Paula Scher and Marian Bantjes


Paula Scher has been described as ‘the Dame of Grande Design’ (,  ‘America’s first lady of design’, and a ‘giant of modern graphic design’ (

Her design career spans over four decades during which time she has won hundreds of prestigious international and American design awards. She is the first female principal of the major international design firm Pentagram, and her clients include Citi Bank and Coca-Cola.

Her work is generally described as populist, iconic and bold.

original-citi-logoWhilst trained in Swiss international style of typography,  she has developed her own eclectic typographic style that uses font with big, bold and vivid colours and unusual spacing. She claims that this style emerged from her dislike of Helvetica, which she has publicly associated with corporate ‘war-mongering’.

Ironically, these same corporate values are precisely the ones she promotes so effectively that her images – and the corporations they represent – have ‘entered into the American vernacular’ (Idid, 2012) .  Her claims of rebellion contrast starkly against her long and very tight alignment with the very values she pertains to resist.

Alternatively, Marian Bantjes makes no such claims of bucking the system.                                      images-6

Yet her personal, creative and enquiring style – as well as the processes and philosophy behind it – does present a real alternative to this pervasive and generic corporate messaging.

1006-marian-bantjes-sugarMarian’s work aims to evoke etherial qualities –joy, curiosity and a sense of wonder. She describes her work as tapping into visual wealth to enhance intellectual wealth, and promoting inquiry to seed the imagination of the mind ( To me, this very objective – combined with her use of unusual and often traditionally ‘feminine’ materials – constitutes genuinely rebellious design.






One Comment on “Paula Scher and Marian Bantjes”

  1. clea1g says:

    Excellent post Valerie. The information presented has been very thoughtfully analysed and images included well chosen.
    The Marian Bantjes ted talk is one of the most inspirational design talks I have seen in a long time. Hope you enjoyed it as much as i did… it made a great impression on me.

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