People to Watch in 2011
ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL & SENIOR DESIGNER
CARBONE SMOLAN AGENCY
Paul Pierson’s keen sense of logic, sensitivity to client needs and ability to create the “natural” design across platforms for a product or service makes him one of Carbone Smolan Agency’s most versatile designers. He focuses on restructuring complex communication systems for worldwide organizations by determining their core message, simplifying their design strategy, and applying it to a range of materials from logos and print to the web and interactive media. During CSA’s rebranding for investment firm Morgan Stanley, for example, Pierson led the creative process from designing the new identity and applying it to an entire brand strategy to developing a system for how Morgan Stanley's financial advisors can communicate and interact with their clients more effectively. Most recently, he led the CSA team in an overhaul of the website for top American law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Before his cum laude graduation from Brown University, Pierson completed a core design curriculum at the Rhode Island School of Design. His double major in psychology and philosophy, combined with fondness for poker, epitomizes what Pierson describes as a “managed risk” approach to design.
Where were you born, where do you live, did this effect your design style or sensibilities?
I grew up in New Jersey, and while it's just reaching the public view now, we learn at an early age about our shore-faring culture and the daily routine of GTL: Gym, Tan, Learn-about-the-skills-and-techniques-of-graphic-design.
If you were not a designer, what would you do?
In Middle School, well before the App store, I was rocking the AOL top downloads list with some sweet HyperCard stacks. I enjoyed pressing the limits of this simple programming language and the tiny rush I’d get when fixing that annoying bug. So I would be a HyperCard developer selling wares on AOL.
What advice would you give a design student or young professional just starting out?
Four things: Work hard (it’s the simplest thing to do well), stay positive (it's way more fun that way), don’t blame your clients (it’s their fault less than we think), and challenge yourself to get better every year (even if people are saying you’re great).
As a kid I’d say blue, but now I can’t stand that color.
Georgia (because it makes web type not suck)
Favorite TV Shows?
The Colbert Report
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Favorite Fine Artists?
Tie: iPad & Canon 7D
New Year’s Resolution?
Get off Facebook and talk to humans