Lizan Freijsen – The Living Surface

Book coverLizan Freijsen – The Living Surface
Book coverLizan Freijsen – The Living Surface
Book coverLizan Freijsen – The Living Surface
Book coverLizan Freijsen – The Living Surface

When it came to this book the panel observed that here was one from the ‘Possessed Archives’ category. But the fascinating research material (an archive of stains), and the wonderful work of artist Lizan Freijsen that has come out of it, have been tackled by an equally possessed graphic designer. The result is a beautifully designed book that radiates energy and on every level does full justice to the archive. The grid ensures a good balance in the truly exciting typography, for in this multilingual book English, French and Dutch become as it were the material that has been spat out of the archive itself and here threaded through the book: the English from top to bottom, the French from bottom to top, and the Dutch from left to right.

It is up to the reader to turn the book so that the language required is presented in a readable way. That the photographic material remains upright when upside down goes without saying, but to treat the text the same way is a good solution. There was some discussion about the legibility of the French and Dutch – but the texts aren’t excessively long, and readers of this book will have to be slightly fanatical anyway.


The inside-out American-style folded dust jacket and the embossing on what might be termed the ‘inside cover’ are very special. This is a book in which absolutely everything comes together: it is a classic example of genuine synergy between designer and artist.

Edition: 2017
Language: English, Dutch, French, translated by Art English, Michael Meert
Final editor: Hanneke Gelderblom, Ed van Hinte
Publisher: Jap Sam Books, Heijningen
Graphic designer: Studio Renate Boere, The Hague
Lithographer: Graphius, Ghent (BE)
Printer: Graphius, Ghent (BE)
Binder: Graphius, Ghent (BE)
Size book block (w x h x d in mm): 230 x 300 x 18
Number of pages: 248 p.
Print run: 1,500
Price: € 28
ISBN: 978 94 90322 77 9
Font and foundry: Akkurat (Lineto)
Binding style: sewn soft cover with a dust jacket folded in the American style
Material: 120gsm Munken Lynx Rough (Antalis), 60gsm Opakal (Igepa), 135gsm Magno Volume (Igepa) (interior), 300gsm Munken Lynx Rough (Antalis) (cover with blind embossing), 150gsm Munken Lynx Rough (Antalis) (dust jacket)