Lightbox Feature: David Carson

Earlier this month we had the opportunity to see David Carson speak at the Seattle Public Library as part of a lecture series put on by Civilization. Carson is an American graphic designer best known for his distinctive designs and use of experimental typography. He is the former art director for Ray Gun magazine, where he employed the “grunge” typographical aesthetic. Carson was honored for Apple’s 30th anniversary, which was funny to him because of the technical difficulties he had with his computer presentation during the lecture. He seems to be a true artist who embraces imperfections, one who does not rely on the computer, guidelines, or “snap to grid.”

David Carson Eddie Bower Magazine Covers

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Carson opened the lecture as a conversation that, in many ways, reflected the immense and seemingly “disorganized” desktop he was presenting off of. This was an honest and humble walk through of a genuine and authentic artist, true to his nature and way of thinking. He was very funny in his own subtle, understated way.

The biggest thing we took from Carson’s lecture is the importance of making sure your unique creative perspective is heard and applied to whatever field you are in. He is a firm believer that each and every one of us is unique, and, because of that, we all bring something valuable to the table. Incorporating your personal experiences into the work you do makes it singular and authentic.

David Carson work for Ray Gun Magazine

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Carson is able to achieve his grungy, non-mainstream look by layering photography, typography, and other graphic elements. He challenges traditional design structures with an unconventional approach of looking at every element with equal importance, for example, treating SKU sticker placement as a graphic element rather than an afterthought. He does a great job translating his style of work from wild surf magazines to very structured Eddie Bauer spreads. Carson always delivers designs true to his own style and in doing so is rarely approached by a client looking for something different. To be sought after for your own style of work with no compromise is a dream come true for an artist.

David Carson Signing Poster at Seattle Public Library

 Photo Credit: CRP, Inc.

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