INSPIRATION Being serious about design

Being serious about design

Watch Paula Scher talk about her work life as a designer, a sum of adventures, of different chapters and discoveries. Each new adventure begins with a serious attitude and ends up becoming solemn.

A beautiful talk highlighting the key points in her career, focusing on the transition from serious to solemn work, and then starting fresh with a new serious play.

Here are some excerpts from Paula Scher talk on TED.


Solemn design is often important and very effective design. Solemn design is also socially correct, and is accepted by appropriate audiences. It’s what right-thinking designers and all the clients are striving for.


Serious design, serious play, is something else. For one thing, it often happens spontaneously, intuitively, accidentally or incidentally. It can be achieved out of innocence, or arrogance, or out of selfishness, sometimes out of carelessness. But mostly, it’s achieved through all those kind of crazy parts of human behavior that don’t really make any sense.


Serious design is imperfect. It’s filled with the kind of craft laws that come from something being the first of its kind. Serious design is also — often — quite unsuccessful from the solemn point of view. That’s because the art of serious play is about invention, change, rebellion — not perfection. Perfection happens during solemn play.


What starts serious play is the passion, curiosity, surprise and invention. What ends it is becoming accepted, expected and used to it.