Illuminated Pixels

Written by Christian Schwartz on May 24, 2004

Marian Bantjes is a Vancouver-based designer and artist whose work with patterns is unlike anything else out there. (Anything contemporary that I’ve seen, anyway). Some of her work is painted (and another), some drawn by hand, some printed, and some silkscreened, but to my eye it all has a very consistent senibility, with a light touch and sense of humor hidden under its complexity. My favorite piece of hers is a lush set of titling caps drawn for Rick Valicenti’s Playground.

Christian Schwartz is a type designer, typography consultant, and co-founder of Commercial Type in New York City. He was awarded the prestigious Prix Charles Peignot in 2007 and his work has been selected many times as Typographica Favorites.


  1. nick shinn says:

    Is she working on a typeface?

  2. Hrant says:

    Very nice.
    Reminds me of Lee Schulz’s fonts.


  3. Armin says:

    Marian is also the creator of our Speak Up T-shirt. And an avid author too.

    Freakishly talented lady.

    Her Illuminations for Rick are some of the best design “things” ever. Glad she’s getting some props in the finest of typographic blogs.

  4. marian says:

    Aw shucks … thanks!

    Is she working on a typeface?

    In a manner of speaking, yes. I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say, but in collaboration with a friend … er, something will be … uh, coming soon to … umm … a place near you.

    I actually don’t have the knowledge to make a typeface on my own, but if I did, I would unleash something truly diabolical on the world.
    (She says.)

  5. Marian, will you marry me? I love your work, and I want to have your babies…

  6. It’s simply gorgeous stuff. I once said the Armin Vit was “bit by the rococo pixie“. Perhaps that bitmap goddess was Marian in spirit, now one of Speak Up‘s regulars.

    I also like her use of type on the calendar. Is that Joanna?

  7. marian says:

    Is that Joanna?

    Nope, Eureka & Eureka Sans.

  8. Armin says:

    > the Armin Vit

    That’s right Stephen: The Armin Vit. Look out The Donald sorry, unexpected typos like that tend to throw me into laughter fits.

    > Perhaps that bitmap goddess was Marian in spirit

    I think that’s what lured Marian in.

  9. I think once you’re interviewed by Emigre you’re entitled to have the definite article appended to your name.

  10. JonSel says:

    I think once you get into Emigre youre entitled to have the definite article appended to your name.

    Stop feeding the ego! Next thing you know, he’ll just be going by one name or initials. ;-)

    And back on topic, Marian’s work is, indeed, beautiful. The intricacy in her illustrations is mind-boggling and humbling. I also appreciate that she is upfront about her diabolical plans.

  11. Ricardo says:

    Marian, at the risk of inflating your ego, I too, think that your work is awesome, gorgeous, beautiful, mind-boggling and humbling… and very deserving of a Typographica post!

    Can’t wait to see that unmentionable something that is coming soon.


  12. John Hudson says:

    Hey, someone I know is famous on Typographica! Hi Marian.

    Im not sure how much Im allowed to say, but in collaboration with a friend er, something will be uh, coming soon to umm a place near you.

    I think you can say a bit more than that ;)

  13. marian says:

    unmentionable something
    I think you can say a bit more than that ;)

    Hi John!
    Yes, I can. Sorry .. it’s not my project — I mean it is, but it’s not, so I wasn’t sure, but I have permission to spill the beans.

    Earlier this year I worked up a set of ornaments for Ross Mills’ (Tiro Typeworks) Plantagenet Novus (one of my favourite fontsI use it all the time). And it is, if I do say so myself, bitchin’, complicated and um, just really, really great. (I think.)

    Ross has been working on refining the characters and building the font and he’s doing a beautiful job. So I brought the insanity, and he’s making them elegant.

    If you follow that link and wait for the scrolling type to reach the end you’ll see a couple of them–but there’s more, so much more.

    He has decided to release it as a stand-alone font, and I just … can’t wait!! (Is that too effusive and self-congratulatory for this forum? I hope not.)

    Thanks for all your kind words.

Post a Comment

Comments at Typographica are moderated and copyedited, just like newspaper “Letters to the Editor”. Abusive or off-topic comments are not published. We appreciate compliments, but don’t publish them unless they add to the dialog. Thank you!