I have previously wrote about Marian Bantjes but her work is so profoundly influential I decided to look deeper into the Graphic Artist’s process and philosophy.

The visual language of Marian Bantjes has long been inspirational to my design process but up until now I haven’t had the creative freedom to really explore a decorative visual style. Her ornate, Baroque styled lettering and patterns conjure an almost magical quality but that is not to lump Bantjes’ work with unicorns and fairies; it is far deeper and more profound than its initial aesthetic whimsy might suggest.
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Bantjes displays a passion for her art and its ornament is tantamount to the Zeitgeist of the current post modernist design era. There is perhaps an element of nostalgia to her style, a ‘hat–tip’ to days gone by, yet this style could also be perceived as being refreshingly contemporary. I feel it is this paradox that is so inviting: “a marriage of old and new” (Bantjes in Popova, 2015).

Bantjes continues, describing what she regards as the seven criteria of what makes design desirable.

“It should arrest and hold attention
It should then invoke curiosity
It should surprise
It should invoke wonder
It should bring joy
It should be memorable
Bonus points if it’s funny”
(Bantjes in Popova, 2015).

This seven step manifesto offers a checklist for innovation:


By holding the audience’s attention, design should develop a deeper intimacy with the viewer.
By invoking curiosity, design allows the viewer to question and decipher the artist’s intentions and also to question their own responses to the piece.
By creating an element of surprise, design remains fresh and contemporary.
By invoking wonder, design pays homage to beauty and the awe associated with it.
By bringing joy, design lifts spirits, gazes and hearts.
By being memorable, design leaves an imprint on our society, shaping the world around us and influencing our choices and decisions.
And lastly by being funny, well, who doesn’t like to smile?

I would also like to add a number of other points to that list and then adopt this as a personal innovation checklist for my current research.

Design should create conversation

I believe successful, desirable design should become a talking point. By offering a spark of controversy or leaving the viewer wanting more, design should aim to be the first guest that you want at your dinner party.

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Design should be honest

This could be considered oxymoronic in the context of my current research on lies and deceit but I believe desirable design should offer integrity and remain true to the artist. I want my current work to represent who I am as a designer and this is where my admiration of Bantjes continues to grow.
I greatly admire her integrity, in that, her work is not merely motivated by financial reward alone but her personal style has shaped her business and she has remained true to that regardless of the state of her bank account.



Popova, M. (2015). Beyond Pretty Pictures: Marian Bantjes on Serendipity, Success, and the Whimsy of Design. [online] Brain Pickings. Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015].

Walters, J. (2009). Eye Magazine | Feature | Reputations: Marian Bantjes. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015].


fig 1.1
Bantjes, M. (2010). Sunday. [image] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015].

fig 1.2
Bantjes, M. (2009). walrus magazine cover. [image] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015].

fig 1.3
Bantjes, M. (2013). Inside spread pretty pictures book. [image] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015].

fig 1.4
Bantjes, M. (2007). new opportunities. [image] Available at: [Accessed 10 Apr. 2015].


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