Current Year

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books of the year 2013 (awarded in January 2014)

About the awarded year

The Swiss Federal Office of Culture organizes the competition ‘The Most Beautiful Swiss Books’ on an annual basis. It thereby recognizes excellence in the field of book design and production, as well drawing attention to remarkable and contemporary books by Swiss designers, printers and publishers.

The competition celebrates its seventieth anniversary this year. In January 2014, a five-member jury awarded 22 books as the most beautiful Swiss books of 2013. Subsequently, the book 'Meret Oppenheim. Worte nicht in giftige Buchstaben einwickeln' was awarded the Golden Letter at the international competition 'Most Beautiful Books from all over the world' – the highest distinction of its kind. The most beautiful Swiss books will be presented in Leipzig in March 2014 on the occasion of Switzerland participation as host country at the Leipzig Book Fair.

From June 26 to 29th 2014, the most beautiful Swiss will be exhibited at the Helmhaus Zürich, alongside the simultaneous publication of the catalogue showcasing the competition. On the occasion of the exhibition opening, the Jan Tschichold Award winner will be presented with his award.

In the autumn of 2014, the books will be shown at the Sitterwerk in St.Gall, at Ecal/Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne as well as in Lavin/Engadine. As in the previous year, all the submitted books entered into the competition will be displayed alongside the award-winning titles.

Hosted by a variety of institutions and local actors, exhibitions are also planned internationally, such as London (Helvetic Centre), Oslo (Grafill), Paris (Centre culturel suisse), Venice (bruno bookshop), Vienna (Typographische Gesellschaft Austria), Taipeh (Tien Tien Circle) and others.

Exhibition dates

Museum für bildende Künste Leipzig
11. – 16. March 2014
Katharinenstrasse 10, 04109 Leipzig
Leipzig liest

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books at Helmhaus Zürich
Thursday, 26. June 2014 to Sunday, 29. June 2014
Friday, 27./Saturday 28. June: 10 am – 8 pm
Sunday, 29. June: 10 am – 5 pm
Helmhaus Zürich, Limmatquai 31 – 8001 Zürich

Centre culturel suisse Paris
Saturday, 13. September to Sunday, 14. December 2014
Centre culturel suisse, Librairie, 32-38 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, F – 75003 Paris

ECAL Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne
Thursday, 25. September 2014 to Saturday, 11. October 2014
5, avenue du Temple
1020 Renens

Hotel Piz Linard, Lavin Engadin
Friday, 17. to Sunday, 19. October 2014
Hotel Piz Linard
Biblioteca Linard
7543 Lavin GR

Sitterwerk, St. Gallen
Sunday, 26. October to Sunday, 23. November 2014
Sittertalstrasse 34
9014 St. Gallen

Jan-Tschichold Award

Each year the jury bestows, independently of the books submitted for the competition, the Jan Tschichold Award in memory of the typographer Jan Tschichold, on whose initiative the Swiss book design competition was launched in 1944. The Federal Department of Home Affairs entrusted the jury in 1997 with the task of annually awarding this honour to an individual, a group or an institution for outstanding book design achievement. This year, the Jan Tschichold Award, which is endowed with 15,000 Swiss francs, is awarded to the publisher, author, actor and comedian Patrick Frey (*1951) from Zurich. He started his small publishing house Edition Patrick Frey in 1986, focusing on photography, art, popular culture and the everyday. In its decision to award the prize to Patrick Frey, the jury recognized Frey’s unique contribution to the world of publishing as well as his ability to seek out artistic expressions beyond the mainstream. With regard to design, the publishing house does not subscribe to a signature style but collaborates with established as well as young independent graphic designers, with remarkable and unexpected results.