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. She is a member of Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), and regularly speaks about her work and thoughts at conferences and events worldwide.
Her career spans 3 stages: she worked as a book typesetter from 1984–1994: she co-founded and ran a graphic design studio, Digitopolis, from 1994–2003; and since 2003 she has worked on her own as a designer/artist/letterer. It is this latter work for which she has become internationally known.
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. 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 (published by Thames & Hudson, 2010) is an exploration of the marriage of word and image, written and illuminated by herself throughout, it is alternately mysterious, thoughtful, personal and funny. It was shortlisted for the British Design of the Year award in 2011, and along with several other pieces or her work, is included in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.
Much of Marian’s work has been published in well over 100 books and magazines around the world, including IDEA (Japan), Eye (UK), Wallpaper, Creative Review (UK), Azure (Canada), Communication Arts (USA), Print (USA), DPI (Taiwan), Concept (Indonesia), +81 (Japan), 2+3D (Poland), Form (Germany), D2B (Brazil), Design Indaba (South Africa) and étapes (Paris).
She does not enter awards, but she has judged for many of them, including D&AD (UK), TDC (NY) and ADC (NY). She has had several solo exhibitions of her work and has had work included in many other exhibits of design. She has lectured on her work at many conferences and events worldwide since 2006. In 2010 she spoke at the renowned TED Conference in Long Beach, California. In 2008, she was accepted as a member of the prestigious international design organization, Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), and in 2010 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Emily Carr University in Vancouver, Canada.
An extensive monograph of her work, Pretty Pictures was published by Thames & Hudson in the fall of 2013, to critical acclaim, and was named one of the best 20 art books in the past 20 years by BookForum.
Photo by Mark Mushet © 2017