As a freshman from Claremore, Oklahoma, Clay Turner switched from an engineering major to an art major to pursue an education in graphic design, before such a degree was offered at OSU. While still in school, he partnered with one of his professors in a local print shop and later joined OSU Educational Television as an art director.
Upon graduation, he began a career in illustration with a graphic arts studio in Tulsa. Within five years, he had secured national representation in New York City, working for clients like McDonald’s, Coors, Anheuser Busch and AT&T.
In 1986, he started his own graphic arts studio, The Turner Group, with representation in New York and San Francisco. In 1991, Turner joined ad agency Ackerman McQueen as a creative director, working on accounts such as Six Flags, Brunswick Bowling and the National Rifle Association.
For 19 years, Turner wrote, designed and illustrated America’s 1st Freedom magazine, an official journal of the NRA with 700,000 subscribers. He designed the NRA’s convention for 20 years, attracting nearly 90,000 members annually. In 2018 he redesigned the Basics of Pistol Shooting, the world’s best-selling firearms safety training manual, with over 200 pages and 300 images.