I originally drew this typeface in 2015 for a documentary that revolved around how different cultures see death. I imagined a screen with the word “DEATH” that dramatically crowded the full frame with a striking photograph inside. The font had similarities to Royal Gothic, so I used that genre of early sans aesthetic as a source of inspiration.

I chose the name Yamantaka as the name of the font after the god Yamantaka. It essentially means “Destroyer of Death” which I love. The deity embodies the power to transform the destructive, aggressive aspects of the Shadow. Yamantaka practiced overcoming emotional and karmic obstacles, in particular the violence of anger and hatred.

My first drawing was highly irregular, and metrics and measuring were not used. Everything was based on mood and feeling. It was a beautiful mess. I feel like in the day of perfect fonts, irregular and unique fonts stand out more to me and are more memorable. They convey a special atmosphere, riding the lines of contemporary and historical. I prefer this kind of font because they feel more ‘creative’ to me and are normally more fun to use.

I was needing a wider typeface during the design and I started playing with expanding the characters and which drastically altered the appearance of the text. The horizontal tone helped give an air of abundance and grandeur, making brief text feel more substantial and memorable.

Michael Cina

Michael is an internationally recognized Creative Director and Artist who is currently leading a multi-disciplinary design studio, Cina Associates. His design portfolio includes many prominent Fortune 500 companies including Disney, Apple, American Express, ESPN, Pepsi, Coke, Hewlett Packard, and Microsoft. Over his career, he has applied and synthesized typography, branding, illustration, motion, web, music, photography, art and typefaces to produce an integrated approach to his design. Cina’s work is consistently featured in numerous publications, Emmy winner, Grammy nominee and he has spoken at many global design conferences about his unique vision for design.