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David Carson covers Little White Lies and Huck

Graphic Design, Magazine / Newspaper

Posted by Mark Sinclair, 21 December 2010, 16:26    Permalink    Comments (28)

With Huck and Little White Lies magazines both part of The Church of London stable, it's a tradition that the covers of last two issues of the year have a visual relationship to one another. This year the link between them is that divisive figure of graphic design, David Carson...

For the Jan/Feb 2011 cover of film title Little White Lies, the magazine's creative director Paul Willoughby sketched the film's lead, Natalie Portman, and passed the drawing (and LWL cover furniture) across to Carson, the brief being that he would craft something in response.

The result sees some black foiled type spread over the whole cover; an unusual take for the magazine, where the 'issue' title usually plays second fiddle to the main illustration. Despite a $ made from the clash of "s" and "H", I rather like the fact that with a portrait of a face as obviously magazine-friendly as Portman's, the type directly subverts the image, the ruffled feathers almost echoing the violent placement of the letters.

For Huck, Carson applied a more recognisable typographic style, working with the magazine's creative director, Rob Longworth. Disruption seems to be the order of the day here, however, with Oskar Enender's photograph of a lone snowboader adorned with a skewed barcode and a conspicuously 'undesigned' type treatment at the bottom.

While I can take or leave the rather forced Carson© treatment of the bottom section, the masthead is much more interesting; different enough to catch your eye, but still recognisably Huck.

Last year Geoff McFetridge brought the two issues together using a single illustration in an excellent Where the Wild Things Are tribute. It revealed it's full charm when the titles were displayed together on the magazine rack (see the CR blog post on the work, here).

In having the designer himself as the link between the covers, however, the connection between the issues is much more subtle. But will that mean there's more room for each one to stand out?

Little White Lies #33 and Huck #24 are due out at the end of this month.


2010-12-21 16:43:20

Where can I buy these magazines, outside of London?

2010-12-21 19:01:19

Noice. Impressive that the portrait was sketched by the magazine's own CD. Behoves us all to go pick up that pencil and sketchpad again (by 'us all', you know I mean 'me').
Btw, my understanding is that the masthead is the list of contibutors inside the mag, while the cover title is known as the flag.
2010-12-21 22:33:00

I respect and admire the 90s moment which Carson captured and influenced so much, but it's as if he stopped in time, with no regard to the relevance of the style in today's scenario. Got a little cheerful seeing the LWL cover, hoping he had finally caught up (even if still some 5 years behind), but then, seeing the huck cover, was disappointing. WIsh he'd snap out of the mold and contribute to todays discussion, as he did in the 90s so terrificly.
i reckon the people from Church of London, in this sense, are doing more pertinent work. no need for this specific contribution in my opinion.

2010-12-21 22:41:13

you should see the ones they rejected : )
david carson
2010-12-22 03:19:00

beautiful. he's still got it
2010-12-22 06:10:25

The Huck cover is beautiful.
Alex Szabo-Haslam
2010-12-22 09:55:50

I always liked Bob Gill's take: If David Carson didn't exist, we'd need to invent him.
Paul Bunting
2010-12-22 10:40:07

Being 23 years old, i missed out on Carson the first time around and during my foundation course, with it's abundance of old creative reviews and 90's magazines with horrible stretched type, i grew to hate the carson inspired i've progressed through my education i've obviously learnt more and explored more about typography, however, I still hate this style. that's not to say I hate experimental typography, not at all, but carson's style seems very grounded in its era. It defined most of a decade but as renato said, he doesn't seem to have moved on.

I like certain parts of each cover, the huck photography and lack of colour on each, but generally, it seems a bit dated.

I'd much rather have seen a cover with a more contemporary apporach, perhaps from someone like neil kellerhouse?
2010-12-22 10:59:04

...I wish I could see the ones they rejected.

Can't get enough DC's style even after a decade or more of looking.
2010-12-22 12:34:07

I love DC, but I agree, the bottom part of the Huck magazine does look 'forced'. As if a student copying Carson's style has done it.
2010-12-22 13:50:15

Contemporary like Kellerhouse?
Have you seen that Vaughn Oliver guy? Yeah, he's pretty contemporary too??

The little white lies cover could be great, a massive picture of Natalie Portman is pretty much the ultimate in aesthetic pleasure.

We know you can't do layouts David, but layouts are cool now so get with the times and stop surfin' all over the place.
Stern John
2010-12-23 10:04:27

nice to see DC still working :)
2010-12-23 14:03:55

Love to see the ones they rejected.

Anyway, on second thought, if an artist like DC had the talent and feeling to Create an esthetic, maybe he can afford to go with it as he likes, and celebrate it when an opportunity comes. Who am I to judge. I take back the personal criticism, even though still not blown away by the covers (at least the chosen ones), as much as I'd expect to be, having been designed by such an influential designer. Just hoped maybe he'd have more to say, or maybe more space to say it in (?).
Maybe in some other work.

Nevertheless, congratulations to the team for an interesting collaboration, with hopefully more to come.
2010-12-27 19:05:23

Speaking of Carson, coming soon . . .
2010-12-28 01:27:34

I still love Carson. Legend.
Si Billam
2011-01-04 15:54:48

Doesn't Carson get bored of doing the same ol' sh**te with every job he works on!?
2011-01-04 16:24:00

seriously?! How does this has-been get any work when he keeps churning out the same old crap!?
2011-01-05 04:56:52

carson rules. great so see some fresh new work. always welcome. as for the covers, like them both - especially huck.
2011-01-07 23:29:06

Carson's legacy and importance cannot be denied. Truly an innovator. But to be honest he's been a charicature of himself for almost 20 yrs now. Everything new he does only waters down the importance of his early work. And that work really doesn't hold up up very well.
2011-01-11 23:48:30

Haters are interesting lot. Maximums to Mr. Carson. If it weren't for him alot of you would be staring out of the window at brick wall digging your ears with a rapidograph. ez.
Mr. Freshly
2011-01-12 06:33:31

I disagree with those who said here that Carson's work is outdated; e.g. Renato and Matt. Breaking the iconic Natalie Portman face and having it remain immediately recognizable by placing the words associated with her nowadays "Black Swan" MAKES this work relevant. Not to mention the fact that Carson maintains his reputation as the "enfant terrible" of graphic design by doing the unexpected proves his signature design voice has pertenence is the design world.
Maybe today doing the unexpected is considered outdated.
Also no one can look at that cover and say it looks like it wasn't done today. The combination of the type and the illustration creates a pattern-like drawing in itself somewhat reminiscent of the organic designs of M/M Paris.
Tammy Dekel
2011-01-29 16:37:40

I was shocked that this Little white lies cover type was David Carson but there is no denying the connection between the Huck cover and his earlier works for Ray Gun and earlier books.

His apparent mantra "don't confuse legibility for communication" became the graphic language of a generation, mimicked and rejoiced across the globe in the nineties.

I don't wish to speak negatively about, Mr Carson I believe he should be celebrated as the originator of this anarchic sensation. But on seeing his cover graphic or home page to CARSON mag I was a little disappointed to see that nothing had changed on first impressions. Is it a revival? has he become mode again? or has he not moved on?

I hope to be surprised by the content and the creation that will be CARSON magazine.

I do find it funny that in an interview I heard him ay something along the lines of "there was Neville Brody and then me and no one has followed". I'd love to be so confident that I could say not a single designer has become anywhere close to defining a decade or a style of our times more than myself. I guess in the past designers died before they were celebrated with such reverence.

Good luck to him.
Lee Nicol
2011-02-16 05:16:07

He should change his name to David Marmite.
2011-02-16 11:40:02

I love the way he places type.
I think it's very bold and different yet it integrates
very well with the image. I think it's a pretty great magazine
cover. It's unique.

Best of luck love your work!
2011-02-24 21:52:16

I love the way he places type.
I think it's very bold and different yet it integrates
very well with the image. I think it's a pretty great magazine
cover. It's unique.

Best of luck love your work!
2011-02-25 19:47:44

Like others I was surprised to hear it was Carson who worked on the type. A very pleasant surprise indeed, glad to see he is still involved at some level.
2011-03-25 14:16:29

Way to waste your cover budget.
2011-08-19 10:08:56

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