Bronze MedalSwitzerland

Christof Nüssli
Withheld due to:

Design: typosalon, Christof Nüssli
Printer: Graphius, Gent (BE)
Publisher: cpress
ISBN: 978-3-9524710-0-5

This sheaf of papers gives you the impression that it could perhaps become a book at some point. Each page is loose—it is actually just a simple collection of papers, folded over and bundled together. The outer sheet bears a distant relationship to a dust jacket; the cover image is incorrectly exposed and practically unrecognisable. It contains a thick wad of paper with ugly pictures, itself wrapped in some vivid neon orange sheets: haphazard printing of correspondence from the authorities, email printouts, photocopies, faxed to and fro countless times, with handwritten notes and scribbles, sections of text blanked out with felt pen, daubed until illegible. They seem like makeshift decorative sheets of paper, and look demonstratively like printer’s waste.

How did this slovenly paper object make its way into the sphere of the “best book designs from all over the world”? The 198 images display sections of prisoners’ naked bodies, images that were released for publication by the US government following the judicial investigation into the torture scandal in Abu Ghraib, Iraq. They are some of the harmless photos where cruelty is hardly recognisable. When opened up, the following question and 50 others are listed: “What should these images prove?” They are printed on another vivid neon orange sheet of paper in the middle of the bundle. The pictures now have to undergo a second series of questioning, even though the legal sentencing has long been completed. In a moral, social respect, however, the scandal is far from over. The editor succeeds in achieving this update with the most sparing, yet cuttingly arranged ingredients.

Bronze MedalGermany

Nele Dechmann, Fabian Jaggi,
Katrin Murbach, Nicola Ruffo
UP UP – Stories of Johannesburg’s Highrises

Design: Huber / Sterzinger, Zürich (CH);
Assistant: Nicolas Leuba
Illustration: Nele Dechmann, Fabian Jaggi
Photography: David Southwood, Guy Tillim, Mpho Mokgadi and Namsa Leuba
Printer: Offsetdruckerei Karl Grammlich GmbH
Publisher: Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern
ISBN 978-3-7757-4093-7

The pages that are slightly smaller immediately catch your eye, even when the book is still lying there unopened. The sheets of paper with the texts are narrower by one centimetre, and so the formal entities separate by themselves the first time they are leafed through as if connected naturally. (This makes the book particularly nice for the user to handle, but particularly elaborate for the producer). On the left, a large picture. On the right—instead of a heading—a statement in large type that would look overexaggerated even as a title. But the fact that this looks like a headline indicates the equality of the interviews/essays with the monochrome architectonic portraits of the buildings: they are excellent architecture photos—historical, documental and contemporary, and the shorter pages of text with bold Baroque Antiqua, which, used in this way, visualises the journalistic impetus of the editorial concept. You could say that composite chapters are created which turn every piece of architecture into a sociological issue.

High-rise architecture from the 20th century in Johannesburg: history, biography receives a location—the building, and building history receives a biographical connection. The design of the foldout cover proves expressive: vertical tectonic structure in golden print on black cardboard.

Bronze MedalThe Netherlands

Emily Dickinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay

Design: Team Thursday (Simone Trum & Loes van Esch)
Printer: Drukkerij Tielen, Boxtel
Publisher: Ans Bouter en Benjamin Groothuyse
ISBN 978-90-825974-0-0

This flap soft cover has very special flaps. They not only reinforce the jacket, but at the front they are also furnished with a kind of second spine which enables each of them to wrap one half of the innerbook in the middle of the book. The book can therefore be placed on the shelf in both directions. A lyric diptych—and the book actually opens automatically between its two halves. The insides of the flaps bear the names of the poetesses, in large grotesque type and lines pitched in opposite directions. Each covers half of the full-page portrait photos, the left monochrome in blue, the right printed in green, with the lines in corresponding colours. The paratext at the beginning of the book— title pages, articles—and at the end of the book—articles and appendix— is printed in a blue-green combination colour, a manifest yet plausible means of harmoniously combining both sections of the book. The design elements are consciously reduced overall. The spacious proportion of white, the grotesque type of the kind used around 1900, the surprising colours and the severe architecture of the book all provide a fresh setting for the poetry by these two American poetesses.

Bronze MedalSwitzerland

Olivier Lebrun and Urs Lehni
Bernard Chadebec – Intrus Sympathiques

Design: Olivier Lebrun and Urs Lehni
in collaboration with Simon Knebl, Phil Zumbruch,
Saskia Reibel and Tatjana Stürmer (HfG Karlsruhe)
Printer: Die Keure (BE)
Publisher: Rollo Press, Zürich
ISBN 978-3-906213-11-8

This paperback monograph honours the poster designs of Bernard Chadebec. They are colourful posters with a serious topic and educational purpose: the prevention of accidents at the workplace and occupational illness. Chadebec was employed as a graphic designer at the National Research and Safety Institute in France for many decades. In the catalogue there is not a trace of admonitions, catastrophic scenes or threats and risks, however. Instead, a colourful kaleidoscope of graphic stimuli, similar to those typical of the sixties and seventies.

The posters have been wonderfully integrated into book form. Even as reduced-sized reprints on wafer-thin paper, they are still so large that they cannot fit individually on a single page of the book. The reprints have therefore been folded twice and put together in threes to form layers with stitch binding. The top of the book has not been cut, though. And so sections of the quartered posters are sometimes upside down, and sections of different posters sometimes face each other on opposite sides. You can’t really look at them as a whole at all. But something else becomes all the more clear. Chadebec’s graphic art is precise and powerful; each detail is permeated with the quality of the whole poster. The originals are attractive posters because they are supposed to be hung up at the workplace. Humorous yet equally drastic, they cut right to the chase of each danger.

And the book design works with correspondingly congenial didactics: you not only observe the posters as a relic of design history, but also appreciate the timeless quality. Looking more closely at the details, you can also examine closely what exactly makes a poster into a poster.

Bronze MedalSwitzerland

Eva Hesse / Barry Rosen
Eva Hesse – Diaries

Design: NORM, Zürich / Johannes Breyer, Berlin
Printer: DZA Druckerei zu Altenburg GmbH
Publisher: Hauser & Wirth Publishers / Yale University Press
ISBN: 978-0-300-18550-8

Diary extracts that originated between 1955 and 1970 have been published, from the estate of the artist Eva Hesse. Spanning 900 pages, the result of this source exploration only seems like a slab on the outside, with respect to its dimensions, whereas it feels positively clear-cut and light when handled.

Why? The volume has two photographs. The frontispiece shows a portrait of the artist; the last printed page displays an example of the handwriting in the original diaries—with passages deleted and added, and with an intuitive use of the space at the sides. This is an editorial challenge and presents massive demands on the creative typesetting. The table opposite shows the solution. The handwritten variants are restricted above all to the placement of the entries. On the one hand, seven uniform indents provide sufficient order in order to secure good readability, and on the other hand they maintain the associative content of the original text positioning with sufficient differentiation. The result of the typographical transcription leads to vivacious double pages when printed. The modern, classicistic type with the look and feel of newspaper and typewriter script was also popular in the sixties. The option of underlining is preserved by ample spacing between the lines, with self-evident left justification and restriction to one font size. The years are separated generously. In each case, six pages are set aside for this, the first four of which are entirely black. The matt, slightly yellowish paper is ideal for reading. The volume nestles in your hands—not only because the paper is so lightweight, but also due to the flexible and trimmed cover, the thin outer cardboard with finely woven textile cover.

This is why it is a sleek volume—useful in every respect.