A FORMER homeless teenager has overcome the setback to launch his own graphic design and typography business which works with clients across the globe.

Twenty-three-year-old James Lewis, of Barry, became homeless, aged 16, after both his parents died before he was 12 years old,

But Mr Lewis has established his eponymous design company, and recently launched his first exclusive 3D font VERSA which has been bought by designers all over the world.

As a teenager, he used his creative flair as a coping mechanism for the adversities he faced growing up.

He turned his passion for typography and design into a successful business, boasting clients such as Red Bull, Wix, and stationary firms Manuscript Pen Company and Tombow.

He credits much of the turnaround in his life to Lynne Appleyard, of Barry Island, who he rented a room from aged 16 with government assistance, who encouraged him to think about his future ambitions.

He started experimenting with graphic design, creating logos and artwork for fun.

Mr Lewis built up a following of nearly 200,000 on his Instagram page (@jamesllewis) where he shares photos, video tutorials and updates on his creative career.

He also established The Ligature Collective, a Cardiff based collaborative branding agency, which brings brands to life through bespoke design – which has almost 270,000 followers on Instagram (@ligaturecollective).

His bold designs have been noticed across the world, and he has been invited to run workshops at global design expos and conferences in Tokyo, Milan, and Indonesia.

Next month he will embark on a four-date US tour where he will run lettering workshops in New York, San Francisco, Austin and Arkansas where he will also give a keynote speech at the Made by Few creative conference.

Mr Lewis said: “I’ve always used creativity as an outlet to take me away from the hardships in my life but having been built up by the encouragement I have received from a growing community on social media I started to have more belief in my capabilities.

“Early on at university I had to decide between taking an academic route or following my creative passions and of course my love of all things creative won.

“Although it probably wasn’t the easiest path to take, its one I find extremely fulfilling.”

Mr Lewis, a University of South Wales student, was financially supported via a bursary awarded to him by the Welsh Government.

His business grew with the support of Big Ideas Wales, part of the Business Wales service to encourage youth entrepreneurship in Wales.

He now has a permanent studio space at Cardiff’s Museum Place.