Marian Bantjes is a designer, typographer, writer and illustrator working internationally from her base on Bowen Island, near Vancouver, BC. She was born in 1963 and grew up in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan but has spent the majority of her life on the west coast.
Her career spans four stages: she worked as a book typesetter from 1984–1994: she co-founded and ran a graphic design studio, Digitopolis, from 1994–2003; 2003–2022 she has worked on her own as a designer/artist/letterer (It is this latter work for which she has become internationally known); and finally she teaches online for Art Center in Pasadena, while doing some occasional design work and some personal art.
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. It along with several other pieces or her work, is included in the permanent collection of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.
Her work has also been collected by the Chicago Design Museum, Rhode Island School of Design, and her archives are destined for the Letterform Archive in San Francisco.
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, including at MUDAC in Lausanne, Switzerland, and has had work included in many other exhibits of design. She has lectured on her work at over 100 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.
Awarded Fellowship 2022