Paula Scher, one of the key players and leading ladies of graphic design (she is the first and currently the only female partner at design firm Pentagram), likes to paint really big and really intricate maps. The sizes of the maps alone are impressive (some are as tall as 12 feet) but it's the obsessiveness over the details that's really stunning. Scher's maps are made up entirely of words and packed with an insane amount of information; continents and oceans swirl with flight paths, neighborhoods, and time zones. Who knew that flight paths could be so cool and beautiful?
The maps in Paula Scher MAPS aren't entirely accurate. "I began painting maps to invent my own complicated narrative about the way I see and feel about the world. I wanted to list what I know about the world from memory, from impressions, from media, and from general information overload. These are paintings of distortions," Scher writes in the introduction to her book. So while you can't really use these maps to navigate New York's subway system or road trip across the country, you can, as Simon Winchester puts it in his foreword to the book, "glory in their madness."
And the book comes with a bonus: the cover jacket folds out into one of Scher's maps. So you get something for your bookshelf and something for your wall. You can pick up a copy of Paula Scher MAPS at amazon.com.
Images courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press.