Preserving Print Design: Charles S. Anderson Featured in Graphis Journal #371

The illustrious work of Charles S. Anderson is featured in our Graphis Journal #371 (available for preorder), with his mission to save American print design at the core of it all.

An entrepreneur, creative director, designer, and Graphis Master, Anderson is a jack-of-all-trades with one of the industry’s most successful design companies under his ownership. Through CSA Design, Anderson has been able to create brand identities for multiple clients, with the extensive list including Target, French Paper, Nike, Paramount Pictures, Custom Ink, The New York Times, Facebook, Turner Classic Movies, and other industry giants. 

Alongside his work for corporate design, Anderson has also revived the world of analog aesthetics and reinvented the ways in which different design tools can be used for both licensable and recreational artwork. His roster of design work has been exhibited in museums globally, with a permanent collection located in New York’s Museum of Modern Art. 

Custom Ink’s co-founder, Marc Katz, describes Anderson as a “one of a kind” artist who believes in the “power of design to influence thoughts, feelings, and experiences.” While his work stands as testimony to that, his honorary AIGA Medal for exceptional achievement in the field of design further exacerbates the artist’s legendary career – one that is surely bound to continue to shake up the design world. 

Here’s a snippet of our inspiring Q&A with the designer:

What originally inspired or motivated you into your career?

“An early love of vernacular art, comic books, and drawing.” 

What is your design philosophy?

“First of all, I believe that God is the creator of all and the source of all creativity. I also believe that good design is about making something that adds richness to people’s lives; something inspiring, memorable, funny, abrasive, ironic, elegant, ugly, human, anything but uninteresting. 

Throughout my career, I’ve championed the idea of design as a product rather than just a service for corporations. Commercial art is a better description of our work than graphic design because we create art for commerce. Art is the aesthetic, human, cultural part of design that makes it visually interesting and compelling. Our design approach first acknowledges the past, and uses that understanding to create a new path to the future. 

As Churchill said, “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” We’ve been extremely blessed to have been able to build on the shoulders of design giants who have gone before, and our goal is to continue to create work that is both timely and timeless, inspired by the entire history of modern print design. We believe that the recipe for good design begins with a heaping dose of giving a shit, topped off by hard work, skill, and craft, with a dash of humor and a sprinkle of compassion and humility (talent is also helpful). 

We believe that strategy is important, but we find that it works best when joined with artistic intuition, good ideas, and attention-getting visuals. We believe that a logo’s most valuable asset is the reputation of the company it represents, and that the most powerful aspect of a company’s brand is the truth. We believe that our job as designers is not just to create a brand or deliver a message, but to give that brand or message a tangible, inherent artistic value that connects on a visceral and visual level.”

To preorder your own copy of our Graphis Journal #371, visit graphis.com.

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