images-2Graphic design will save the world right after rock and roll does.’

Carson was born in Texas on September 8, 1954 and has gained a formidable reputation internationally, as a precocious graphic designer. He achieved his iconic status as an innovative magazine designer, in particular for his bold experiments with type, and was the creator of a new aesthetic in typeography, which was to become known as ‘grunge.

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No doubt Carson was influenced by the social and cultural context of the time in which he lived and practiced his craft. He immersed himself in his early career in the liberal artistic culture of Southern California, and then pursued his studies in Switzerland under the mentorship of Hans-Rudolph Lutz, who had a powerful influence on his style.

When he became art director of Transworld Skateboarding magazine (1984), and then Transworld Snowboarding magazine, he had honed his skills into a distinctive style, which he became famous for. He attracted attention by using techniques which were fresh, experimental, expressive and brash.


He became art director for Ray Gun magazine (1992) and achieved the status of the most influential graphic designer of the 1990’s. One of his more controversial projects was to publish an interview with Brian Ferry in dingbats’ font, because he thought it was boring.

He attracted a formidable and diverse stable of clients, including, amongst others, Pepsi, Ray Ban, Nike, Microsoft, Armani, Levi Strauss, Toyota, Quicksilver, Mercedes-Benz and Nine Inch Nails.

At the top of his profession, he became the Creative director of Gibbes Museum of Art (Charlston), Director of Design for Quicksilver Pro Surfing contest (France), became involved with the San Sebastion International Film Festival (Spain). Since then he has been in demand for lectures, workshops and exhibitions internationally.

Newsweek has given him credit for changing ‘the public face of graphic design’, and Graphic Design USA Magazine called him the ‘most influential graphic designers of the era’.

Carson has described his work as ‘subjective, personal and very self indulgent’.




Ray Gun Magazine

David Carson Design – official site

David Carson Documentary – CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION – official site

TED Talks: David Carson on design, discovery and humor at TED in 2003


One Comment on “DAVID CARSON-Designer”

  1. clea1g says:

    Wonderful post Deb! Good information well analysed and presented with a good selection of images and links. Self indulgent maybe but his body of work has had a huge impact on graphic design and to my thinking is truly inspirational.
    Looking forward to seeing the doco, that you provided a link to, when it is released.
    Great work.

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