Davis Carson, Designer of The Book of Probes
The End of Print (Again): Why David Carson Still Matters
by BUZZ POOLE on JULY 17, 2012
David Carson came to the fore of visual culture in the early 1990s, solidifying his place in 1995 with the publication of The End of Print: The Grafik Design of David Carson. His frenetic lettering and layouts inspired countless designers to push boundaries and break classical rules, qualities that are still prized today. So much so that a new second edition of Carson’s book—which, in 1995, was received by many as a brash polemic—has just been released.
Carson is a member of the graphic design community to be sure, but his admittance was fraught with criticism and rebukes, accusations of ignoring style and demeaning content. In truth, the work featured in the 1995 edition of this monograph represents the worldview of a revolutionary staking his claim before anyone else had decided what side they were on, or had even realized that sides needed taking.
In his introduction to The End of Print, Lewis Blackwell sums up why Carson still matters today: “The work celebrated the resonance of print and its processes, as well as the potential for a more intense visual media.” Helfand’s daughter, two years old in 2000, is a member of the generation that does more of its reading on screens than on pages, instilling a familiarity with “intense visual media” where once there was novelty. The End of Print serves as a threshold between the two eras, showing the way from the print to the digital age in the same way Marshall McLuhan tried to make sense of the electric media age.
The Book of Probes, via Gingko Press
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