Brain Pickings

I Wonder: Marian Bantjes Explores Joy Through Typography

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Marian Bantjes is one of those creators that make pigeonholing impossible. Trained as a graphic designer, with a decade-long career as a typesetter under her belt and a penchant for the intricate beauty of letterform illustrations, she calls herself a ‘graphic artist’ and is an avid advocate for self-education and self-reinvention. Stefan Sagmeister, a longtime Brain Pickings favorite, calls her “one of the most innovative typographers working today” — with no exaggeration. (So innovative, in fact, that Sean “P. Diddy” Combs felt compelled to shamelessly, blatantly rip her off recently.)

I exist somewhat outside of the mainstream of design thinking. Where others might look at measurable results, I tend to be interested in more ethereal qualities like does it bring joy? is there a sense of wonder? and does it invoke curiosity?”

Bantjes’ highly anticipated new book, I Wonder, is out today and I couldn’t recommend it more — a remarkable journey of visual joy and conceptual fascination, intersecting logic, beauty and quirk in a breathtaking yet organic way.

I’m using my own writings as a kind of testing ground for a book that has an interdependency between word and image as a kind of seductive force. I think that one of the things that religions got right was the use of visual wonder to deliver a message. I think this true marriage of art and information is woefully underused in adult literature. And I’m mystified as to why visual wealth is not more commonly used to enhance intellectual wealth.”

For more of Bantjes’ unique brand of visual curiosity and creativity, don’t miss her excellent TED talk.

I Wonder is positively one of the season’s finest visual communication gems.

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