HAPPENINGText: Gudrun Rau

The Stiftung Buchkunst (book art foundation) is awarding prices every year for the most beautiful books made in Germany. The main focus is set on books as objects of utility. Legibility and factors like size, weight, the colour of the paper and it’s contrast to the script are all factors that are reviewed by the jury. That means that it’s not only about design but also about concept and perfect technical workmanship. So if you want to see some beautiful ragged alignment or a perfect line spacing, here you are.

I visited the exhibition at the Zentralbibliothek, Hamburg’s central library. Since the exhibition is closing on 24th february you might visit it in a different place. The winning books are touring book fairs, public libraries and other literature-related locations throughout the world.


The categories are: 1. general literature, 2. academic books / specialist books, 3. fact books / guidebooks, 3. paperback, art books / photo books / exhibitions catalogues, 4. children’s books, 5. school books / text books, 6. special books / experimental books, 7. books that are not in trade.

To tell the truth I didn’t browse through all of the 57 exhibited books. I only went through those that interested me and I have to admit that mathematical formulary or books about middle ear surgery aren’t that attractive to me although they might be technically perfect.

So, here are the books that I liked best:

James Joyce, Ulysses, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, Type setting: Hummer, Waldbüttelbrunn, Printing and book binding: CPI Books / Ebner & Spiegel, Ulm, Typography: Werner Zegarzewski, Hofheim, Fabrication: Nina Knapitsch, Wiesbaden, ISBN: 978-3-518-45816-7

I especially love the cover made of simple thick, grey cardboard and the striking red title and sides.

Bertram Haude, Jens Volz, Claudia Siegel (Editor), Die Entenrepublik Gamsenteich, uber Demokratie und Gemeinschaft, Institut fur Buchkunst an der HGB, Leipzig, Printing: PogePrinting, Leipzig, Book binding: Buchbinderei Monch, Leipzig, Type setting and typography: Claudia Siegel, Leipzig, Fabrication: Karla Fiedler, Leipzig, ISBN: 978-3-932865-39-1

The authors have been studying a society of ducks. This report (first part of the book with lots of nice diagrams and other beautiful information graphics) is added to comparable observations in the world of humans (that’s the second part of the book). I really love the concept and the beautiful design of this book.

Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen ifa-Galerie Stuttgart (Editor), Stadtansichten Kairo, Bauen und Planen für Übermorgen, Institut fur Auslandsbeziehungen ifa-Galerie, Stuttgart, Printing: Leibfarth & Schwarz, Dettingen, Book binding: Dollinger, Metzingen, Typography: Philippa Walz, Andreas Opiolka, Stuttgart, Type setting and fabrication: Philippa Walz, Stuttgart

Again very beautiful information graphics, I also like the dark brown type and the yellowish colour of the paper plus the semi-transparent paper used in between.

Mariko Takagi, Anika Takagi, Uberweihnachten in Japan, form + Zweck Verlag, Berlin, Printing and book binding: Offizin Andersen Nexo, Zwenkau, Type setting and typography: Mariko Takagi, Anika Takagi, Fabrication: Mariko Takagi; Angelika Petruschat, Berlin, ISBN: 978-3-935053-09-6

This is just very cute and stylish and funny.

Stiftung Buchkunst Tour
Date: February 1st – December 31st, 2007
Place: Bucharest, Beijing, Warsaw, Moscow…

Text: Gudrun Rau
Photos: Gudrun Rau

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