‘Show-work for hardened lawyers’ and ‘a handy guide for this branch of law’ were two of the comments on this book. At first sight, Contract & Commentaar. Standaard Contractsbepalingen appears to be an almost masonic business gift, but by degrees it reveals the secrets of its design. ‘It looks very posh,’ someone said. The book is sewn into a soft paper cover with an open spine, the whole being enclosed in a stiff paper outer cover. Inside, designer Melle Hammer has worked with two colours for the type (in a typeface, incidentally, that is also used by dictionary publishers Van Dale). The Pantone green is handsome enough but not always an aid to legibility.
Even so, this minute examination of important legal texts is a bullseye. Each of the standard terms and conditions in turn is systematically dissected and deconstructed down to its essence, with plenty of restful white space. The navigational system is also well thought out and effective. ‘It’s a kind of Control-F in print form,’ one member of the panel observed. ‘You may have to spend sometime in prison, but at least you get this superb design as a bonus,’ joked another. This book is aimed at lawyers who have forgotten how things ought to be done. Perhaps, too, it can serve as a model for book designers looking to create a classical and impressive corpus.