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I Wonder Hardcover – October 19, 2010

26 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October 19, 2010
$99.99 $57.42

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Editorial Reviews


“'I Wonder' is not only a source of inspiration, but also a beautiful work of art."
—HOW Magazine

"I Wonder
rises above the usual design book in the way Bantjes marries her text—a deeply considered set of essays on topics such as Wonder, Ornament, Honor, the Alphabet—with the shapes and patterns her imagination enters to reveal layers of meaning . . . the book is a testament to the artist/author’s belief in the ultimate democracy of the act of creation."
—Felt & Wire

"Turning the pages was an activity in joy . . . The book starts off with a bang and continues for quite some time."

"Marian Bantjes creates the most incredible, thoughtful, interesting, gorgeous lettering aside from writing compelling articles on design."

"‘I Wonder is covered with the intricate, luxurious ornament typical of Bantjes’ style and is full of amusing observations of the world, personal musings and how these things relate to the visual world around us."

"I Wonder is out now, packed full of decorative typographical delights . . . not only for those of the typographic pattern persuasion, but those who seek energy & surprise on the printed page."

"The black and gold cover is as compelling as the inside contents. The writings and artwork are interdependent and flow together to create a narrative that’s a delectable feast for the eyes, mind and heart."
—Pattern Pulp

"With the book's insistence on narrative, and focus on typography, the result combines the best of two worlds. It's a readable collection of smart, visually-intense short stories, and a design book that will likely never leave your coffee table."
—Fast Co Design

About the Author

Marian Bantjes is a typographic illustrator and graphic designer based on Bowen Island, near Vancouver. Acclaimed for its wit and originality, her work is included in major anthologies and international publications on typography and graphic design.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press; First Edition edition (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580932967
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580932967
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #914,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marian Bantjes is a designer, artist and writer working internationally from her base on a small island off the west coast of Canada, near Vancouver. Her highly personal, obsessive and sometimes strange graphic work has brought her international recognition. Her work has been featured in design magazines around the world and appears in numerous design compendiums.

'Pretty Pictures' is the only book of the complete works of Marian Bantjes from 2003-2013. At 26cm x 35cm and 272 full-colour pages, this compendium is packed with sketches, development and finished work, all with descriptions, anecdotes and amusing or ascerbic asides. The presentation is chronological and the construction is dynamic. Each spread has been carefully designed by Bantjes, not within a grid but mindful of structure and balance. Is the book mind-bogglingly too much? Yes, but that is, after all, the point. It allows many days - perhaps months - of perusal and ongoing surprise. A year in the making, it was published in September 2013 by Thames & Hudson / Metropolis Books.

'I Wonder' is an eclectic circus of original writing and ornamented illustration, conceived, authored, and designed by Bantjes over a period of 15 months, resulting in her best and most interesting work to date. It was published in October 2010 by Thames & Hudson / Monacelli.

Images of her work was published in a small 120-page book by Pyramyd (France), as part of their design&designer series.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D.Young on November 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I Wonder
By Marian Bantjes

Marian has incrusted her pages with decoration, linear curves married to straight lines, step-and-repeat patterns that mystify, tiny, multi-colored, and intricate, a synthesis as organic as lyrics and musical notes. Each page is a cornucopia of texture, and snuggled within are her words. Fresh, lucid, sage, and romantic that echo the decoration. Many words are light-hearted, some deeply personal, a few are set in a personal font, coded and decorative, titled "Secret," that are perhaps infused with romance (decoration in itself is a romantic idea). The chapter on the Griffth Park Observatory in Hollywood is a gem in the essence of the word. A jewelry collection whose existence is strange--in an observatory? One to rival the exquisite output of Julius Arthur Rosenberg. The chapter is worth the price of the book. Marian is a dear friend and rarely have I encountered written words that so accurately replicate an author's spoken voice. The book is beautiful and ideosyncratic, at first glance the binding appears to be simple, textured foil. A closer inspection reveals Marian's genius of densely varied curves that miraculously step-and-repeat, a baroque and subtle reminder that Marian's genius and kind, introspective heart is to be visited time, and time again.
--Doyald Young
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Janparker on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
While reading Marian Bantjes book I laughed and cried. I was provoked to think with my heart. For some chapters I needed a tissue, others, a dictionary. And I love that Marian is brave enough to cuss on the printed page. The texture, design and content is delicious and thoroughly entertaining.

I was grateful for the opportunity to look into another world and to be stretched. (I mean who thinks to critique the alphabet?) What a joy! My eyes darted from text to design and back again on every page, afraid I would miss something, as if it might disappear if I didn't understand it all at once. Lucky for me I could slow down as each page waited patiently for me to catch up, and read again. I was able to soak up the entire story and design before I continued all the while, knowing I will read it again, because there is more here than a first read can grasp.

Read this book with a notebook by your side, it is perfect food for rich conversations. Every chapter is a complete story and as much as I wanted to read it all in one sitting, it is better to savour this masterpiece. Like a piece of good chocolate, too much all at once would be opulent, but not obscene, after all I Wonder, By Marian Bantjes is the "good stuff".
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Harris Rouemy on October 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is like holding a miniature treasure chest in your hands. From its lustrous cloth cover, with gold and silver foil-stamping to the gilt-edged pages to the purple, satin bookmark to the carefully considered folios to the thoughtful prose to the intimate disclosures to the labyrinthine patterns that keep you entranced for a very long time - I Wonder inspires. If you want to witness awe from Shredded Wheat and granola, read a design analysis of the alphabet, meet people lost and found like Ronnie & Sheldy, experience the relationship between honour and pasta, learn about the galaxy through precious-stone encrusted jewelry, see a writer exquisitely express gratitude and so much more - buy I Wonder by Marian Bantjes. And enjoy every little detail.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By GildaGilda on October 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just got this in the mail today and have just started skimming it. Well, I've read "Memory 2" which might be the last chapter... it is collected notes of her mothers. I have found it to be interesting. So far I think of this book as a "Free to be You and Me" of design books. It is kind of a personal journal with interesting observations. The graphics are eye catching. I don't know really what I was expecting this book to be, but it met my expectations as far as graphic stimuli.

If you are the kind of person who sometimes starts journals of your life, enjoys thinking about the simple but wonderful moments of mundane life, or are inspired by illustrious graphics, this book may be for you.

If you are looking for a tale of fantasy and wild imagination, this might not be the book for you.

But I am happy with this purchase and will enjoy reading her thoughts as much as I will enjoy letting my eye wander across the shapes and colors of the pages.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Barb on February 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was purchased as a gift for a fellow graphic designer. I couldn't resist looking through it before wrapping it. WOW! Every page was a revelation of sorts. Although I immediately identified with her musings on typography and her beautiful and sometimes quite amusing adornments, I was really touched by some other sections. One of them was the pages of scribbled notes that her mom had written through the years, and then into dementia. Who wouldn't be fascinated by such personal and poignant momentos of a loved one? This book is a's the kind of roadmap of a psyche that I wish I could do for myself. Instead, I'll purchase my own copy, as well as a few for the truly special people in my life. Thank you, Marian for sharing this with us!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kelley B on May 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an incredible book. Not only is it visually stimulating, but it's thought provoking to anyone who struggles with the practical and economic needs of any project vs its visual potential. The idea of written words and the visual space around them is the central theme of the book. I understand why some people think these are just artistic ramblings, but once you get past the feeling of being lost in someone else's thoughts, it becomes apparent that these "ramblings" are examples of how the visual space around the words demonstrates what is being written. The section on the Stars is a lot more scientific explainations of stars than I ever wanted, but the photos of jewelry that was inspired by the stars described in the text creates a symbiotic relationship showing how the visual space around the writing truly enhances the subject matter. The section full of quotes debates what should and should not be decorated and to what extent. Rigthfully so, no conclusion is reached but shows the wide range of opposing opinions, each with its own validity. Overall, a beautiful book to awaken the senses and deepen our perception of what we are visually fed.
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