P. Scott Makela

Graphic Designer, Deceased Person

1960 – 1999


Who was P. Scott Makela?

P. Scott Makela was a graphic designer, multimedia designer and type designer. Among other work, he was especially noted for the design of Dead History, a postmodern typeface that combined features of a rounded sans serif typeface and a crisp neo-classical serif typeface. With the emergence of the personal computer in the mid-1980s, Makela was among the first to explore digital programs such as Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. As a result, he created an idiosyncratic, original and highly controversial design aesthetic. In particular, his disregard for clean, modernist, problem-solving design agendas—synonymous with contemporary corporate graphic design—caused much debate among powerful, old-guard designers such as Massimo Vignelli, Paul Rand, and Henry Wolf.

Makela graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1985. He developed a notable body of work of graphics, film and "industrial soul" music before his sudden death at the age of 39 in May 1999. Commercial yet highly personal, Makela created visually aggressive work for clients such as Apple Computer, Rossignol, Nike and Sony. Projects such as Michael Jackson's "Scream" and film titles for the seminal Fight Club defined a post-modern moment in graphic design, along with the work of contemporaries such as April Greiman and David Carson.

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Saint Paul
  • Minneapolis College of Art and Design
May 1, 1999

on July 23, 2013


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