David Carson is an American graphic designer and a magazine publisher, who was born in Texas on September 8th 1955. 2 of his most well known projects are a music magazine called ‘Ray Gun’ and his first book, ‘The End of Print: The Graphic Design of David Carson’. Considering Carson’s success in the designs that had to do with surfing, and all the awards that he was given for them, it is important to mention that Carson spent his early adulthood as a professional surfer.
It is safe to say that Carson’s design career started with the commercial design class that he enrolled in, instructed by a Swiss designer called Hans-Rudolph Lutz (Sacharoq, 1996, p.8). After that class, he decided to be enrolled in a full time design school and shortly after his graduation he started working for a small magazine called Self and Musician as a designer. He worked in many magazines and shifted various occupations until he established his own company: David Carson Design. His overlapping photos and diversity of typefaces was what made his work unique.
He caught the attention of Marvin Jarrett, the publisher of “Ray Gun:” an American alternative music publication, with his design accomplishments in the Beach culture. David Carson’s success along with Ray Guy’s reputation tripled the subscriptions of Ray Gun between ’92 and ’95.
He made designs for numerous corporate companies under the name of David Carson Design, such as Microsoft, Toyota, Giorgio Armani, Quicksilver, Nike, Levi’s and many others.
His first book; The End of Print: The Graphic Design of David Carson is the best selling graphic design book of all times. He had a few other publications after that including the 2004 collection, Trek.
Trek’s cover displays a lot of characteristics of David Carson’s work such as the colors and the chaotic atmosphere. His designs are made in such a way that the chaos makes it hard to understand, just like in Trek, the numerous layers, the typefaces, the contrasts, the splashing colors are all different aspects that makes his designs hard to understand. His talent is obvious where he combines chaotic elements in order to form an organized overall design. Despite all the chaos, his designs are extremely balanced, and although the appearance that they give as being unorganized, they are in fact beautifully organized. His intentional spelling mistakes is one of the recent touches to draw the viewer even more in to that world.
Carson is also known for his humorous quotations on design:
“There’s no other time in the year where commercials can take center stage. Commercials are always the things that are playing when you’re going to the bathroom or grabbing a soda from the fridge.”
“Heavy has always been about our point of view. That’s why we have attracted an audience.”
“You`ll see everything from gold teeth to hood ornaments. It`s almost like Halloween during August.”
“The criminal, like the artist, is a social explorer”
“A lot of commercials that have been rejected are really entertaining.”
“It’s not about knowing all the gimmicks and photo tricks. If you haven’t got the eye, no program will give it to you”
and probably the most humorous of all;
“Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does”
Carson, David. (2008). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from Encyclopaedia Britannica Online: http://0search.eb.com.library.capcollege.bc.ca:80/eb/article-9396019.
David Carson Design. (2005). Bio, David Carson.. Retrieved March 29, 2008, from http://www.davidcarsondesign.com/?dcdc=top/s.
Grow, Gerald. (2005). Front Page: Covers of the Twentieth Century. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, Vol. 82 (Issue 3), p. 729-736.
Sacharoq, Anya. (1996). Reading David Carson and his New Mag. MediaWeek, Vol. 6 (Issue 16), p. 7-9.