building
about

Established in 1989, Charles S. Anderson Design specializes in identity development, packaging, and product design, and is among the world’s most influential design firms. Unlike other design firms, however, in addition to their highly-recognized client work, CSA Design is unique in creating what has become one of the most extensive and well-respected archives of licensable artwork in existence. Painstakingly created over many decades, the CSA Images collection is a digital museum of art for commerce…a vast and ever-expanding resource of illustration inspired by the entire visual history of art, design, and typography.

Charles S. Anderson Design Company’s work has been exhibited in museums worldwide including The Permanent Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Nouveau Salon des Cent—Centre Pompidou, Paris; The Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; The Library of Congress Permanent Collection, Washington D.C.; The Museum Für Gestaltung, Zürich; The Museum Für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; The Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; The Museum of Modern Art, Hiroshima; and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai.

The firm’s work has also been featured in numerous prominent publications including The New York Times, In Style, Dwell, Fortune, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Time, Forbes, Entertainment Weekly, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, GQ, The LA Times, and ReadyMade, among others.

CSA Design has been awarded top honors in every major design competition, including multiple gold pencils from The One Show and multiple gold and silver awards from the New York Art Directors Club.




timeline

In 1989, Charles S. Anderson Design was founded with a single client – The French Paper Company. While the firm has worked with many wonderful clients since, their partnership with French has endured as one of the longest-running, most prolific and internationally recognized client/designer relationships in the history of graphic design.

In 1995, the firm launched CSA Images with their first collection of illustrations; indexed, categorized and available for licensing. The CSA Images collection originated in the 1970’s and is now one of the world’s most comprehensive, tightly-edited and highly-awarded archives of graphic illustrations, modern icons and design elements available. CSA Images licenses unique visual content worldwide to designers, art directors, retailers and manufacturers for use across a number of different media types including print, online, products, mobile and TV.

In 2003, CSA Design was selected to participate in the Design Triennial at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The Triennial Exhibit is an overview of the best contemporary architecture, fashion design, graphic design, and industrial design in America.

In 2006, CSA Design launched the Pop Ink brand of licensed products, including paper products and objects d’art, in collaboration with French Paper. Pop Ink products are backed by the extensive CSA Images library and printed on French Paper, establishing a retail paper product line for French.

In 2007, Charles S. Anderson Design Company’s work was again included in the Design Triennial at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.

2011 marks the 25th year that Charles S. Anderson has worked with the French Paper Company, and the 140th Anniversary of French Paper.

2011-2012, CSA Design company's Pop Ink products are featured in the Walker Art Center / Cooper Hewitt international exhibition Graphic Design: Now In Production, the Walker's largest museum design exhibition in 22 years.

2013- STA Honorary Lifetime Membership Charles S. Anderson received the Society of Typographic Arts Honorary Lifetime Membership Award.

2014- AIGA Medal Charles S. Anderson received the American Institute of Graphic Arts Centennial Year Medal. The highest honor for exceptional achievement in the field of design.




philosophy

Our design is based on our impressions of the world around us – pieces of culture; sometimes popular, sometimes obscure. We turn those observations into a visual vocabulary that can be used to transform an impersonal product, concept, or entity into an approachable, accessible image with a distinctly human quality. One that is equally at home on the printed page, the store shelf, or the digital realm.

In society's relentless push for modernism, it is possible to lose sight of the joy, the memories, the familiarity, the desire. When the human element is removed from the design process, it can create a situation where all brands become indistinguishable.  We see a different modernism in design evolving. One not based on antiseptic minimalism and an absence of humanity, but one that is rich in cultural vocabulary and personal expression. A design philosophy and approach that first acknowledges where we came from and uses that understanding to create a new path to the future.

While we believe that strategy is important, we find that research works best when partnered with artistic intuition and put to use in marketing comprised of good ideas and attention-getting art. Our job as designers is not just to create a brand or deliver a message, but to give that brand or message a tangible and inherent artistic value that connects on a visceral, as well as visual, level.

Ultimately, in order to communicate a design must first be noticed. It should stand out and be unique, compelling, interesting, funny, strange…anything except boring, predictable, and just like everything else. The artistic quality of the finished piece is always our priority. Because unlike those who focus a little too heavily on the "commercial" in commercial art, we have no desire to be the biggest or the richest. We would, however, like to be the best.

"Design is a matter of intuition tempered with common sense." -Paul Rand

"The further backward you can look, the further forward you are likely to see." -Churchill




quotes

Steven Heller of the New York Times and prolific design author and historian, wrote, "Charles Anderson is a formalist, stylist, and entrepreneur who over the past twenty-five years—one generation—has made invaluable contributions to design and has produced design that represents the highest values of art and commerce. Moreover, he’s spawned a generation of strong designers. One can see his influence on designers who wed the past and present into contemporary stylistic manifestations. He has a personality and character to his work that is unique to him. If we measure our AIGA lifetime achievement medalists by the breadth of their shoulders, I think many stand on his without breaking his back."

Ellen Lupton, chief curator of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York, wrote, “CSA Images, created by Charles S. Anderson Design Company, is fresh and witty, drawing on numerous twentieth-century commercial art styles, mixed with contemporary illustration approaches.”

The late Ikko Tanaka, one of Japan's founding modernist designers wrote, "Anderson Design has succeeded in creating a fashionable, alluring and widely admired style of graphic design that is truly American."

The late Philip B. Meggs, Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, wrote, “I am delighted that you are going to make screen designs from the CSA website available for reproduction in the revised edition of A History of Graphic Design. This will permit documentation of the more recent evolution of your work, while showing the involvement in web design, product design, and the new form and color approaches. My efforts, as a design educator, to document the evolution of the graphic design field have only been possible as a result of the generous help of the pathfinders who created the history. Thank you very much for helping with this effort!”




awards and honors

AIGA Medal Charles S. Anderson received the American Institute of Graphic Arts Centennial Year Medal. The highest honor for exceptional achievement in the field of design.

STA Honorary Lifetime Membership Charles S. Anderson received the Society of Typographic Arts Honorary Lifetime Membership Award.

MCAD Alumni Achievement Charles S. Anderson received the Minneapolis College of Art and Design Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award.

UCDA Honorary Lifetime Membership Charles S. Anderson received the University College Designers Association Honorary Lifetime Membership.

AGI Alliance Graphique Internationale. (past member)