Canadian designer Marian Bantjes began her career as a typesetter before creating a personal style that combines type and ornament.  This distinctive aesthetic has allowed her to cross boundaries between fine arts and design, illustration and typography.

This poster was produced to advertise the annual conference of the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA). It was printed in two version.  A small format letterpress piece was mailed out to announce the 2007 Seattle meeting of SOTA; a larger screenprinted version was sold individually. In this design, Bantjes plays with the contour of the three-dimensional letters to achieve a decorative, calligraphic effect.

Bantjes’ highly original approach has brought her international recognition.  At a 2010 Ted Talk, Marian Bantjes spoke eloquently about what drives her approach to visual communication. She said she enjoys figuring out things, using unusual materials, and experimenting with the interdependency of word and image. But most of all, she searches for the unexpected, incorporating wonder and surprise into each of her designs, as she has done in this poster, with its highly inventive color palette and playful typography.

This object is on view in the exhibition Making Design: Recent Acquisitions through May 2016.

Caitlin Condell is Assistant Curator of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

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