Bemoeizorg, by psychiatrist Jules Tielens and psychologist Maurits Verster, is a manual for dealing with ‘difficult’ patients, people suffering from mental disorders or addictions, people for whom society is too hostile and too complicated.
All the elements in the book are placed sequentially; there are no juxtapositions here. The typography, coupled with blue spot colour, cleverly prevents the reader getting off on the wrong foot. The tempo is maintained by having large text type in a comparatively narrow format. (Is a quickly read page an effective weapon against declining concentration spans?) Plenty of space is also reserved for quotations from letters; here the headline tells us we are dealing with an illustration. Not just every chapter but every paragraph too starts on a new page. Reversed-out profundities of the kind found on tiles, complete with explanatory comment, each take up a spread. This is book design in an age when the cost of printing is almost a side issue. Each page is designed to boost the speed of reading.
In the case of a personal narrative the text temporarily switches to a two-column grid. Each chapter starts with a deep blue dividing sheet with a kiss-cut U shape on its side. Push it out and lo and behold, you can turn it into a tab and make it permanent by pushing it through the slit prepared for it. So it is that a reading-book becomes a thing of utility. None of the judges had ever seen anything like it.
Silver medal, Best Book Design from all over the World, Leipzig 2011