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The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2003

Hanspeter Hofmann / Supercritical Fluids. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

25th International Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljublijana. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Ägerital - seine Geschichte (2 Bde.). Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Alpschermen und Maiensässe in Graubünden. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

"Als regne es hier nie...". Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Anna Schlatter-Bernet 1773-1826. Eine weltoffene St. Galler Christin. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Bewitched, bothered and bewildered. Spatial emotion in contemporary art and architecture. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Le Cahier dessiné No. 3. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Cobaltblau. Werkstoffgeschichte und Werkstofftechnologie. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Daniele Buetti. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Die digitalen Hochstapler. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Doppelgänger. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Christian Jankowski. Dramensatz. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

"Et le Léman trouva le Nord...". La cartographie lémanique du XVIe au XVIIIe siècle. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

fink forward - the collection/connection. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Fokus 50er Jahre. Yvan Dalain, Rob Gnant und "Die Woche". Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Glasarchitektur. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Haute Couture in Basel. Fred Spillmann (1915-1986). Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz (Bd. 1+2). Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

It's all in your mind / C'est tout dans ma tête. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Klosterkultur und Aufklärung in der Fürstabtei St. Gallen (Monasterium Sancti Galli 2). Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Link - Proposal for Municipal Acquisitions Photography 2002-2003. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Le Lutin des lettres. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

"Mir gefällt's recht gut da...". Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Mode, Macht und Tracht. Kleidungsverhalten in Visperterminen und im Wallis 1700-2000. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Olivier Mosset. Traveaux / Works. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

La Revanche des lapins. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Sammlung Oskar Reinhart 'Am Römerholz'. Gesamtkatalog. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

La Scatola di latta. Collezione Blass Zurigo. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Schatten. Schatten. Der Schatten - das älteste Medium der Welt. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Schriftanalysen Band 1 und 2. Untersuchungen zur Geschichte typographischer Schriften. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Schulbuchreihe. Sprache zur Sache (Übungsheft/Lernzielhelft/Didaktischer Kommentar). Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Stadt und Architektur. Ein Geflecht aus Geschichte, Erinnerung, Theorie und Praxis. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Stadtland Schweiz. Untersuchungen und Fallstudien zur räumlichen Struktur und Entwicklung in der Schweiz. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Stiva da morts. Vom Nutzen der Architektur. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Super. Welcome to Graphic Wonderland. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Swiss Design 2003. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Terror & der Krieg gegen ihn. Öffentliche Reflexionen. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Das trikontinentale Solidaritätsplakat. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Die überraschende Verschiebung der Sollbruchstelle eines in optimalen Verhältnissen aufgewachsenen Astes. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Un pugno di mosche. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Unloaded. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Vorschau Schauspielhaus Zürich. Saison 03/04. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

Weiterbildungskurse. Öffentliche Weiterbildungskurse der Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

World Watchers. Photography: Isabel Truniger, Zürich
© FOC

About the awarded year

Mirjam Fischer, Swiss Federal Office of Culture

THE COMPETITION: 60 YEARS AND 364 TITLES

 

364 publications. including 14 Italian, 44 French and three Romansh titles, were submitted to this year's 'The most beautiful Swiss books' competition. This by far exceeded last year's 275 entries and represented a new record for the book design competition. A total of 45 books were awarded the title of 'The most beautiful Swiss books'.

 

'The most beautiful Swiss books' competition has reached a high standard over the past few years and aims to continue to meet the highest demands in terms of quality. To ensure that this remains possible and that a comprehensive image of Swiss book design can be conveyed, from now on books will also be admitted to the competition where one or more members of the Jury have participated in the design, production or sales (publishing house). These titles will be presented to a Special Jury also selected by the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

 

The 17 titles in whose production one or several members of the (Main) Jury participated were thus submitted to the three members of the Special Jury for meticulous examination. This meant that the (Main) Jury spent three days scrutinising and assessing 347 books. The (Main) Jury awarded the title of 'The most beautiful Swiss books' to 43 of the 45 prizewinning books, with the remaining two publications being selected by the Special Jury.

 

Under Chairman François Rappo, Lausanne, both the seven-member Jury and the Special Jury are composed of competent specialists from various book design disciplines. Design criteria, such as idea and conception, are decisive in the assessment of the works, followed by typography, quality of print and binding, materials used and overall impression.

 

This year, the Jury also awarded the Jan Tschichold Prize, with which the DHA honours creative and exceptional commitment in the field of book design. The prize money of 15.000 Swiss francs went to the already extremely well-known book designer and font designer Jost Hochuli, St. Gallen, and thus honours a man who has characterised Swiss book design, not only as a designer and publisher, but also through his committed teaching.

 

In addition. the members of the Jury also selected a 'Book of the Jury'. This is the Hanspeter Hofmann, Supercritical Fluids exhibition catalogue, which was devised and implemented by Elektrosmog (Valentin Hindermann and Marco Walser), Zurich.

 

'The most beautiful Swiss books' competition, which is run by the Art and Design Section of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture on behalf of the DHA, celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. A special exhibition will be held on this account in autumn 2004, which will present a historical review of all aspects of the competition.

 

This publication has been printed on the occasion of the two exhibitions in the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich and the mudac in Lausanne, where all 45 awardwinning books can be seen.

About the awarded year

François Rappo, Lausanne, Chair of the Jury

With 364 entries in this, its 60th anniversary year, ‘The most beautiful Swiss books’ 2003 competiton proves how well it is able to respond to current trends in book design in Switzerland through the various formulas it has experienced during its existence. The number and quality of the entries mean that the competition still represents a forum and platform of the world of books in Switzerland today.

 

This 60th anniversary year will form the subject of an exhibition and retrospective publication on book art in Switzerland containing each year’s selection of prizewinning books. The aim here is not to 'reward the awardwinners’, but rather to attempt to reveal the ‘key’ implementations of the various Swiss book art cultures that have been revealed in the competition since 1943.

 

This anniversary occasion in itself represents an invitation to put the current situation in perspective. However, at the same time , I believe that a parallel needs to be drawn to a - possibly subjective - impression, which emerges from the 2003 selection. This is the impression that, in the context of this year's competition, the traditional and contemporary aesthetics of book design tend to be closely akin to each other. This applies in particular to this year’s prizewinning selection, which is characterised by a relatively strong presence of textbooks and readers. Whereas in previous years, printing processes, as well as finishing and binding techniques, were noted for the possibilities they offer book designers, typographical issues tend to dominate in the 2003 entries. Should this be seen as the hallmark of a year with an economic climate conducive to making more pragmatic choices ? Or is this a more lasting tendency? The selection of awardwinning books offers a fairly open representation of current typographical tendencies, namely those that draw on historical models (and these include some beautiful implementations), those that follow modernistic models and those that seem to be seeking the formula of a new ‘new simplicity’. They all appear to share a closer and more widespread interest in questions relating to 'text design'. Typographical transparency seems to have once again become a visual criterion this year.

 

In technical terms, typography -like the image- has benefited from marked progress in terms of high-resolution pre-press and from progress in terms of printing. This has reached a level where one could almost ask further questions about a paradoxical manifestation, namely whether our pages are not too smooth, too sleek for the text and for reading, fire our characters not too perfect and too stable so as not to tire the reader's eyes? These are rather impertinent, even luxurious, questions that pay tribute to the high quality of the printed page.

 

Whilst on th e subject of typography, I would like to ask another question, namely why we don't see more books using new typographical implementations. What stage is the creation of typographical characters at in Switzerland ? Where, then, are the productions of the new generation?

 

This question goes slightly beyond the scope of the competition, but I believe that it deserves to be asked here with reference to the extremely high quality of the graphics chain. This quality is often touched upon for images, but is also noteworthy with regard to words.

 

This new interest in the creation of typographical text characters could be the expected and hoped-for extension of the quest for simplicity, which can be seen both in the productions of the youngest generations and in those of the majority of the prizewinning designers of this year’s selection of ‘The most beautiful Swiss books’.

Jan-Tschichold Award

JAN TSCHICHOLD PRIZE FOR BOOK DESIGNER JOST HOCHULI
Michael Guggenheimer, Zurich

 

Book design has a strong tradition in Switzerland and repeatedly reveals new ways of presenting the written word. Jost Hochuli has carried out trailblazing work in this area.

 

1975 was the first year that a book designed by Jost Hochuli won a prize in 'The most beautiful Swiss books' competition. Since then, numerous other publications designed by Jost Hochuli have won prizes - almost every year, and up to three publications in some years. The book designer from St. Gall has been awarded bronze and silver medals in 'Best Bookdesign from all over the world' competition. He also won the Icograda Excellence Award at the International Book Art Exhibition IBA in Leipzig in 1989 and, ten years later, the Gutenberg Prize of the City of Leipzig, which is the highest international award in the field of book design.

 

In addition to the brochure series designed by Jost Hochuli on culture in Switzerland, which contains over 80 titles in seven languages and is published by Pro Helvetia, his work continues to grow. Designed by Jost Hochuli, the "Grosse kommentierte Frankfurter Ausgabe der Werke von Thomas Mann" will comprise 58 volumes. On top of this, he also founded the Verlagsgemeinschaft St. Gallen (vgs), together with friends 25 years ago. With more than one hundred published titles to its credit, the vgs publishing programme has won several prizes, not least because Jost Hochuli has been able to influence it, both as a publisher and as a book designer.

 

For 16 years, Jost Hochuli was responsible for the training course for typographical designers in St. Gall. He has published standard works on book design. Detail in typography, which is available in six languages, is his best-known publication. In 2002, the book "Jost Hochuli: printed matter, mainly books" was published. It presents his comprehensive oeuvre and thoughts on the topic of book design. His publication "Book design in Switzerland" resulted in a representative exhibition on outstanding book design from Switzerland, which was shown in Switzerland and abroad.

 

As a book designer, Jost Hochuli sees himself as somebody who is there for the reader: 'If the graphic designer who works in book design sees his/her activity as a service to the cause, as a service to the message and the word, s/he will achieve completely different results than if s/he is primarily seeking to astound, to create the never-been-seen-before.' And although he has compiled 'font pattern books' for various font producers, he still believes that readers tend to be conservative with regard to fonts, despite the numerous fonts available today. Even those few people prepared to sample books devised in an unconventional manner, reject experiments in terms of letters. 'The reader is not interested in the letters per se: s/he does not want "beautiful", "interesting" or "modern" letters, but instead wants to grasp the sense of the words visualised by means of the letters in as straightforward a manner as possible.'