An intriguing little book that to start with had us all puzzled. What was it? But whatever it was, it was beautifully done.
Then in we dived, we leafed through it, and we found incredibly beautiful pages. Wonderful paper – a little thinner than the average to accommodate the many fold-outs – and everywhere the subtle, fine silhouettes of tree leaves showing through, lightly printed so as not to be too dominant. Sometimes a glossy sheet in amongst the matt, every now and again a surprising page of colour amidst the predominantly black-and-white and grey; and clear, robust typography.
And we still didn’t know exactly what it was all about. Plenty of nature, but there were also pictures of the Kennedys, then more nature, including some on wallpaper – was it a book to accompany an exhibition? A collection of essays mainly by artists? It is the form we’re judging, isn’t it? Still, you want to know what the book’s about. The title doesn’t give away much either.
Eventually it turned out to be about the way our view of nature and landscape is influenced by the traditions of art. Fine. And more than one of us still had doubts about the cover: perhaps it would work better if the flap had been folded the other way round, with the printing on the outside. Even so, we all felt that this handsome little book deserved to be called one of the Best Dutch Book Designs 2012.