David Carson was born in Texas on September 8th, 1955. He grew up in Cocoa Beach, Florida, where he spent most of his youth. He studied at San Diego State University, researching sociology. Later, in 1980, Carson attended a two week graphic design course at the University of Arizona. This would be his introduction to the world of graphics. Carson then became a high school teacher in California, spending his free time surfing. Carson became so good at surfing he acquired a world ranking, climbing his way to the 9th best surfer in the world. Carson used this publicity to design his own surfboards.
Carson then took an unpaid internship with Action Now magazine. He continued to study graphic design at various colleges, even attending a class Switzerland. In 1984, Carson became the art director of Transworld Skateboarding magazine and Transworld Snowboarding until 1988.
Later, David Carson designed a tabloid-esque quarterly publication about surfing. He made a huge impact upon the designing community, being hailed as innovative and new. Carson then moved to the Ray Gun magazine where he managed to touch a huge audience of readers. Carson was notorious for his nonconforming articles, including an entire section printed entirely in wingdings.
Carson later moved to New York where he founded his own design studio. Carson began making advertisements for multi-million dollar companies.
Carson describes himself as a "hands-on designer", winning numerous awards for graphic design and typography. He describes his work as a serious hobby, saying that graphic design allows you to have freedom through both words and visuals, allowing you to portray any message. He believes in ultimate originality, which is extremely apparent in his work. Carson says it is important for designers to "put themselves into the work. No one else has your background, upbringing, life experiences ... enjoy the work".