Young Guns 21: Ryan Bugden

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Nov 01, 2023

Get to know the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21

After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.

Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.

Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!

Ryan Bugden
Type & Graphic Designer


Brooklyn, NY


Silver Spring, MD


What were your original impressions of the Young Guns competition, the award, and the community?

I’m not sure when I first learned about Young Guns. I think I just gradually noticed a lot of my talented colleagues were being recognized by this competition, and it started to pique my interest.

How did you end up designing type?

In high school, I did a lot of painting, and I made album covers for my own silly music. When I got into art school, I thought I’d continue to pursue painting more seriously, but I soon realized the graphic design major was more my speed. After that, I quickly learned the important role typography plays in graphic design. And when I came to terms with the fact that typefaces are made by people, type design became an obsession. I’ve been playing in the realm of type and graphic design ever since.

Congrats on the win! Why did you decide to enter this year?

I’m indeed at the end of entry window of age! For the past few years I’ve had the privilege of working on more independent projects, so I was curious to see how I’d do in the Young Guns competition.

You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were good enough to make the cut?

My work has improved at a faster rate in recent years, so I think all of my entries were from the last few years. The projects I entered, all in their own way, encapsulate how I feel about the relationship between typeface and graphic design.

How did you celebrate the news?

I was on a trip with my family, so we all had an excuse to celebrate together that night.

In what ways does your hometown inspire your creativity as an artist? What about your current city?

I used to think my hometown didn’t breed any creativity—that I harness a lot of creative energy from the people and pace in Brooklyn. Lately, I’m realizing I had a surplus of inventiveness growing up, largely out of sheer boredom. There’s a certain innocent creativity that arises when you have fewer distractions around you, and I’ve been craving more of that type of environment recently.

"There’s a certain innocent creativity that arises when you have fewer distractions around you, and I’ve been craving more of that type of environment recently."

Now that you’re a part of the Young Guns community, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?

Chloe Scheffe (YG17) Among the most talented designers I know, and she embodies calm.

Jump Jirakaweekul (YG20) His work is always a vibe, and he’s a pleasure to work with.

Hassan Rahim (YG14) Big fan. Taste in type. Pristine image-making.

If you could create a new Young Guns tradition, what would you want it to be and why?

One of my biggest regrets post-art-school was not collaborating more with my classmates in other majors. Maybe we should make a set of interdisciplinary exquisite-corpse projects each year.

Name a creative and professional dream project that you have yet to fulfill — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!

I would love to make a typeface for a compelling independent print publication or a museum identity.

This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033, both personally and professionally?

In the woods somewhere making stuff with my partner Michelle, popping into NYC every now and then.

Will we see you at the YG21 party in NYC in November?

Unfortunately, no, I’ll be out of town.



Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!

Get tickets! It's party time!

The class of Young Guns 21



Fire + Fragility: Zuzanna Rogatty's YG21 Cube Design
Young Guns 21: Max Amato
Young Guns 21: Justin Au
Young Guns 21: Tess Ayano







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