Pág 2 Biography He was born on September 8, 1952 in Corpus Christi, Texas. Carson and his family moved to New York City four years later. Since then he has traveled all around the world but has maintained New York as his base of operations. Carson now owns two studios; one in Del Mar, California and another in Zürich. Because of his father, Carson traveled all over America, Puerto Rico, and the West Indies. These journeys affected him profoundly and the first signs of his talent were shown at a very young age; however, his first actual contact with graphic design was made in 1980 at the University of Arizona on a two week graphics course. He attended San Diego State University as well as Oregon College of Commercial Art. Later on in 1983, Carson was working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology when he went to Switzerland, where he attended a three-week workshop in graphic design as part of his degree. This is where he met his first great influence, who also happened to be the teacher of this course, Hans-Rudolf Lutz. He became renowned for his inventive graphics in the 1990s. Having worked as a sociology teacher and professional surfer in the late 1970s, he art directed various music, skateboarding, and surfing magazines through the 1980s. As art director of surfing magazines and more famously style magazine Ray Gun (1992-5), Carson came to worldwide attention. His layouts featured distortions or mixes of ‘vernacular’ typefaces and fractured imagery, rendering them almost illegible. Indeed, his maxim of the ‘end of print’ questioned the Página
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role of type in the emergent age of digital design, following on from California New Wave and coinciding with experiments at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. In the later 1990s he shifted from ‘surf subculture’ to corporate work for Nike, Levis, and Citibank. Career During the period of 1982–1987, Carson worked as a teacher in Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, California. In 1983, Carson started to experiment with graphic design and found himself immersed in the artistic and bohemian culture of Southern California. By the late eighties he had developed his signature style, using “dirty” type and non-mainstream photographic techniques. He would later be dubbed the “father of grunge.” Carson went on to become the art director of Transworld Skateboarding magazine. Among other things, he was also a professional surfer, and in 1989 Carson was qualified as the 9th best surfer in the world. Steve and Debbee Pezman, publishers of Surfer magazine (and later Surfers Journal) tapped Carson to design Beach Culture, which evolved out of a to-the-trade annual supplement; the new, quarterly publication was called Beach Culture. Though only six quarterly issues were produced, the tabloid-size venue—edited by author Neil Fineman—allowed Carson to make his first significant impact on the world of graphic design and typography—with ideas that were called innovative even by those that were not fond of his work, in which legibility often
Pág 3 relied on readers’ strict attention (for one feature on a blind surfer, Carson opened with a two-page spread covered in black). A stint at How magazine (a trade magazine aimed at designers) followed, and soon Carson was hired by publisher Marvin Scott Jarrett to design Ray Gun, a magazine of international standards which had music and lifestyle as its subject. Not afraid to break convention, in one issue he used Dingbat as the font for what he considered a rather dull interview with Bryan Ferry. (However, the whole text was published in a legible font at the back of the same issue of RayGun, complete with a repeat of the asterisk motif). Ray Gun made Carson very well-known and attracted new admirers to his work. In this period, publications such as the New York Times (May 1994) and Newsweek (1996) featured Carson and increased his publicity greatly. In 1995, Carson founded his own studio, David Carson Design, in New York City, and started to attract major clients from all over the United States. During the next three years (1995–1998), Carson was doing work for Pepsi Cola, Ray Ban (orbs project), Nike, Microsoft, Budweiser, Giorgio Armani, NBC, American Airlines and Levi Strauss Jeans, and later worked for a variety of new clients, including AT&T, British Airways, Kodak, Lycra, Packard Bell, Sony, Suzuki, Toyota, Warner Bros., CNN, Cuervo Gold, Johnson AIDS Foundation, MTV Global, Princo, Lotus Software, Fox TV, Nissan, quiksilver, Intel, Mercedes-Benz, MGM Studios and Nine Inch Nails. He, along with Tina Meyers, designed the “crowfiti” typeface used in the film The Crow: City of Angels. He acted as the original design consultant for the tourism magazine Blue in 1997. Christa Skinner art directed and designed the magazine.
In 2000, Carson opened a new personal studio in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2004, Carson became the Creative Director of Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston and designed the special “Exploration” edition of Surfing Magazine and directed a television commercial for UMPQUA Bank in Seattle, Washington. Carson became interested in a new school of typography that was being seen in the pages of Emigre magazine, California Institute of the Arts, and Cranbrook Academy of the Arts starting in the mid and late 1980s. His interests included photography-based graphic design similar to that which was seen in 8vo in England. Carson is credited for popularizing the style. It is debated if he inspired many young designers of the 1990s...or stole from them. Many young designers fresh out of Cal Arts worked for him during this time period with little or no credit sited. Carson claims he is emotionally attached to his creations. Carson’s work is considered explorative of thoughts and ideas that become “lost” in the subconscious. Carson’s work is familiar among the generation that grew up with Ray Gun Magazine and its progeny such as huH and xceler8, and in general, the visually savvy MTV generation. He took photography and type and manipulated and twisted them together and on some level confusing the message but in reality he was drawing the eyes of the viewer deeper within the composition itself. Carson lectures extensively throughout the world, as well as at colleges throughout the U.S., including Cranbrook, Art Center College of Design, UniDavid Carson / Graphic Designers
Pág 4 versity of Notre Dame, RISD and CalArts. Publications In November 1995, Carson published his first book the End of Print. It sold over 200,000 copies in five different languages and soon became the bestselling graphic design book worldwide. His second book, 2nd Sight, followed in 1997. It is said that this book simply changed the public face of graphic design (Newsweek). In 1998, Carson worked with Professor John Kao of the Harvard Business School on a documentary entitled “The Art and Discipline of Creativity.” The third book that Carson published was Fotografiks (1999) which earned Carson the Award of Best Use of Photography in Graphic Design. Carson’s fourth book, Trek, was released in 2000. Carson has also helped in the development of The History of Graphic Design by Philip Meggs and The Encyclopedia of Surfing by Matt Warshaw. Bibliography Carson, David (1995). The End of Print: The Graphic Design of David Carson. Chronicle Books. ISBN 0811811999. Carson, David (1997). David Carson: 2nd Sight: Grafik Design After the End of Print. Universe Publishing. ISBN 0789301288. Meggs, Phillip B.; David Carson (1999). Fotografiks: An Equilibrium Between Página
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Photography and Design Through Graphic Expression That Evolves from Content. Laurence King. ISBN 1856691713. Stecyk, Craig; David Carson (2002). Surf Culture: The Art History of Surfing. Laguna Art Museum in association with Gingko Press. ISBN 1584231130. Mcluhan, Marshall; David Carson, Eric McLuhan, Terrance Gordon (2003). The Book of Probes. Gingko Press. ISBN 1584230568. Carson, David (2004). Trek: David Carson, Recent Werk. Gingko Press. ISBN 1584230460. Mayne, Thom; David Carson (2005). Ortlos: Architecture of the Networks. Hatje Cantz Publishers. ISBN 3775716521. Awards During the period of 1989–2004, David Carson has won over 170 Awards for his work in graphic design. Some of these awards include: Best Overall Design, Society of Publication Designers in New York. Cover of the Year, Society of Publication Designers in New York. Award of Best Use of Photography in Graphic Design Designer of the Year 1998, International Center of Photography Designer of the Year 1999, International Center of Photography Master of Typography, Graphics magazine (NY) The most famous graphic designer on the planet, April 2004 - London Creative Review magazine (London)