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Marian Bantjes

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Marian Bantjes
Designer Marian Bantjes at Pop!Tech 2008.
Born1963 (age 60–61)
Occupation(s)Typographer, Illustrator, Graphic Designer

Marian Bantjes (born 1963) is a Canadian designer, artist, illustrator, typographer and writer. Describing her work as graphic art,[1] Marian Bantjes is known for her custom lettering, intricate patterning and decorative style.[2] Inspired by illuminated manuscripts, Islamic calligraphy, Baroque ornamentation,[1] Marian Bantjes creates detailed work, often combining the forms of her disparate influences.[2]

Marian Bantjes has published two books.[3]


Born in 1963, Marian Bantjes grew up in Saskatchewan, Canada.[4] She studied art for a year in 1982, before dropping out.[1]

She started working in the field of visual communication in 1983 and worked as a book typesetter from 1984 to 1994 for Hartley & Marks.[5] She became well known as a talented graphic designer from 1994 to 2003, when she was a partner and senior designer at Digitopolis in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where she created identity and communication designs for a wide range of corporate, education and arts organizations.[6] She owned and ran the design firm, with a small staff.[7]

In 2003 Marian left her firm and "strategic design" behind to embark on the work that she has since become internationally known for. Describing herself as a graphic artist, working primarily with custom type and ornament, Bantjes' highly personal, obsessive and sometimes strange graphic work has brought her international recognition and fame as a world-class visual designer.[8] Bantjes is known for her detailed and lovingly precise vector art, obsessive hand work, patterning and highly ornamental style.

Stefan Sagmeister calls Bantjes "one of the most innovative typographers working today," and Noreen Morioka calls Bantjes "the Doyald Young of her generation." In 2005 Bantjes was named one of 25 up-and-coming Designers to Watch (STEP Magazine, January 2005).

Bantjes' clients include Pentagram, Stefan Sagmeister, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bruce Mau Design, Young & Rubicam Chicago, Anni Kuan, Houghton Mifflin, Print Magazine, Wallpaper* , WIRED, The Guardian (UK), The New York Times, among others. She has also worked on design materials for AIGA, TypeCon 2007, and the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC).

Her work has been featured in STEP, étapes (Paris), Azure, Matrix (Quebec) Tupigrafia (Brazil) and Print, Fontshop's Font 004, and Eye magazine (#58). She has written the design book "I wonder",[9] published by the Monacelli Press, which was dubbed one of the 13 best design books of 2010 by Fastco design.[10] Bantjes has been honored with numerous awards and her work is now part of the permanent collection at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.[11]

Bantjes is an accomplished writer on the subjects of typography and design, and was a regular contributor to the popular design website Speak Up. Speak Up is no longer in publication. Bantjes is frequently invited to sit on design award juries and speak at design conferences – such as Trimarchi in 2008[12] – and design schools around the world. Bantjes says "throwing your individuality into a project is heresy" but she has built a career doing just that, as her signature style is unmistakable.[13] In 2007 she released Restraint, a typeface that integrates her style of ornamentation to be used as shapes and borders.[14]

From 2002–2006 Bantjes served as the Communications VP of the Society of Graphic Designers in British Columbia. She was also the Chair and Creative Director of the 2006 Graphex Canadian design awards. In 2008 Bantjes was invited back to serve as a judge for 'Graphex 2008 Canadian National Design Awards'. Bantjes lives and works internationally from her base on Bowen Island off the west coast of Canada, near Vancouver, BC.[15]



  • Print’s Regional Design Annual, Certificate of Excellence, with Stefan Sagmeister for "The Vanity of Allegory". 2006.
  • Communication Arts, Award of Excellence, (as writer) with Pentagram for "The Alphabet." 2007.
  • Print’s Regional Design Annual, Certificate of Excellence, with Pentagram for "Yale School of Architecture, Seduction Poster". 2007.
  • 26th Annual Western Magazine Awards. For illustration "My Dear Can We Work Together" in Vancouver Review. 2008.
  • Type Directors’ Club tdc2. With Ross Mills for the font "Restraint". 2008.
  • Type Directors’ Club 54. For the TypeCon 2007 material. 2008.
  • Communication Arts Design Annual 2009. With Pentagram for Strathmore paper ream wrap.


  1. ^ a b c "Questions Answered - Marian Bantjes". Marian Bantjes. Archived from the original on 2018-03-11. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  2. ^ a b Heller, Steven. "Marian Bantjes, the Michelangelo of Custom Decorative Lettering". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  3. ^ "Books Archives - Marian Bantjes". Marian Bantjes. Archived from the original on 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  4. ^ "Eye Magazine | Feature | Reputations: Marian Bantjes". www.eyemagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2018-04-14. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  5. ^ Walters, John L.; Bantjes, Marian (Summer 2009). "Reputations: Marian Bantjes". Eye Magazine. Vol. 18, no. 72.
  6. ^ "Marian Bantjes background". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-07.
  7. ^ "DesignBoom". 14 December 2005. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  8. ^ 'Designweek' Archived 2011-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Bantjes, Marian (2010). I wonder (1st American ed.). New York: Monacelli Press. ISBN 978-1580932967.
  10. ^ "13 of the best design books of 2010". Archived from the original on 2011-02-26. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  11. ^ 'Seduction Offset lithograph on white wove paper Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution'
  12. ^ "Conferencias Pasadas - TMDG". TMDG 2016 (in European Spanish). Archived from the original on 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
  13. ^ "Ted Talk: Intricate beauty by design". Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  14. ^ "Cooper-Hewitt, New:Type Restraint". Archived from the original on 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  15. ^ bantjes.com Archived 2011-03-05 at the Wayback Machine

Further reading[edit]

  • Telford, Anne. "Marian Bantjes: Designing a Life". Communication Arts. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02.
  • Bantjes, Marian, Rick Poynor, and Marian Bantjes. Marian Bantjes: Pretty Pictures. New York, NY: Metropolis Books, 2013.
  • Bantjes, Marian. I Wonder. London: Thames & Hudson, 2010.
  • "Marian Bantjes." IdN (2012): 107–9.

External links[edit]