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Recognized for creating a design language that elevates the vernacular into a playful, modern design style and pioneering the role of designer as entrepreneur.
Charles S. Anderson is a designer with the heart of a linguist. He has collected and transformed thousands of anonymous commercial-arts artifacts from the
Depression era and beyond into a bona fide graphic-design language that is easy to comprehend and fun to apply. He elevated authentic vernacular into a
playful design style, which ultimately grew into a successful business. That business, CSA Archive (now CSA Images), made him a pioneer design entrepreneur
who, in the tradition of Push Pin Studios and M&Co, split his practice into a client-service studio and an entrepreneurial resource that both licenses
quirky illustrative design to the world and produces products from the same collection.
Anderson graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1981. By 1985 he had joined the edgy Duffy Design Group, where he ultimately became a
partner. Influenced by a curious mixture of mid-century New Bauhaus Modernism, which he was exposed to through his teacher and first employer, Peter Seitz,
and carnivalesque pop culture, which he learned through studying design history, Anderson exemplified a Minneapolis style. He further placed the Midwest on
the design map, blending nostalgic pastiche with contemporary aesthetics of color and form.
The mid-1980s was a period of artistic, technological and demographic transitions, and Anderson was in its vortex. On the crest of the postmodern wave, his
work confronted Modernist institutional conformity that had dominated corporate identity since the ’60s. He was the alternative.
In 1989, with only a single client, the French Paper Company, the enterprising Anderson formed Charles S. Anderson Design, now entering its 25th year.
Anderson’s long-running promotional campaign for the company, with its hybrid vintage type and iconography—he called it “the bonehead style”—comically
critiques the ubiquity of these passé materials by engaging them as valuable artifacts, not just kitsch novelties.
The cartoony printer’s cuts and trade characters that Anderson lovingly revived had sunk to the nadir of graphic achievement, so his quotation of common
visual advertising clichés actually uncovered a lost aesthetic that had been dismissed as artless by the Modern masters of graphic design. In popularizing
these forms, Anderson also contributed to design culture by building on what designer Art Chantry has referred to as American commercial folk art.
CSA’s work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Ginza Gallery, Tokyo; the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design
Museum, New York; Museum für Gestaltung, Zürich; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and many other institutions.
While Charles S. Anderson Design continues to specialize in identity, packaging, product and interactive design for myriad clients, CSA Images develops
products that appeal to editorial and advertising needs yet have also been adapted for home furnishings and apparel. But commerce is not the only reason
for CSA to exist: Inspired by the history of design and illustration, Anderson curated the archive from a personal collection of “stuff” into a virtual
museum of eclectic commercial relics that has grown online into one of the leading design resources for the “creation and preservation of print and pop
Anderson has influenced designers who wed the past and present into contemporary stylistic manifestations. Yet his work has a personality and character
that is unique to him. If we measure our AIGA Medalists by the breadth of their shoulders, many stand firmly on his without breaking his back.
Charles S. Anderson will be presented with the AIGA Medal at The AIGA Centennial Gala on April 25, 2014, in New York City.
AIGA’s design community will gather in New York City for “The AIGA Centennial Gala,” a celebration honoring the 2014 AIGA Medalists and supporting national design initiatives.
The distinguished AIGA Medal is awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements in the field of design.
Section: Inspiration -
After a chance meeting with Milton Glaser grew into a mentorship that saved her career (and her life), Ann Willoughby of Willoughby Design pays it forward by being an advocate for emerging young designers.
Section: Inspiration -
graphic design, Celebration, job search, motivation, personal essay
The federal government specifies that unpaid internships at profit-making
companies must demonstrate an educational experience
geared toward the interests of the intern, not the firm. AIGA Executive Director Richard Grefé describes the criteria, recent developments and new movements to raise awareness of intern rights.
Section: About AIGA -
compensation, AIGA Insight, internships, advocacy
Read more at www.theatlantic.com
The renowned, food-themed "Great Wall of CBS" has a new home after 20 years in a basement.
Section: Inspiration -
When it comes to design, most companies have at some point found themselves at a crossroads, choosing between doing work in-house or hiring an agency. The more important design becomes to business, the more businesses are inclined to try their hand at developing in-house talent. This presents a challenge for agencies. As the work shifts, how do we shift accordingly? And what would the goals of such a shift entail?
Section: Why Design -
in-house design, digital media, business strategy, partnerships, problem solving, strategy, technology, business plans, new business development, studio management
Many of the best brands that have emerged from our work with designers focus on names that combine strong linguistic clues with the right amount of cleverness and personality. So how can you guide your team to develop a name with true design and branding potential? And what about the URL?
Section: Tools and Resources
VSA Partners, Inc.
And the answer is: @Kodak. Design by Christian Cervantes. http://t.co/biSi8JFXle http://t.co/sHjBln5wwu
12 hours ago
The New York Times
Monoskop Releases Archive of Avant-Garde and Modernist Magazines
Posted by Mostafa Heddaya
Hyperallergic — Sensitive to Art and its Discontents
Posted by Dave
Yummy Fresh grain feed!
Peter Arkle News Issue Number 56
The Silk Road
American Museum of Natural History