Designer Profile: David Carson

Have you ever wondered who the most influential graphic designer of the 1990’s was?

Look no further than David Carson (I.D. magazine), who defined the “grunge typography” era.

By: Mandeep Grewal


David Carson is an American graphic designer born September 8, 1954 in Corpus Christi, Texas. He earned his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology, and his style of typography is experimental. Stylistically, his layouts tend to have distortions or mixes of typefaces and fractured imagery making them hard to visualize. His main inspiration came from his Switzerland professor, Hans-Rudolf Lutz, where he attended a three week graphic workshop.

David Carson is the founder of David Carson Design, Inc. and has offices in New York City and Charleston, SC. During the 1990s, his corporate client list was growing rapidly and eventually included Microsoft, Nike, Sony, Yale University and numerous others.


Carson worked as a teacher at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego from 1982-1987. After teaching he became the art director of Transworld Skateboarding magazine. He also was a professional surfer and qualified 9th in the world in 1989. From here, he was asked to design a graphic for “Beach Culture” magazine and his career lifted off. His most innovative and attractive graphic design was when he became art director of “Ray Gun” magazine. Critics who didn’t understand his design also loved this masterpiece. There is lots of contrast and alignment that goes on in this picture, everything is placed in a way which doesn’t bother other typefaces on the picture.

Over his career, David Carson has been featured in over 180 magazine and newspaper articles around the world. His first book, The End of Print, has become the top selling design book of all time. In the present day, he continues to educate and make other designers aware that being different and bold can be a great thing.

He continues to emphasize that one should read the material before designing something, and experimenting alternative ways to communicate your design.


Graphic Design: David Carson-Bio. (2007, March 2). Retrieved June 3, 2012, from Anard Design:

Adebayo, A. (2012, April 21). Discourse Module: David Carson. Retrieved June 5, 2012, from

David Carson (graphic designer). (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Wikipedia:

David Carson Designs. (n.d.). david carson design. Retrieved June 3, 2012, from


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