Han Bennink: Cover Art was clearly a title with a built-in challenge for the graphic designer. By reusing the plates used for the interior he has contrived – with the addition of an extra pass in black and via a complicated printing, cutting and selection scheme – to produce 750 books each with a unique cover. Half of the edition has a positive black image on the front and reversed black on the back. In the other half it is the other way round. The panel were presented with examples of both, and they were convincing enough.
The book is an overview of all the sleeve designs done by Bennink between 1967 and 2008 for a variety of recording
labels, mainly in the jazz field. The thin boards and the eight-page sections give it a certain refinement. The format is only 12 by 17 centimetres and at 64 pages this is a modestly-sized book. Even so, it still has enough room to present the sleeves in all their dazzling beauty. They even found space for text in two languages.
There’s plenty to discover here and it is soon clear why Bennink’s designs deserve to be described and published. The typography of the sleeves, too, turns out to be a visual feast. Particularly commendable is the fact that designer Piet Gerards has not allowed himself to be distracted by this but has followed his own plan. The result is a contemporary presentation of a remarkable collection which itself paints a picture of an era.