Designer of the Week: Mark Caneso

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Justin Ahrens challenges common ideas of what design success is and discusses how it is achieved by other means. This eye-opening video will broaden design’s potential for self-gratification and improving the world.

Meet Print’s latest Designer of the Week, Mark Caneso, whose work is sure to give you some typography inspiration and satisfy your eye-candy cravings for cool logo design and food packaging design.


Name: Mark Caneso

Name of Firm/Studio: pprwrk studio / ps.type

Location: Oahu, HI—transplanted via So.Cal

Website: Graphic Design: / Digital Type Foundry:

How would you describe your work?I try not to lean too heavy on a specific style. I think my best work is always grounded in an idea and that the decisions I make during the design process are made to enhance that idea.

As a whole I think my work tends to be typography forward. What I meaning by this is I am more likely to create a visually typographic solution to a problem then a photographic one.


Type specimen for one of Caneso’s typefaces


Design school attended:I graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA.

Where do you find inspiration?I find the inspiration to create from others that are creating. It’s awesome to see people doing the things they love. In this way inspiration is a fuel, a drive. So perusing Instagram or various design blogs is a daily way to light a fire under my butt.


Keep your mind open and you can find inspiration in just about anything. There are times when inspiration is just not gonna reveal itself and you have to battle through it. In those times I like to search for the “what if” of a project. “What if” can lead to some unexpected results.

Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?Hard to name only a few. Some current favorites are the lettering from Sergey Shapiro, the brand/identity work of Heydays and Manual. The type design coming out of Commercial Type is some top-notch stuff.

Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?A recent favorite would have to be the cold brew bottles I design for Swell Cold Co.Op. Swell is a passion project my wife and I started as a way to share two of our favorite things—ice cream and coffee.

Currently we are working out the details but have finalized this part of the packaging and design for the brand.


Bottle design for Swell Cold Brew

Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?The biggest challenge would have to be a book I started working on with a photographer a few years ago. I don’t want to go into too much detail about it, but let’s just say long delays and a lack of communication from both sides ended up killing the project. Looking back now I could have handled the situation differently. It has taught me the importance of keeping an open dialogue with your client and if problems or delays begin to arise address them and figure out a game plan or solution.


What do you hope to accomplish in the future?I’d like to focus more on growing my retail type offerings through ps.type. I have some fonts in development and look forward to pushing those along. I would also like to do more custom type & lettering work.

I got a couple commissions this year for custom type and enjoyed those collaborations. I am also working to launch Decoy Type Co. This will be a boutique font distributor for select designers. It will give those who are not interested in setting up their own foundry an avenue to get their work out.


Custom logotype for Decoy Type Co.

What’s your best advice for designers today?My best advice is don’t listen to me. … I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Who does? All I know is I have to keep creating.

I have to constantly have side projects and side projects on the side of those projects. Who knows where any of it will go, but that’s the fun part. Don’t sit around waiting for things to happen. Make shit happen.

Caneso_M_Fight_628; typography design; typography inspiration

My losing battle in a Type Fight

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset; lettering

Lettering – Catch a Break – printed by Cotton Bureau

Coffee; lettering

Lettering – Part of a cover design for Abstract Magazine’s Coffee Is


8ft foam letters floating at the pool of Caneso’s wedding reception.

OMAG_Covers1; magazine covers

Various cover designs for the Otis College Alumni Magazine.


Designed and 2-color hand pulled screen prints used as placemats at Caneso’s wedding

Radiculous; lettering

Lettering – Waterjet cut PE foam created for the group exhibition The Gods Who Eat Mountains

Ratio_specs_628; typography inspiration

Type Specimen for one of Caneso’s typefaces

Ruckus_628; lettering

Lettering – Self initiated

Runda_SpecsBook; typography design

Type Specimen for one of Caneso’s typefaces

SelfRef_Poster; poster design

Hand-lettered and hand-pulled screen printed poster

Yeahmbigram_628; lettering

Lettering; flip it 180—its an ambigram—created for the group exhibition The Gods Who Eat Mountains.


Thinking of entering the 2015 RDA? Here are two reasons why you should:

“Print is one of the most influential publications in our industry; having the opportunity to even be considered for inclusion in the RDA is a no-brainer.” 2e Creative

“We are proud to be able to talk about our Print RDA award on our website and in social media. We hope that it will boost our studio’s recognition within the design community. We also think potential clients view award-winning design studios as a valuable partner that can potentially produce award-winning work for them too.” —Jen Thomas, The Beauty Shop