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Work / Exhibition

Serious Play: a new exhibition celebrating the “epoch-making” work of Paula Scher

Paula Scher, the longstanding Pentagram partner and a designer we hold dearly at It’s Nice That for her frank attitude on the design industry and laughter-inducing wit, is the subject of a new exhibition held at Ginza Graphic Gallery in Tokyo, Japan.

Titled Serious Play, the exhibition features a wealth of Paula’s work from her beginnings in the music industry through to joining Pentagram and the countless identities she’s designed while a partner at the design institution. The exhibition’s title describes the designer’s approach to all projects, whether she’s working on a record sleeve, a poster for a theatre or the identity for a major company such as Citibank. “The title Serious Play is a kind of goal as a designer for Paula Scher,” explains the gallery. “Serious ⇨ solemn ⇨ hackneyed ⇨ extremely bored ⇨ rediscovered is the cycle of her work processes. Thus, at the stage when ‘serious’ morphs into solemn, ‘play’ is in danger of disappearing, so she has to start a journey again to find the next fresh ground.”

Describing her work as “epoch-making”, the gallery will host an amalgamation of Paula’s works over several years, displaying just how necessary her eye for communication design has been in shaping the graphics we see globally today. Including selected works “from her rich career, including posters, logo design, environmental design, book design and other small graphic works,” Serious Play also hosts Paula’s side project come-staple in her portfolio, her art map series. Displaying various facts and figures painted lightly on to maps to build up and up to present a whole picture, 16 of Paula’s paintings over the last 20 years are displayed, unveiling “another fascinating world of her creativity.”

The exhibition opened last week (4 February) and will continue until 25 March, if you’re lucky enough to be in Tokyo over the next few months.

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

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Paula Scher: Serious Play, photography by Mitsumasa Fujitsuka