Marian Bantjes. Pretty Pictures
Thames & Hudson, London, 2013
From a remote cabin off Canada’s Pacific coast, Marian Bantjes has created a unique visual language that combines typographical craftsmanship, illustrative flair and personal observation. Her generous approach, meticulous attention to detail and wit have made her one of the most sought-after graphic designers–among art directors, branding agencies and students–of her generation. This is Bantjes’ first complete monograph, exploring the astonishing range of her output over the past decade. It offers candid, thoughtful and insightful commentary on how she works, collaborates and creates her “pretty pictures,” echoing the humorous, wry cultural observation and design comment that formed the centerpiece of her seminal first publication, I Wonder. Whether it is an ornamental design for a magazine cover, information graphic, a poster, a “typographic illustration” or an as-yet-undefined piece of graphic art, Bantjes reveals the source of her inspirations, how she arrives at her design solutions and resolves intricate compositional challenges. This ambitious, luxurious publication presents Bantjes’ projects chronologically, revealing a fascinating journey from her early work as a hot-metal typesetter to her adoption of digital technologies that push conventional print production to the limit. There is inspiration for everyone within these pages, particularly those who prize texture, detail and delicate decoration. Marian Bantjes is a designer-craftsman who has established her own particular form of graphic expression that is prized for its individuality and timelessness.