David E. Carter Biography

David worked his way through the University of Kentucky, earning a degree in advertising. After working for a year in advertising, he then received an assistantship at Ohio University's renowned School of Journalism. Not long after receiving his master's degree, he started a one-man ad agency in his home town of Ashland, Kentucky.

Books: While still in his 20s, Carter self-published his first logo book.  He continued producing books over a 35-year period, and today, more than 110 books have Carter’s name on the cover. The full list is on the BOOKS page of this site.

Advertising:  Carter had been advised, "if you want to be in advertising, go to the big city.” He ignored that advice, and his agency was soon accepted into the AAAA (American Association of Advertising Agencies.) Carter won his first Clio Award in 1980. (He would go on to be honored by the Clios ten times.) His Kentucky-based agency grew, and his client list soon expanded geographically. By the early 1980s, he had clients in places such as Miami, San Diego and Anchorage.

Creative competitions: Early in his career, David saw an unmet need -- for a national competition for non-network TV commercials.  He founded the Telly Awards in 1980, and the competition grew into one of the largest and most respected awards shows for TV and video productions. He also founded American Corporate Identity, and in the mid-1990s, he acquired the Creativity Annual from Art Direction Book Company of New York City.

TV Production: He founded a TV production company in 1982, and eventually wrote and produced more than 700 TV commercials, many for clients in locations as diverse as Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco. But it was his work in TV programming that got him national recognition. His creative productions wound up on PBS stations all over the United States. His documentary about the Mickey Mantle Fantasy Baseball Camp (which Carter founded) earned him his first Emmy Award. Another baseball-related program, The Long Summers of Lou Dials, about a Negro League star, earned him two more Emmys.  But his most visible output was yet to come. Beginning in 1988, his company produced more than a dozen comedy sketches for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Overall, he received 7 Emmy Awards for his TV work.

Branding Consulting: In 1990, Carter left advertising and TV simply because "I was burned out."  He went from an ad agency with 20+ people, to a much smaller

office of four. He soon saw opportunities in the emerging Asian market, and established a major presence there as a corporate identity consultant, with affiliate offices in Bangkok and Jakarta, creating brand images for many large Asian companies. In addition, he also had an affiliate office in Caracas, Venezuela.

Education: Carter returned to the classroom in the 1990s. He received an MBA from Syracuse University in 1995, and immediately afterwards he applied for the Owner-President Management program at the Harvard Business School. He graduated from the 3-year OPM program at Harvard in 1998.

Slowing down: In 2003, Carter went through a transitory time in his life. Over the years, he had started a dozen companies, and was still running several of them.  In 2003, he sold his largest business, The Telly Awards, to a New York investment company.  Soon afterwards, he made the move to Florida, to re-focus, and "enjoy the endless summer.”

In October of 2005, Ohio University established the David E. Carter Creativity Center & Museum on the school’s Southern Campus in Ironton, just across the Ohio River from David’s home town. 

Documentaries: In 2008, David took a sabbatical from book publishing, and he soon re-discovered film making.  His love of baseball prompted him to produce a documentary titled Ashland’s Field of Dreams, which had its premiere before a theater audience of 1,200 in his home town, and then ran statewide on Kentucky Educational Television. To see more of Carter's television documentary work, go to  www.SanibelFilms.com. To see the humorous side of Carter’s films, go to the www.SanibelFilmSchool.com web site.


In October of 2010, his baseball film, Dear Baseball: I Love You, was shown at the 5th Annual Baseball Film Festival at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. You can see that baseball film on the Sanibel Films website. In September of 2016, his flm Ashland's Field of Dreams was shown at the 10th Annual Baseball Film Festival in Cooperstown.

He is still very active in his so-called retirement, riding his bicycle around the island several times a week. He still plays a creative role in an internet company that he co-founded in 1999, and launched www.Sanibel-Captiva.tv in the summer of 2013. His recent documentaries, Growing Up on Sanibel, Seven Sanibel Artists, Sanibel Before the Causeway, and Postcards & Photos from Sanibel were big hits, and he currently has two more documentaries in process.