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Dutch win Best Book Design prizes

The best of the best in book design have been announced, amongst them gold, silver and bronze for the Netherlands.

By Cassandra Pizzey /asdf 03-03-2011

From the 33 Best Book Designs (Bestverzorgde Boeken) submitted by the Dutch, four have won prizes during the Best Book Design from all over the World competition.

Unique of its kind in the world, the annual book design competition Best Books from all over the World has been held in Leipzig since 1963. Since 1991 the Stiftung Buchkunst in Frankfurt am Main and Leipzig has been responsible for overseeing it. The international competition assesses books which have previously been judged and singled out for merit by specialist panels in their respective countries of origin.
This year, an independent international jury again convened in Leipzig with the task of selecting fourteen outstandingly designed books from 596 of the best books from 32 countries: the best of the best.

The Goldende Letter (Golden Letter) went to Studio Joost Grootens’ design for Atlas of the Conflict. Israel-Palestine by Malkit Shoshan (010 Publishers, Rotterdam). The jury found the book to have an ingenious design in the form of a pocket atlas and said: “The Israel-Palestine conflict is a highly complex issue and to create an atlas based on it is to make a statement.” Furthermore, the judges were impressed by the book’s bright design, meticulous charts and extensive mapping adding: “This is not only a gratuitous design book but one which is both essential ens eminently usable.” The Golden Letter is Studio Joost Grootens’ fourth prize in this prestigous book compeition.

René Put’s design for Bemoeizorg by Jules Tielens and Maurits Verster (De Tijdstroom, Utrecht) won the Silver Medal. A handbook for those who work with psychiatric patients, Bemoeizorg doesn’t seem the book genre typically chosen for a design prize. However, the judges were swayed by the “very Dutch typography (...) generously incorporated into the type-area”. Also the book featured “black and blue used as printing colours which create a wonderful harmony”, and “three-sided blue edging that gives the book a weightly and compact appearance and commands full attention”. The overall concensus of this book is that it is “a superb specialist book”.

Two of the four bronze medals also went to the Dutch with Robin Uleman’s design for and Willem. Documentation of a Youth by Willem Popelier (post editions, Rotterdam) and Ed Annink and Max Bruinsma’s Gerd Arntz, Graphic Designer designed by Ontwerpwerk (010 Publishers, Rotterdam). In Popelier’s publication the judges found the functional and emotional use of photographs and colour particularly stricking. Ontwerpwerk’s design stood out thanks to it’s varied layout, sensitive use of colour and clear and precise typography.

Coinciding with the international competition, the Dutch awards for the Best Book Designs (Best Verzorgde Boeken) have also been announced. The yearly election for the best book is organized by Boekblad and Stichting De Best Verzorgde Boeken (Best Book Design Foundation). A maximum of 33 books are chosen each year from around 400 contributions.

The Dutch winners included special interest books such as Alexander van Slobbe, and…and…and… by Guus Beumer, designed by Mevis & Van Deursen (Valiz, Amsterdam) and Piet Paris Fashion Illustrations designed by Coppens Alberts (d’jonge Hond, Zwolle), alongside children’s books, exhibition publications and private publications.

The judges were: Jan de Boer (Studio Jan de Boer, Amsterdam), Vanessa van Dam (designer, Amsterdam), Ada Lopez Cardozo (Royal Academie of the Visual Arts, the Hague), Erna Staal (Uitgeverij Atlas, Amsterdam) and Fokko Tamminga (Drukkerij ANDO, the Hague).

The winners of The Best Book Designs from all over the World will be on show from 17 until 23 March, 2011 at the Leipsicher Buchmesse.
The Best Dutch Book Designs will be on show at the Temporary Stedelijk 2 later in the year, and also featured in the publication The Best Dutch Book Designs 2010 De Best Verzorgde Boeken.

Click on the images to enlarge

Main image: Atlas of the Conflict. Israel-Palestine
Other images top to bottom: 1. Bemoeizorg, 2. and Willem. Documentation of a Youth, 3. Gerd Arntz, Graphic Designer, 4. Alexander van Slobbe, and…and…and…, 5. Piet Paris Fashion Illustrations

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