‘I’m so thrilled to welcome Stephen to Meanjin’, said Esther Anatolitis, Editor. ‘Stephen Banham is one of Australia’s most accomplished and impactful designers, known internationally for his rigorous approach to graphic design, as well as his deep commitment to articulating the cultural, social and political dimensions of typography. Throughout his career, he has consistently worked towards creating a distinctly Australian typographic language. This makes Stephen perfect for the journal where Australia’s finest writers set out their fiercest ambitions.’
Described as a ‘typographic evangelist’ by London’s Eye design journal, Stephen Banham is founder of Letterbox, a studio based in Melbourne. As a typographer, educator and writer centred on the social and cultural aspects of letterforms, his work is informed by research and engagement: he uses typography to tell stories through an array of materials and processes.
Recognised internationally, Stephen’s design work and writings have appeared in countless publications all over the world. He has spoken at global events from Barcelona to Beirut, New Zealand to New York. A board member of the International Society of Typographic Designers, Stephen holds both a PhD and a Master of Design (Research). Across three decades of practice, Stephen has written and produced more than 18 books. He is currently senior lecturer in typography at the RMIT University School of Design.
Stephen is the winner of numerous awards including the Premier’s Design Award, the Australian Book Design Association Best Book Cover of the Year, the Australian Publishers Association’s Best Book Cover of the Year, the Heritage Planning Award, and numerous Good Design Awards, Museums Australasia Multimedia and Publication Design Awards, and New York Type Directors Club Certificates of Excellence. In 2011 he was awarded a prestigious Creative Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria, and has appeared as a typographic expert witness in the Supreme and Federal Courts of Australia.
‘Working with Meanjin is an absolute privilege,’ said Stephen. ‘It requires both a micro perspective (the internal page styling) as well as a macro viewpoint (the bigger persona of the journal). It’s the kind of project that builds upon not only my design experience but also my lifelong interest in writing, words, ideas and language. So it’s a wonderful opportunity.’
‘Superb writing needs superb design—and superb design loves superb writing,’ said Esther. ‘While Meanjin has long championed Australia’s finest writing, we’ve also long made a significant contribution to Australian design culture.
‘Past designers such as Mary Callahan, Chase & Galley, Chong, Andrew Cunningham, Mark Davis, Jenny Grigg, John van Loon, Andrew Trevillian, and Josh Durham from Design By Committee (who remains part of the Meanjindesign family!), have gone on to create some of the most recognisable Australian design work—in print and online, as well on other platforms including games.’
Meanjin is where Australia’s literary culture sets out its fiercest ambitions. Quarterly in print and continuously online, each year Meanjin publishes new work by hundreds of Australian writers across all genres and forms. Founded in Brisbane in 1940, Meanjin moved to Melbourne in 1945 at the invitation of the University of Melbourne, and in 2008 moved to a new home within Melbourne University Publishing. Its independence is enshrined in a Charter of Editorial Independence.
Stephen’s first edition as designer is Meanjin 82.2 Winter 2023, published on 15 June.
IMAGE CREDIT: Photos of Stephen Banham by Nick Kriesler.