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October 30, 2009 / Kuan

Solemn or Serious?

Paula Scher‘s talk on Solemn/Serious design.

I was watching this video earlier the day, and what Paula said in the video lingering around in my mind as day almost went by.

She said that when she was ignorant, and unknown to something she was gong for, she was serious. While she was fulfilling an expectation, the work became solemn.

Here are some examples of her serious work:

When she was designing the identity, tickets, posters for The Public Theater. There was no identity before she took on it, and she had the full control of everything. The bold typography, beautiful color and execution. That was serious.

When that style of design became popular in New York, everyone tried to do the same thing. It became solemn, unfortunately.

Another serious project she did was for Children’s Museum in Pittsburg. She integrated design with architecture, something she wasn’t familiar with.

Serious work are those she was passionate about, doing experiments with, playing with. They are unexpected, truly have the spirit of play in the design work. And they work.

One of many advantages of being a student is that I can experiment with things, to see whether or not they will work. To try new things. To play. Never lose the playfulness in design, my friend.


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