A children’s book about ‘money, faith in the economy, the culture of greed, mountains of gold and bursting bubbles’? That’s a brave and complex subject. In Dutch the authors and makers of this book (assisted by Lyanne Tonk), call themselves The Form Commuters (‘commuting between research and design and giving shape to your story’), and they have taken their name literally in a very special way. They try to explain a genuine problem in language that is easy to understand, and here they use circles. The book tells of the tribulations of a being – a bank being – which one day starts drawing circles. Demand for circles grows bigger and bigger, everyone wants them, and then the whole world is made of them. But that, of course, is when things go wrong. ‘Greed leads to disaster,’ as one panel member put it.
In terms of form, the circle is – literally – the driving-wheel of the story. Het Meest Geloofde Sprookje, with its Prussian blue and red and white fields, is attractively coloured and executed. There are references to paper collages and sometimes it seems as if we’re supposed to puzzle the story together ourselves. But in fact this works very well, the panel decided. Only the typography comes across as slightly forced and spiky, and it doesn’t always tie in well with the abstract illustrations. One conspicuous detail: the makers don’t believe in ‘a world where only money counts.’ Accordingly, it is also possible to order the book ‘in a different “currency”’. The fact that this book has already won a bronze medal at Best Book Design from all over the World in Leipzig is wholly unsurprising.
Bronze medal Best Book Design from all over the World, Leipzig 2016