Beach life

Capturing the beauty of the New York seashore, Paula Scher has designed signage and environmental graphics for eight beaches.

Welcoming New Yorkers back to their beaches, Paula Scher has created a programme of signage and environmental graphics for eight public swimming seashores.

After Hurricane Sandy hit New York last October, the city’s beaches took the brunt of the storm, with boardwalk structures destroyed and millions of tons of sand displaced. After seven months, the beaches have been reopened to the public accompanied by simple, yet striking signage.

Scher designed boardwalk structures which capture the charm and romance of each beach for the somewhat 21-million beachgoers per year.

In shorefront areas like the Rockaways, beaches are the front yards and point of pride for the community. Drawing on this, Scher’s new identification signs feature a photograph taken at the exact spot where the sign is located. The images face the street, and remind residents and visitors that whatever Sandy took away, the beauty of the beach remains.

The major challenge for Scher and her designs stemmed from how it would be possible to get people to the beach, without the familiar structure of the boardwalk to guide them. With this, all identification signs are accompanied by highly visible markers running along the shoreline, aiding visitors to find entry and exit points up and down the beach.  

Watch the Talk with Paula Scher