Does the graphic designer David Carson have the dreamiest setup on earth?
Do you remember, one year ago to the day, when the surfer David Carson was named 18th most influential designer in history? It wasn’t just against other graphic designers either.
Carson left the architects Gaudi, Zaha Hadid and Arne Jacobson in his foamy wake and was only one rung below Charles and Ray Eames, whose chairs have become the most pirated in the world.
Anyway, Carson, he good, though he does tend to polarise. Do you remember when he designed 151 new logos for the WSL? At the time, he told me: “It has no soul. The logo just doesn’t represent the sport very well. It’s pedestrian, unoriginal, forgettable, safe, gentrified and corporate. All things surfing is NOT, at least to me. The zillions of people worldwide, intrigued for decades, who might have felt surfing is unique, are now being shown, no, it’s not. The essence of surfing, the surfing experience, what people feel about it are all belied by this mindless little logo.”
“Do you see people clamouring for tee shirts with it? Stickering their cars, walls, friends, bikes or computers with it? …nooo. It has no particular intrigue nor design unique to surfing. Surfing’s been an integral part of my life for over 40 years, and it’s disappointing to see the lack of imagination, spark, inventiveness and cultural awareness. I would have liked to see a logo and branding truer to the sport, its history and future, as well as the unique individuals involved with it all.
“I think many others would love to have been excited about the new WSL logo, which is just the weak ASP logo with new letters. World Sleeping League. World Snoring League, World Sunning League, whatever. it’s just a huge missed opportunity to send a message about the sport globally. That it…is… unique and…does… have different ways of doing things other sports don’t.
“With the shark media-fest worldwide after Mick’s encounter, millions of people for the first time saw anything related to the WSL. Snd what did they see? A generic little round corporate logo.. similar to countless other logos. ‘Oh thats surfing? I thought they were more, ah, different? Free-spirited? rebellious, or something.'”
Later, Carson would ask me to remove the story after a torrid response.
But it was so bold, so… true! History would be poorer for its evaporation!
Anyway, our pals at New York’s Dress Code just made this movie on David Carson, shot on location at his dreamy Caribbean hideaway. You can watch it here!