A few months ago I decided I wanted to write about an artist who has influenced the field of graphic design and given us artists a name. That man was Chip Kidd. Today, I want to talk about a woman who continues to do the same, albeit in a much different way: Marian Bantjes.

Who is Marian Bantjes?

Marian Bantjes is a typographical artist who lives near Vancouver, Canada. She previously worked as a book typesetter before opening her own graphic design studio for a few years. Now, she works doing freelance typography for clients who are primarily artists themselves.

Why does she matter?

Marian Bantjes is hugely influential in the graphic design community for her work on intricate typography. Rather than simply creating fonts or finding new ways to manipulate them, Marian became influenced by the natural world and styles of centuries past to create words and phrases made out of objects and designs. Although this is the style she is most known for, Marian is also talented with traditional typographic work.

Marian’s work has opened many doors for her internationally. She has designed magazine covers for GQ Italia, Wallpaper, and The New York Times’ “The Year In Poetry” cover. However, Marian does not let her work go to her head, as evidenced by her cheeky remarks throughout her website. The more you read about her, the more you realize that she is a normal person who happens to produce great designs.

What can I learn from Marian Bantjes?

Artists have a great deal to learn from Marian. Although she has completed some amazing projects, she still critiques herself. Artists should keep in mind that there is always room to grow and the best way to grow is to practice constantly.

It is also important to find your own style and not rely on others. Marian describes the difference between inspiration, influence, and reference material on her site, and is not a fan of referencing other artists’ work for her projects. New artists in particular should consider how their artistic style is unique and focus less on replicating other great artists. This also applies to Marian’s stance on thinking for yourself and formulating ideas, rather than copying what others tell you.

Although she may not be as widely known to the world as other artists, Marian Bantjes has provided us with intricate artwork and new ideas of what language looks like. I encourage every artist, old and young, to learn more about her and incorporate her carefree spirit into your everyday life.