Summer Project: David Carson

Over the summer we were asked to do some research into a designer who has influenced our chosen disciplines. I chose to study the works of the graphic designer David Carson who has been hailed as “Art Director of the Era”, “the most influential graphic designer of our times” and even “the greatest living graphic designer .”

Carson was a high school sociology teacher and a pro surfer (ranked 9th in the world at one point) before 1980 when he had his first contact with graphic design in the form of a 2 week graphic design course. He attended San Diego State University, Oregon College of Commercial Arts and in 1983 travelled to Switzerland for a 3 week workshop with one of his first great influences Hans Rudolf Lutz.

By the late 1980s Carson had developed his signature style. By taking photography and type and manipulating and twisting them together it appeared he was confusing the message but in reality he was drawing the eyes of the viewer deeper within the composition and communicating the message in a much more powerful way. This widely imitated style helped define “grunge graphics”

Carson has since become best known for his innovative magazine design and has designed for skateboarding, snowboarding, music and surfing magazines to name but a few, managing to combine his passions with his profession, something i admire in him and also strive to do.

David Carson continues to be an inspiration to graphic design, in various different fields including film, t.v, books and several others and travels extensively throughout the U.S and Europe giving lectures frequently around the world.


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