The building blocks of the Mondriaan Foundation’s annual report are not its spreadsheets but its subsidy grants. In 2007 there were 673 of them, and the Foundation values them all equally. This year one-twelfth of a page has been
allocated for each building block: a rectangle measuring 4.5 by 8.5 centimetres. It is the designer’s job to put some sort of dynamic into this brickworks, and evidently the use of images is not appreciated: they have been absent for some years now.
The panel concluded that the brief had been fulfilled with aplomb. The resources used are paper, colour and typography. The paper is flexible and translucent, reminding you that the world is more than the spread you are looking at. The various sections of the book are stored in cardboard wrappers glued into the spine along with them and perforated on the fore-edge. Each section has its own spot colour swiftly and skilfully guiding the reader through the works. The typography has been well thought out. The text face is a humanistic-looking sans serif that has been provided with precisely the right amount of white space.
For the chapter headings there is an upright italic which has been used most imaginatively, complete with imitation iridescent print. And then there are the various tables: they appear against the background of slabs of the relevant
spot colour printed on the other side of the translucent paper where they create compositions reminiscent, from a distance, of the brick symphonies of Amsterdam School architecture. On the front, they show through the paper like soft silk.
Over the last five years, three panels of judges have selected Mondriaan Foundation annual reports among the Best Dutch Book Designs. Each of these went on to earn an honourable mention in the international competition in Leipzig, a source of pride and joy.
At the same time there is melancholy. Ever since the Best Dutch Book Designs restarted in 1987, one printer has never failed to make it to the final selection: Rosbeek. The Limburg firm has since gone out of business and its inventory has been sold, so this annual report is its last Best Dutch Book Design.
Honourable mention, Best Book Design from all over the World, Leipzig 2009