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Carbone Smolan Agency (CSA) is an independent design-led branding agency. Our vibrant company of strategic thinkers and designers has built an award-winning portfolio of international work that spans four decades.

 

Founded by two celebrated design visionaries, today CSA integrates design, content and technology to create differentiated brand strategy and design systems. Our clients rely on us for their most important challenges and together we deliver impressive results that are engaging and measurable.

Our Leadership

Ken Carbone

Founding Partner

Ken Carbone is a designer, artist, musician, author, and teacher. As Founding Partner of the Carbone Smolan Agency, he is among Americas most respected graphic designers, whose work is renowned for its balance of substance and style.

Ken has built a reputation for creating outstanding design programs for world-class clientele that includes W Hotels, Morgan Stanley, Christies, Tiffany & Co., Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Canon U.S.A., and celebrated institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, and the Musée du Louvre.

Ken is the author of The Virtuoso: Face to Face with 40 Extraordinary Talents. Its emphasis on human achievement in all walks of life reflects his wide-ranging curiosity. He is also the co-author of Dialog: What Makes a Great Design Partnership, which celebrates his 35-year collaboration with Leslie Smolan. Ken often speaks about the value of design in the corporate, consumer and cultural sectors. He is also a professor at the School of Visual Arts, and a blogger for Fast Company and Huffington Post.

Ken is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) and the AIGA. He received the 2014 AIGA Medal in recognition of his contributions to the field of design and visual communication. He has also been recognized by Print, Graphis, Idea, Communication Arts, ID, and the New York Art Directors Club.

Leslie Smolan

Founding Partner

Leslie Smolan is a strategist and designer known for her relentless pursuit of timeless beauty. As Founding Partner of the Carbone Smolan Agency, she applies the wisdom of her 40 years of experience to mentor clients on the power of strategic design to transform businesses.

Leslie has been internationally recognized for her distinct aesthetic and carefully nuanced detailing in brand identity, cross-platform marketing communications, and publishing projects, and has developed longstanding relationships with a roster of distinguished brands, including Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Canon. Recent projects include the graphic identities for two of Starwood Capitals newest international hotel brands, a branding and marketing campaign for Tropicalia, an ultra-luxury resort and residences in the Dominican Republic.

Leslie is the author of The Hat Book, which won every major design award including AIGA: The 50 Great Books Show, the Silver Medal from the Leipzig Book Show, and an International ANDY Award. Leslie curated and co-wrote “Dialog”: What Makes a Great Design Partnership with Ken Carbone, which celebrates their 35-year collaboration. She is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), a select group of international designers. Recognized by design associations around the world, Leslie received the AIGA Medal in 2014, in recognition of her contributions to the field of design and visual communication.

Paul Pierson

Managing Partner

Paul Pierson, Managing Partner at Carbone Smolan Agency, uses design as a platform to tell stories, engage audiences, and simplify the most complex messages. A believer that the most exciting design comes from sound strategy and new technology, he has built stunning physical and digital solutions for high-profile clients such as Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and W Hotels & Residences.

Paul recently worked with The Boston Consulting Group to reinvent their entire global photography system using user-generated content, in addition to overhauling BCG’s global recruiting brand. His work with law firm client Winston & Strawn received the Legal Marketing Association’s highest award “Best In Show” for their newly designed global website. His work has been featured in Communication Arts magazine, the Information Design Workbook, as well as the Rockport book, Interactive Design: An Introduction to the Theory and Application of User-Centered Design.

Paul is an avid photographer and has presented at PDN PhotoPlus Expo and Macworld. GDUSA magazine named him a Person to Watch, and served as a fellow for the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program on how to produce innovative journalism. 

David Mowers

Executive Director of Strategy

David Mowers is an expert at understanding people, brands, and how to bring the two together. At his best when there is a problem to solve and a story to tell, he brokers conversations that help people listen for the deeper truths that will lead to real change. He creates deeper engagement and infuses strategic thinking into projects for clients such as The Boston Consulting Group, Las Brisas Hotel Collection, and Credit Suisse.

With over two decades of experience as a professional theater, film, and television director, David is uniquely skilled at telling stories about a brand’s value and its impact on the world. He transitioned into branding after retraining himself as an organizational development expert and personal coach for creative professionals. He has deep expertise with leadership in marketing and banking, media, publishing, entertainment, law, investment banking, healthcare, and nonprofits.

At Carbone Smolan Agency, David leverages his rich background to develop workshops that enable our clients to problem solve in a new way, tapping into their creative energy to discover powerful solutions.   

Justin Peters

Executive Creative Director

Justin has been solving complex branding challenges for top-tier consumer brands, professional services companies, nonprofit organizations, and governments around the globe for over two decades. As CSA’s Executive Creative Director, he leverages deep understanding of global markets, geographies and cultures to breathe fresh and enduring life into brands of all shapes and sizes.

Justin is a legacy member of the CSA family. He began his career here 25 years ago and has grown into the creative leadership role for signature clients, including Assurant Health, Disney, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Sesame Workshop, and The White House Millennium Council. After 15 years at CSA, Justin moved on to travel the world, serving as Global Executive Creative Director for international branding agency, Siegel+Gale. He lived, worked, and spoke across the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, while leading engagements with Google/Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Ingersoll-Rand, Tata Group, Dubai Telecom, GE Real Estate, Aetna, and Rotary International.

In 2015, Justin returned home to CSA with a wealth of experience and an unshakable belief in the power of design to transform businesses, brand experiences, and people’s lives. Since his return, Justin has been integral in keeping CSA’s renowned creative work fresh and focused for clients new and old.

A native New Yorker, Justin is a lifelong member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and a design critic at Rhode Island School of Design and The University of the Arts. He has received multiple design awards, internationally and domestically, including the Presidential Design Award for his work with the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum.

Dave Weinberger

Executive Director of Engagement

A branding and identity expert, Dave Weinberger leads CSAs engagement team, which oversees all new business, marketing, and PR efforts.

Dave spent much of his career as a creative director and believes that design is a communication and problem-solving tool. Design can change behavior, moods, and relationships. Dave has directed and designed programs around the world for major corporations such as JPMorgan Chase, Marriott International, BP, Quintiles, General Motors, Western Union, and others. In 2015, Dave was featured in Design:Retail magazine's inaugural “40 under 40” list of design professionals impacting the retail industry.

A veteran of multiple global branding agencies, Daves work and writing have been featured in numerous publications, blogs, and books. He has won multiple creative awards and has been invited to speak for several universities and corporations, including the American Institute of Graphic Arts, CSP, and the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada.

Our Clients

Arts and Culture

Deeply invested in the arts, we proudly partner with esteemed cultural institutions.

Open Positions

It’s our culture that defines our work and our workplace. We are a group of thinkers who can’t help but analyze and explore. We open up and give our trust to clients and to each other. We sweat the details and go out and get it done. And it’s all because we love what we do. Our enthusiasm is what drives us. Does this sound like you? Our open positions are below.

Want to meet us?