.


COver of New York Times Magazine, featuring cluse up poertriat of musician SZA

Which magazine matters to you the most this morning ?
I read the newspaper and the New York Times Magazine, but everything is online,  I also have a subscription to The Hive, from Vanity Fair.


Paula Scher’s cover for the fifth issue of WePresent, one of three designs by different designers.

How did the WePresent project come about?
They asked me. I had to decide if we had the time, but I thought it would be good for the team. We had fun!


How did you approach designing the magazine?
We had to use the photos they sent but we did get to determine how many pages they had. I hated one of the stories they gave us and it was the worst designed piece in the issue. Most of the other stories had some good photography. We had the most fun with the typography (above) and the Mimi story.


Spread from WePresent magazine, showing a diagram of Paula Scher’s dog walking route and events.

What’s your favourite page(s) in the issue?
Mimi’s neighborhood walk (above).


Tell us about working with AI image tool Dall-e?
For all designers who are afraid that Dall-e will take away your jobs, it won’t. A lot of the Dall-e images aren’t great. There is a lot of really hackneyed illustration on the site. Also, everything absolutely needs retouching, so Photoshop is a must, you have to be able to make a montage. Kirsten Huber and Bruno Begallo found and crafted the imagery. It was my idea to make the cover an Australian Shepherd gallery and it was beautifully executed by them (above).


Opening spread of James Bridle’s piece about AIMimi also appears throughout James Bridle’s overview of current AI technology


Animated gif of the three WePresent front covers

Have you seen the other two versions of the magazine, designed by Hort and Turbo?
It was interesting to see how the other designers worked with the same material we were given, particularly the photos. We had to use specific photos on specific articles but we didn’t have to use all of the images and each team picked what we would omit.

I expected that all the design teams would make the same choices, but they didn’t. There was one article where I thought the images were really mediocre and we didn’t know how to play them, but another group handled it better.

All in all I was happy with our publication.

Would you like to design another magazine?
Yes. I really enjoy designing magazines.

What are you most looking forward to this coming week?
Going shopping for a new dress.


Previous post Hannah and Isabelle, Motor Dance Journal
Next post Charles Asprey, Picpus