About Charles Spencer Anderson (CSA Designs)

ImageWhen choosing a graphic designer to study, I wanted to research someone whose style closely reflected my personal interests. I am said to have an “old soul”. I have a deep passion for the art and cultures from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. That time of projected innocence, close families, and charming tastes of clothing, and so much more. Even the classy way people of those eras kept their home furnishing is intriguing to me.

Charles Spencer Anderson graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in 1981 for Graphic Design. His studio consists of pure pop culture art, or “Pop Art”. Anderson designed the Paramount Pictures and Turner Classic Movies logos, along with some Target and Nike logos, to include a few. He also helped design packaging for several things including toys, beer, and soap. Anderson’s biggest and most long-term client has been French Paper Company, in Michigan, since 1985. Jerry French and Charles S. Anderson has had one of the lengthiest client/designer relationships in graphic design history. Charles Spencer Anderson’s wife actually helped design some of the soap packaging – the ones with the women silhouettes.

ImageAnother aspect of Anderson’s work I admire is the simplicity of his cartoon figures and logos using small color pallets.

His designs were inspired by the 1960’s and 1970’s comic books and monster magazines. He looked to the past to get inspiration, as well – using minimalistic shapes (see icons to the left).

For today’s designers we would think that using Adobe Illustrator would be the answer to making such unique and awesome designs, but Anderson drew these by hand, originally. This should keep fresh in our minds as to why sketches and drawing is so important to the steps of graphic design! Sketch, sketch, sketch! Always draw and write down your ideas.

Anderson lives for design daily. He loves it so much that he has shared much of his work and has made it royalty-free for others to use: http://www.csaimages.com/Index.asp.

Anderson established CSA Design in 1989. His design team specializes in corporate identity design, packaging design, and product design. One unique concept he developed over several years was “Plastock” (see plates below) – he collected 100,000 plastic things from antique dealers, yard sales, flea markets, and collectors from around the world. The CSA Design team refurbished each item, painting them by hand and making repairs. Each item was photographed on a gray background so that the background colors could be easily manipulated later. After each item was photographed they were touched-up using Photoshop, making each image easy to alter colors and elements for clients. It took over a decade to photograph each piece.

ImageThe works of Charles S. Anderson Design Company are – for me – emotionally overwhelming. To see such … retro, iconic, and timeless works is simply inspiring to my creative soul! Anderson took such simple things and made them look amazing. He has had such an impact on the design world, whether anyone is aware of it or not. The icons (see “images” link below) he has created, along with the schematic works, directly and instantly remind the viewer of all government signage and informatory pamphlets.

Simple icons and schematics are only one small chunk of the type of works CSA Design Company does. CSA has print stock, patterns, boarders, dingbats, ornaments, lettering/typography, and tons of stock photography.

Once again – the amount of work, and the oldie-style, really brings about an amazing desire for more! My creative soul cries out for more. I never felt so strongly a desire to see … more art. It is intense! If I could, I would love to personally thank Charles S. Anderson for inspiring the world of design.


Sources: 30 September 2013


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