208 pages / Hard cover 15.5 cm × 24cm (approx. 6 × 9½ inches) Printed in full colour plus gold throughout. List price: £19.95 / $40
Published in the UK by Thames & Hudson, ISBN 978-0-500-51529-7 Published in the USA by The Monacelli Press, ISBN 978-1580932967
This book is my masterpiece. I spent 15 months between 2009–2010 writing, illustrating and designing it. It’s a gorgeous hardcover, with gold and silver foils on a satin cloth, with gilded page edges. It’s printed in 5 colours throughout (mostly CMYK + Gold) on a coated stock. At a smallish size, it is a book meant for holding and reading, curled up in your favourite chair.
Every single illustration is new, created for the book, and the content is not about my work (i.e. not a monograph), but instead combines graphic art with the written word, and lends my own contemplative but frequently amused voice to my observations of the world.
Some of the articles were originally published as blog posts for the now-archived blog Speak Up, but they have been resurrected, edited, rewritten and given new life in these pages. Those quirkier writings are interspersed between more philosophical musings on the nature of Wonder and Honour and Memory as they pertain to graphics and the visual world around us.
As a book experience, the relationship between the content and the graphics is very important. They are totally interdependent and neither the articles nor the graphics can live without the other.
The book is in many ways eclectic, with a variety of forms and moods, represented in an abundance of typefaces and graphic styles. But, much in the way of one of my favourite films, the documentary “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” by Errol Morris, this disparity picks up threads one from another as it progresses, and starts to weave together in a unified whole.
Ultimately the range of thoughts, personal history and hare-brained ideas come together. To the eyes, it is a feast for visual gluttons, but as those who are familiar with my work will already know, there is food for the mind and the heart as well.
While the book will be enjoyed by designers and our ilk, it also has a broad range of appeal. The thoughts and experiences within are largely universal, and at times very personal. Buy one for your mother! Your nephew! Your boyfriend!
“…I am compelled to write about “I Wonder” with as much flourish as is graphically demonstrated on page after page; I find the book that engaging. […] Bantjes’s deceptively compact trove of visual riches, whose floriated cover design is printed in gold and silver metallic inks, with gilt-edged pages that suggest a venerable religious document, is packed with as many stylistic variations as are possible by one author/artist/designer in 192 pages. And it is a wondrous, if breathless, display of virtuosic craft. […] not a typographic jewel or fleuron or dingbat (as printer’s decorations are called), not a scratch or scribble or scrawl (as some of the typographic techniques should be called) is out of place.” — Steven Heller, “Graphic Content | Marian Bantjes, Illuminated”, New York Times Magazine