Marian Bantjes

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Marian Bantjes is a designer, typographer, writer and illustrator working internationally from her base on a small island off the west coast of Canada, near Vancouver. Bantjes has achieved international prominence as an individual with a recognisable personal signature that shines through all her work, from intensely commercial work for brands anxious to capture the decorative Zeitgeist, to equally intense personal gestures; from collaborations (with Stefan Sagmeister, Pentagram and other celebrated designers) to commissions for magazine and time-consuming pro bono projects.

She started working as a book typesetter in 1984 and opened her own design firm in 1994 employing up to 12 people. In 2003, she left all of that behind to begin an experiment in following love instead of money, by doing work that was highly personal. At the same time she began writing for the design weblog "Speak Up", and her cheeky but thoughtful articles soon gained her recognition in the blogosphere.

Marian’s art and design crosses boundaries of time, style and technology. She is known for her detailed and lovingly precise vector art, her obsessive hand work, her patterning and ornament. Often hired to create custom type for magazines, advertising and special projects, Marian’s work has an underlying structure and formality that frames its organic, fluid nature. It is these combinations and juxtapositions that draw the interest of such a wide variety of designers and typographers, from experienced formalists to young students.

Her 2010 book “I Wonder" is an exploration of the marriage of word and image, written and illuminated by herself throughout, it is alternately mysterious, thoughtful, personal and funny.

She also teaches typography through the Emily Carr Institute in Vancouver.


"I can remember scribbling on walls … probably when I was two or three. I remember a book with little drawings in the margins, one of which was of some beetles (and this is how I imagined The Beatles, as a band of beetles like the drawings in the book). When my mother died, I reclaimed a package of old drawings and writings, and was overjoyed to see them again." -Bantjes, on being asked what her earliest graphic memory was.

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