Marian Bantjes is a Canadian Graphic Designer. Actually, she now calls herself a Graphic Artist, having moved on, she says from the creatively limiting sphere of Graphic Design to something that allows her to put more of herself—her ego—into whatever she makes for clients.
In this way, she’s a lot like Irma Boom, another favourite designer of books.
I Wonder is a beautiful book inside and out. It’s hardcover. The black silk is embossed with gold—and the page edges are gilded. The beautifully lettered title is embossed silver. Every page is gorgeous and rich in its visuals and the various essays and ponderings (mostly blog posts, apparently) are thoughtful and thought provoking.
I learned about this book during my time at NBCCD, studying Graphic Design. It was brought up as an example of successful Canadian designers, or typographical art, or maybe the use of patterns. I can’t remember if my instructor owned a copy that he showed to the class, or if he showed us slides. What happened was that I immediately went out and ordered the book. There was pretty much no way to live without it.
Bantjes’ work is detailed—really detailed, and that’s part of what attracts me to it. The pages are loaded with things to look at all around the text. The patterns she makes are intricate and tight. They don’t just vary, they vary hugely from one end of the book to the other—from one page to the other. And she leaves no page untouched by design.
Never mind reading it (although it is interesting) this book is amazing just to flip through looking at pictures. It’s even good to just hold, with its lovely cover and comforting weight in the hand.
Bantjes waxes poetic on I Wonder here:
She calls it her masterpiece. I guess that may be, but I’m rather hoping she’ll make another stab at striking wonder.
A little note about my copy:
I notice that my copy of this book has a break in her cover pattern at the bottom of the front cover where “The Monacelli Press” name appears. Interesting.