Politically incorrect design lectures

One thing I miss living in Prague is the design lectures I used to go to routinely in San Francisco. Two highlights:

1. Victor Moscoso


Moscoso was one of the main designers behind the Haight Ashbury psychedelic poster movement. He designed classic hippie-era band posters like this one:


He also revealed himself to be the designer of the Herbie Hancock Headhunters cover, which was a surprise to me, as this was one of my favorite album cover designs in college:


I saw him lecture to a packed auditorium in 2006. He is a fascinating lecturer, and also a pleasingly unrepentant, unreconstructed hippie. At one point, during his lecture he got sidetracked and went on a pro-legalization-of-marijuana tangent, which led to this spectacular exchange:

Moscoso: [ending with a rhetorical flourish] “I mean, when has marijuana ever really been shown to cause anybody harm?”

Audience: furious applause, cheering

Moscoso: [apparently emboldened by applause] “And LSD… when has LSD ever hurt someone?”

Audience: uncomfortable shifting in seats; nervous, scattered applause

I’d never before seen an audience exhibit a collective sense of being complicit in something uncomfortable and frankly hadn’t known it was possible.

2. Paula Scher


Paula Scher is arguably the most accomplished and well-known female designer alive at present. Her famous poster for a Broadway musical in the early 90s:


She also designed the Jon Stewart book America. When I saw her, it was a joint lecture between her and the producer of the Daily Show, and they talked about how the book got made, the collaborative process, etc etc. The producer even talked at length about Stewart’s infamous appearance on Crossfire when he savaged the hosts.

The best part, though, was when they discussed ideas and jokes that were ultimately deemed too offensive to leave in the book. One omitted joke included a plan to present a diagram of the political left and right sides of the brain with a small area on the far right occupied by Ann Coulter and named… The Cuntal Lobe. Genius.


3 thoughts on “Politically incorrect design lectures”

  1. Paula Scher might be the most accomplished designers of our time. Yet she fails miserably as a designer. Most of her work is quite bad and she now lives on just her name and being one of the directors of Pentagram. Personally I would look towards woman like Deborah Sussman, Beatrice Ward and Coco Chanel to name a few.

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