Is it possible for a Best Dutch Book Designs judging panel to extend its praise to a title? Let us assume it is. After all, a title that merely tells you what the book is about is surely an opportunity missed. It nurtures the suspicion that routine will reign elsewhere in or on the book, too.
Take Bang Voor Bloemkool (‘Afraid of Cauliflower’). This is a title that grabs you straight away and makes you curious about the contents. If the subtitle, Reportages uit de kinder- en jeugdpsychiatrie had been the title (it translates as ‘Reports from child and youth psychiatry’), we should instantly have been on our guard for pages and pages of dull and indigestible text.
None of that here. The quick-wittedness and communicative instinct of which the title Bang Voor Bloemkool was born permeate the entire book. The powerful black-and-white photographs, beautifully
lithographed and printed, and effectively placed in the white of the pages, don’t illustrate the story so much as tell it. With one exception, panel members liked the use of blue spot colour for the main text. Here and there this is interrupted by boxes, except that there are no actual boxes as such: instead, these shorter texts are printed in black.
The format is all the nicer for being relatively rare. The temptation to bring the dimensions back to the press-friendly 17 by 24 centimetres has been resisted, tough luck.
Bang Voor Bloemkool is a surprising book from a publisher we don’t often come across in the Best Dutch Book Designs.