David Carson, the rockstar-beloved graphic designer and founding art director of Ray Gun is back in the magazine business, as creative director of the new C A R S O N magazine. C A R S O N will publish bi-monthly in 2011, with themed issues covering art, culture, design, fashion, and current events. It will be based in Venice, CA, natch.
Ray Gun, which ran from 1992-2000, was known primarily for having legitimately cool musicians on the cover, and for Carson’s insane typography play. He had a lot to do with the 90s’ reconsideration of legibility as a design ideal. Nylon editor-in-chief Marvin Scott Jarrett was another owner-founder.
So how will the Ray Gun aesthetic translate in the Instapaper-era of magazine consumption? The Observer got in touch with Alex Storch–who will serve as C A R S O N‘s (it’s even hard to type) editor-in-chief–via e-mail, to find out.
Observer: What’s your relationship to Carson–the man or his work–and how’d you get together for this new publication?
Storch: Well, I have always been a fan — as someone who is attracted to things that are atypical, in all forms. I met him as a journalist doing a story about him, and now I have the luxury of working with him. I used to always tell designers in the past to “make it look David Carson did it,” and now we have him and his company working with us.
Do you think that if a publication still bothers to print, they have a special duty to be *concerned* with design? Related: what are the limitations of design on the internet?
That’s really why we started it. People want fast, easily-digested information on the Internet. David’s aesthetics would never translate, and would be lost in the fold of online journalism. Magazines are concerned with design by their construction – from agonizing over fonts and sizes to placement and even order. On the Internet, people can skip around so freely, but a magazine, like a good album, can be ordered properly. Like a journey.
And ok–the name. Is this going to be Carson-centric publication? What are your and Carson’s editorial aims?
Only in the sense that we’re ready to push boundaries. We’re ready to create a space in the market, between an art and design magazine, a literary journal, and a disruption of rules. Celebrity-driven tabloids aren’t taking any chances these days.
We’re looking to spin a combination of published writers and emerging talent along with some fresh design into something really special.
Ray Gun has been dead for 10 years. Anything you’d like to bring back to life with the new brand? Anything you’d like to leave behind?
Considering that Ray Gun is still available on eBay for $60 an issue, I think the demand still exists where the void of magazines like that once were. We’re not looking to be Ray Gun Part II, but we also want to differentiate ourselves from what’s out there, which they certainly did.
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