The »Best Book Design from all over the World« 2019 has been awarded!The highest prize for the world's most beautiful book goes to The Netherlands

The Competition

Unique of its kind in the world, the annual book design competition »Best Book Design 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.

In 2019, again, an independent, international jury convened in Leipzig with the task of selecting fourteen outstandingly designed books. The highest prize is the “Goldene Letter”. Here are the 14 awarded publications from way over 600 of the best books from 34 countries: The best of the best!

Goldene Letter 2019

This year, the great publication »AMSTERDAN STUFF« from the Netherlands could win the highest prize, the GOLDENE LETTER!

Our international jury comments on the awardee: » Some years ago the city of Amsterdam took the opportunity to approach the major construction site for its new Metro line from an archaeological perspective. Scientists brought up countless items from the Amstel riverbed; 700,000 finds were recorded. Among these, 13,000 artefacts appear in this unique treasure trove that ranges from prehistoric times to the 20th century; they are all things that had sunk to the bottom of the Amstel. For instance, the chapter Food Processing & Consumption includes a pitchfork from around 1800 on the same double page as a chip fork from the outgoing 20th century. Despite its size, the use of India paper for the 600 pages makes this volume easy to handle. The paper’s opaque quality has its own charm: it is reminiscent of the layering principle identified by archaeologists during excavations. Painstakingly extracted illustrations are presented according to category in an image area of 5 × 7 squares per page. If necessary, singular shapes are given extra space. This creates perfectly sorted displays that show a fascinating hotchpotch of items. The conspicuous cover reveals astonishingly little about the meticulously documented contents. It makes you feel quite curious. A paper half-cover bears the laconic title: Stuff. Above it, the three silver crosses of the Amsterdam coat of arms sit resplendent on the shimmering bicolour fabric — these shouldn’t be confused with three “X”s, as any expectation of finding explicit material inside would be mistaken.«

Congratulations to the authors Jerzy Gawronski and Peter Kranendonk as well as to the designers Willem van Zoetendaal! Well done!