David Carson : Graphic Design That Communicates

David Carlson, Graphic Designer, Father of Typography, grunge typography, highly defined work of art, communication, advertising,

I love art since I was in primary school. I love to sketch and draw or we used to called it “conteng-conteng” whenever I had chance to do during classes, but I don’t have any idea what 'design' was all about. When the times pass by, I begin to understand and appreciate the importance of design and its elements. One thing for sure, I got attracted with the uniqueness of David Carson’s graphic work which valued as one of the world's renowned vogue and commercially recognized graphic design. 

David Carlson Graphic Design and Typography

David Carson’s Commercial Arts


David Carson is an American graphic designer, art director and also a professional surfer. He is arguably known as the most innovative and influential graphic designer of the 90’s, for his innovative magazine design and use of experimental typography. He was a guy who successfully changed the public face of graphic design and was dubbed a “master of typography” by Graphic magazines.

David Carlson Graphic Design and Typography

Born in 1954 in Texas and graduated with Bachelor of Art in Sociology from San Diego State University. His first contact with graphic design was in 1980 and first became the art director of Transworld Skateboarding in 1984, helping to give the magazine a distinctive look. By the end of his tenure there, he had developed his signature style, using “dirty” type and non-mainstream photographic technique.

In 1995 after almost 15 years in his career, he founded his own studio in New York and started to attract major clients in the advertising and design industry. He was doing work for Pepsi-Cola, Ray Ban, Levis, Nike, Quicksilver, Microsoft, British Airways, Kodak, Intel, Sony< Mercedes, MTV Global and also responsible in designing 'crowfiti' typeface used in the film The Crow : City of Angels.

David Carlson Graphic Design and Typography

Understanding Carson’s Graphic Design


For me, his work is always eye catching, subjective, superb but personal, very self-indulgent and widely imitated aesthetic defined the so-called 'grunge typography' era. A lot will be made of David Carson’s work being the perfect example of ‘theory of sprung life’, that when a means of communication has outlived its relevance, it becomes a total highly defined work of art.

Print medium such as book, magazines, newspapers will become icons, sculptures, textures, that they will be a means of communication of a different order, and that simple information transfer will be effected by some other electronic means. Print will no longer be obliged to simply carry the news. It will have been given or will have taken its freedom and there is no going back. Print is reborn, resurrected as something initially unrecognizable. It’s not really dead, it simply mutated into something else.

David Carlson Graphic Design and Typography

David Carson’s graphic design communicates persuasively on a level beyond words, that by passes the logical, rational centers of the brains and goes straight to the part that understands without thinking. His arts works just like music does.. slipping in there before anyone has a chance to stop it at the border and ask for papers.. 


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Khir Khalid: David Carson : Graphic Design That Communicates
David Carson : Graphic Design That Communicates
David Carlson, Graphic Designer, Father of Typography, grunge typography, highly defined work of art, communication, advertising,
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Khir Khalid
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