Bronze MedalBelgium

Matthias Phlips
Daniël van Dicht

Design: Dear Reader; Matthias Phlips (Illustrations)
Print: Publikum
ISBN: 978-94-0141-975-8

This endomorph pushes back the boundaries of any kind of typology. His phlegm is so pronounced that – apart from a rare flush – he is left entirely unaffected by everyday perils. He finds himself in highly practical situations that are always slightly to seriously absurd, but everything seems to essentially pass over him. Things usually revolve around dogs and food intake. Or something that is being imitated. The easy-going man finagles his way between the ducks with a gaping mouth to catch most of the food.

Luckily, he is only a sketch. The stout, naked man, Herr van Dicht, is the protagonist of weekly cartoons that are collected here as a flexible folio. The page structure is spacious, wonderfully composed, sparing in its use of colour, always covering the whole page, with lots of pink – and everything is drawn with clear, equally thick contours. A certain psychological expression is created by these economical graphics – mirroring van Dicht’s visible greed and latent parsimony. In addition, the character has extremely reduced facial expressions. The illustrator himself does without the most important means of expression on the man’s face: his eyes – which are covered by glasses.

The book is designed as an album dedicated to this naked little man. Now and then, from off-stage, i.e. from the edge of the picture, the plump pink hands extend into the picture, affix a cartoon with an adhesive strip, or clip their fingernails.

Bronze MedalNetherlands and Flanders

De Vormforensen (Annelou van Griensven & Anne-Marie Geurink)
Het Meest Geloofde Sprookje
De Vormforensen (distribution De Vrije Uitgevers)

Design: De Vormforensen (Annelou van Griensven & Anne-Marie Geurink)
& Lyanne Tonk
Print: Drukkerij Tielen, Boxtel
Bookbinding: Boekbinderij Abbringh, Groningen
ISBN: 978-90-824196-0-3

A little creature becomes hungry for power; it begins to paint circles and swaps them for other things. The circles grow larger and larger; the demand for them culminates in a desire for the golden, shining sun.
The folded pages of the hardback are closed at the top, creating pockets between the double pages which are open at the front and bottom. The insides are printed with a wide repertoire of geometric patterns – so mysterious. How does a design feature like that fit into the visual scenario of collages made from cut and torn shapes, two-colour printing, signal red and ink blue, embossed with golden foil? The circles in the writing itself also begin to take on a life of their own; the o in the semibold grotesque type leaves the baseline, shifting up or down.
The printing inside the pockets turns out to be taken from a security envelope: inner patterns protect the contents from prying eyes, mostly lines over the whole area which prevent passwords, account numbers or other confidential financial information from showing through…
At the end, the whole thing collapses: “Oh no, what now?” A children’s book? A parable of supply and demand, growth optimism and the absolute value of money: the most widely believed fairy tale.

Bronze MedalAustria

Christoph Miler
Nowhere Men. Illegale Migranten im Strom der Globalisierung
Luftschacht, Wien

Design: Christoph Miler, Zürich (CH)
Print: Druckerei Theiss, St. Stefan im Lavanttal
ISBN: 978-3-902844-53-8

Difficult issues and beautiful books – surely not the perfect couple?
The highest common denominator of the three factors governing migration – original motivation, odyssey and destination – seems to be fear. Fear on all levels. What exactly do we know about illegal immigration in Europe, though?

Author and designer Christoph Miler seemingly needs to go beyond the daily news and prefers his own research over somebody else’s experiences. He found people who have taken six different paths through life and listened to them, their stories, and the external and internal mayhem.

Miler has turned his discoveries into a book. He adopts two soundtracks and applies them with a steady hand. Firstly, the six protagonists have their say. The typography treats their words with the same respect as is awarded to other quality literary texts. Secondly, headlines and pictures are taken from fast-moving mass media and transposed into stable book form. These are associative pages of documentation – a light-grey background strictly separating them from the biographical accounts. It could be said that this parallel approach acts as a corrective to the contexts created in the customary, exclusive consumption of news and data. The individual findings do not necessarily have to be wrong. However, this book shows once again what tends to be missing from our palette when we paint our picture of the world: the individual person, their personal fate, their individuality, or to put it in a nutshell: their humanity.

It is a book worthy of consideration, an artistic snapshot in time – people from somewhere, now here.

Bronze MedalChina

Zhou Xue
Pleasure of Learning
Phoenix Fine Arts Publishing Ltd.

Designer: Qu Minmin, Jiang Qian
Print: Shanghai Artron Art Printing Co., Ltd.
ISBN: 978-7-5344-9717-9

Like a bundle of secret documents, a soft piece of felt is wrapped around the body of this book and tied with a thread of raffia. Then calligraphic daubs of ink darken the creamy natural white of the paper, page by page until you become immersed in a new world. The strong, tough paper contains texts in filigree Chinese type, with some smears of watery ink here and there – traces of the artists’ work, printing ink that has seeped through or been discarded? An illusion – the linen tester reveals screen dots. Visual gems are peeled away: folded, ultra-delicate pieces of rice paper are worked into the book’s layers; printed only on one side, they bear calligraphy and tusche painting – mostly a combination of the whole sheet and a large detailed section.

The reader works through the book very carefully because it appears so vulnerable with its assortment of papers, the stitch binding with open spine, and the secretive beginning. You therefore handle the artistic pages with extra caution – the book, illustrations and observations blend to form a contemplative whole. This corresponds perfectly to the pedagogical motive of the whole project – in the words of Confucius: the Pleasure of Learning.

Bronze MedalNorway

Ingvar Ambjørnsen, Editor: Bendik Wold og Nils-Øivind Haagensen /
Flamme Forlag
Farvel til romanen. 24 timer i grenseland
Flamme Forlag

Design: Aslak Gurholt Rønsen / Yokoland
Illustration: Espen Friberg / Yokoland
Print: Livonia Print Sia, Latvia
ISBN: 978-8282880596

It is an agreeable sight even for non-smokers: the cigarette end smouldering away by itself on the narrow spine of the book. It belongs to the long-haired profile with the hefty sideburns on the back cover. There are plants growing freely in flowerpots on the cover flaps, plus an uncorked bottle with a filled wine glass. And on the front there are bare feet – but the story continues. Beneath the feet, on the cover, you can see the ground, or at least a pattern with radially arranged cobblestones, grouted in red from the red paper. Lush vegetation entwines an unoccupied garden chair on the endpaper, activated by the same red paper. So much atmosphere – and we haven’t even reached page one yet.

Overall, the book has a traditional form. The story is presented in a timeless serif typeface with distinct writing that is bold yet fine, typeset with the necessary line spacing for comfortable reading without becoming too large. An ample amount of whole-page illustrations with calming white space continues the visual setting from the beginning. The brushstrokes change from contours into larger areas, drawn in a single stroke – a watery blend of different grey shades. Good reading conditions are created here by the book itself.