Style and design, as in music and food, is idiosyncratic and personal. What inspires one person is merely a shrug for another. My preference is for a minimal style, but designer Marian Bantjes goes for the maximal – maximum decoration, and ornamentation. Ornate is not my style but I find her designs to be utterly inspiring and endlessly ingenious. I’ve spent days studying this large-format monograph of her work, exploring each and every flourish for hours because there is so much to explore. Her productivity is astonishing, the amount of work required for each item is mind-boggling, and the result of all this attention is spirit lifting. She is visually witty. Her flourishes and swirls have meaning. And she has grown her own distinctive style that few can imitate. Besides all this, she is a fantastic writer. This is one of the very few design books you can spend as much time reading as looking. Bantjes has the uncommon ability to be self-aware and critical of her own work, and seems eager to teach others by publishing her dead-ends and failures. I love it when artists “show their work” on the way to the final version. Bantjes discloses everything, and that honesty is the best teacher, and has won me as her fan. Her ceaseless inventiveness in calligraphy and design will delight anyone who inspects it closely.