Mark Caneso Swashes Surfside


Originally from Southern California, Mark Caneso graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in 2004 and then started a hybrid business after school. He is currently living in Oahu, Hawaii and freelances with some agencies and has his own clients. He also runs a digital type lab—ps.Type—which offers custom type design and retail products.

How did you learn about typography? 

My introduction to typography began officially in college through the required courses at Otis. It became something I wanted to focus on during that time so I began to take as many electives in that area as I could as well as creating an independent studies class focused on developing an original typeface. Like most things, the real learning comes through doing, so I would spend a lot of my free time working on typefaces of my own.

Does living in Hawaii change your work at all?

Work? All I want to do is go to the beach now. But really, I wouldn’t say it changed the way I work but maybe what I've chosen to work on. My goal is that this move will offer me the ability to produce more. More self-initiated projects and releases for ps.Type that have taken a back seat over the past couple years to client work.

What projects have you been working on?

Recently, I’ve been commissioned by two agencies from London on a couple custom typefaces. One was a modification of my typeface Quatro and the other was to take a custom logo the agency had done and expand that into a full typeface for use in display settings.


I’ve made it a point to do more lettering in the past couple years and even more so in the past 3 months. One of these lettering projects was the phrase “Catch A Break.” I wanted to letter this saying for a couple reasons. First, it is the tagline for my wife and I’s side project. More on that in a minute…

But even more, it’s become a bit of a life message as well. I’ve been in situations in studio environments where the boss or higher ups think that if you are not sitting at your desk you are not working. Or that all creative work comes from being physically at work. I tend to disagree with this. I think inspiration can come when you are’t expecting it and when you aren’t forcing it. So the saying is meant convey the idea that we should all take time in our day to breathe, get outside, go grab a drink with a friend or chat with a colleague. Do something that is a break. When I decided to letter this I didn’t have a specific use for it in mind. I wanted to see how it turned out and then decide if I would screen print it or just post it to Instagram. Once it was done I realized it would look great on a shirt. But rather then print it myself I submitted it to Cotton Bureau. If you’re not familiar with Cotton Bureau it is a curated, crowd funded t-shirt community run by some very cool folks in Pennsylvania.


Another project that my wife and I are working on incorporates a couple other things we are fans of. Ice Cream and Coffee. We are starting Swell Cold Co.Op as a way to brand our little passions. We produce small batch ice cream and cold brew coffee. Currently we are working out the details but have done some packaging and design for the brand.

When I arrived in Hawaii, I wanted to get plugged into the design community so I went to a few AIGA Honolulu events. The first one was a type workshop TypeEd put on. The other was a launch party for the 6th issue of the magazine Abstract.

I didn’t know too much about the magazine but what I found out was that it was a collaboration publication created by Inkubator. It’s a chance for young designers to work with a seasoned designer to design an article. Each issue has a theme. While there, I got to meet lots of great people who were involved in making the magazine. They asked if I’d be interested in being a mentor, and I was able to work with the creative director to design the cover for the issue. It’s at the printers now and should be completed soon.


Thank you Mark! To view more of Mark's work, visit pprwrkstudio