Under husband-and-wife team Jaap and Aleid Rensen the Noorder Dierenpark at Emmen in the north-east of the Netherlands flourished as never before. After their departure in 1995 they watched as ‘their’ zoo went into a gradual decline. To make things worse, somewhere along the line a fire destroyed the archives. As a result, Aleid Rensen’s book De Verdwenen Dierentuin has become not only a highly personal story but also a reconstruction.
The book has been designed by the same graphic designer who used to be the zoo’s regular designer. The panel were much impressed by the way he has stayed on top of all this disparate material. He has divided the substantial main text over three columns of manageable length and placed it at the top of the tall pages. Between the chapters there are histories of particular animals, in a single column and large print on a coloured band of varying pastel shades. The combination of a serifed face for the main text with a sans for the headers, leads and captions produces a nice effect. The picture editing is dynamic and honest: murky snaps remain murky snaps.
The panel had to spend a long time debating the exterior: were the zebra stripes on the edges a success or not? In the end the conclusion was reached that they clashed with the front cover. ‘If you only look at the back, it works a lot better.’