The son of a painter and a special-education teacher, Eric grew up in lovely Baltimore, Maryland. During his formative years, he honed his skills by repeatedly drawing whatever struck his fancy, from the cover of Rubber Soul to Kitt from Knight Rider (which he could accurately render from multiple angles). After a brief and extremely unsuccessful stint as a journalism major, Eric enrolled in the Graphic Design program at Maryland Institute College of Art. There he studied under Ellen Lupton and Jennifer Phillips and developed an abiding love for all things typographic.
Upon graduation, Eric punched the clock at a number of well-known design and advertising firms (Pentagram, the Martin Agency, etc.), where he managed projects for a wide range of corporate and institutional clients. In 2013, he and Christine Coffey founded Karnes Coffey, which specializes in identity and branding. Eric also maintains a shadowy, unofficial poster design studio (erickarnes.com), which has not (and likely never will) turn a profit. As a counterpoint to his professional work, Eric has taught design and typography since 2006.
Erics work has been recognized by organizations and publications such as the American Institute of Graphic Arts, Society of Publication Designers, German Society for Book Arts, American Advertising Federation, Art Directors Club, Type Directors Club Communication Arts, Graphis, Print Magazine, and the Village Voice. In addition, his drawing of a puffin won the coveted blue ribbon at the 1995 Dumbarton Middle School art fair. Go DMS Lions!