He was labeled a terrible graphic designer in the nineties. His agonized typography drove a clique of critics to indict him of not being serious and of destroying the origins and foundation of communication design. Now, the work and techniques of David Carson dominates design, advertising, the Web, and even motion pictures. David Carson graduated from San Diego state university, where he received a BFA degree in sociology. A former professional surfer, he was ranked #9 in the world during his college days. David Carson is currently the principal and chief designer of David Carson Design, Inc. with offices in New York City and Charleston, SC.
Carson is a designer whose unorthodox graphic style played a major role in his success in the design world. His sense of typography is original and unique in a way that he does not follow the basis of communication design. For example, his arrangement of text is not what we would normally see which is in order but positioned in disarray creating chaos and confusion which is new and refreshing. His use of interesting visual simultaneously with typography creates an out of the ordinary design where sometimes the images are deliberately obscuring the text that goes with it and occasionally creating an unfinished sentence or word.
Simplicity runs through Carson’s veins where “less is more”. Minimalism functions in his design where there are no extreme effects that would overpower his intention. His aim is to put everything out front in candor. For example, in his most current works, he designed a poster for a sold out tsunami relief benefit event where collection of donation was needed for the affected countries. In the poster, it showed an image of a giant wave with just one word depicted boldly on it – help’. The message he wanted to portray was clear and straightforward.
Beach Culture was the magazine where Carson’s layouts and experimental fonts first appeared. This attracted an international crowd following the appearance in the six issue run of the magazine. Ray-Gun magazine was the place that brought Carson to international stardom. The American Center for Design (Chicago) called his work on Ray Gun magazine “the most important work coming out of America” while USA Today described it as “visually stunning,” adding that his design of Ray Gun Magazine “may actually get young people reading again. “.
Following the success of Ray-Gun, he started progressing to high profile clients such as Microsoft and Giorgio Armani where he worked on worldwide branding and advertising campaigns. The End of Print, which is Carson’s first book with Lewis Blackwell, is the all time top selling graphic design book, selling over 200,000 copies, and printed in 5 different languages. The End of Print marks a turning point in design that ushered in the look of today. With the success of The End of Print, Carson branched out into film and television to direct commercials and videos.
He directed the launch commercials for Lucent technologies and teamed up with William Burroughs in Carson’s short film, based on “The End of Print”. He also collaborated with Harvard Business School professor John Kao on a documentary entitled “The Art and Discipline of Creativity. ” Another Carson publication, 2nd Insight is a sequel to The End of Print. Rather than simply being a collection of the work produced since the first book was published, 2nd Insight is a sequel in the true sense of the world.
The book is an inspirational book on intuition, and injecting a little part of yourself into everything you do. It also talks about the single design solution myth, and the other end of the design spectrum: arbitrary or meaningless creations. In my opinion, you either love or hate the work that Carson does. For me, David Carson’s work inspired me to be more daring and bold in my designs. There will always be critics but your own perception of design is what matters most. For better or worse, David Carson has a profound impact on design in the United States of America and the rest of the world.