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I Wonder

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  184 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Quirky, poignant, astute, funny—this beautiful book presents a compelling collection of observations on visual culture and design, written and illuminated by world-renowned typographic illustrator Marian Bantjes. In Stefan Sagmeister's telling words, Bantjes's work is his  "favorite example of beauty facilitating the communication of meaning."
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Paul Bryant
This is an extremely pretty book which seduced me in Waterstones recently. I had to have it. And now I have read it. The gorgeous illuminations and settings for the text are the principal pleasures here, so take my tip & flick through it when next you visit a big bookshop. It will be on the design shelf, I think, all gold and sparkly. Inside it looks like this

As to what is ensconced within such industrial-strength gorgeousness, what we have is several
Nov 07, 2010 Eric rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge fan of Marian's work, and her main stage talk at the 2007 Denver AIGA National Conference was spellbinding and moving—the best of the weekend. As to be expected, her book is beautifully crafted and if you're looking for a keeper of a book object, this might be the pick of the year.

Ultimately, though, I found the actual content to be boring and dry. Much of it was familiar from discussions and other readings I encountered in both design and architecture school, so I can't criticize he
Pete Meyers
Jan 02, 2011 Pete Meyers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Breathtakingly intricate page design. This woman conveys as much through her hand crafted illustrations as she does via her prose. Her subject: her thoughts on an eclectic mishmash of design topics. An essential book for anyone looking for an example of when print books are superior to digital.
Mar 11, 2013 Mila rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favourite chapter was the jewelry of the stars, sun and moon. I also liked her musings about the alphabet itself, analyzing the design of each letter and to see the letters in their pure state she created letter forms using Illustrator. The pasta frames chapter was reminiscent of a childhood craft. Haven't we all glued dried pasta to something for an instant work of art? Her mother's to do lists got me thinking what my mother's to do lists would look like now, so many years after her death, o ...more
Jan 05, 2011 M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Completely, utterly thrilling. Totally embodies its thesis (minimalist modernism is great and all, but a very Puritan distrust of ornament has cut us off from any equal cultural appreciation of things like ornament and wonder that were all over the Middle Ages and Islamic art and numerous other traditions, and she'd like to see some push-back). Gold all over the place, a chapter of arabesques, an appreciation of heraldry as clearer and less whimsical than corporate logos, encrypted love letters, ...more
N.V. Binder
Dec 28, 2011 N.V. Binder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful book is a great addition to any typophile's shelf. The book includes several thoughtful (and thought-provoking) essays by designer Marian Bantjes, but the real draw here is the amazing (and inspiring) book design, typography and artwork. Clearly inspired by medieval illuminated books, each chapter includes large, intricate borders and attractive photography. Bantjes' uses everything from pasta to jewelry to "illuminate" her essays, and the book-as-object ends up telling as much of ...more
A beautiful and visually fascinating book of essays on graphic design, full of fanciful borders and illuminations created from everything from jewelry to pasta to Islamic-inspired patterns. The playfulness of the text typography made some of the essays difficult to read--in fact, I was not able to read the "Secrets" chapter, or couldn't be bothered to puzzle it out--and the essays themselves were of varying quality and interest. My visual favorites discussed and illustrated jewelry shaped like h ...more
Rachel Knickmeyer
Feb 02, 2014 Rachel Knickmeyer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, design
Obviously this is a gorgeous book to behold. Marian Bantjes is such a talented designer and typographer you could just sit and stare at the pages for days. Which is probably why I've been reading this book off and on for over a year and have only just finished it. The essays I enjoyed the most were the personal ones, particularly the notes on family photographs and the touching pieces about her mother's notebooks. I'm not sure how many new things I learned about design, but I do know I was inspi ...more
Mark Flanagan
Nov 05, 2010 Mark Flanagan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010, art, design
I’ve long been a fan of Marian Bantjes’ illustrations since I first discovered her work on the web (, so I was interested to see how she would fare in print. I WONDER is more a work of art than a book. [full review]
Nov 23, 2013 Marian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love having this book of black and glistening gold on my bookshelf. It is a mixture of essays and fantastic images of design and typography. My copy is signed by Marian for this Marian. I bought it at an AIGA event in NYC in 2010 where Bantjes spoke to a packed hall. I bought it initially as a gift but decided to gift it to myself and only share it with others.
Dec 30, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: work-and-design
Marian Bantjes haunts me. I don't know. I look at her work and I just wonder (ha) at how someone can be so brilliant and successful as a graphic artist, yet clearly uninfluenced by trend. Or at least not any trend that I'm aware of.
Sam Bowman
Aug 01, 2013 Sam Bowman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernadette Puleo
I most enjoyable excursion on the topic of typography and other things. Also a little tongue and cheek thrown in too. A beautifully printed book.
Stephanie Edwards
A nice casual read/picture book for artists/graphic designers with hearts.
Jan 05, 2011 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book - such a beautiful marriage of word and pattern, meaning and shape - and quirky, funny, profound - with secrets!! Some I never could decipher. A complete treasure.
Jun 12, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A post-modern illuminated manuscript, disturbingly rare, painfully essential.
Mar 30, 2011 Fredrika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
gorgeous and witty
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