A testimonial to one of the big boys – an iconic figure among book designers, even. Karel Martens, winner of the Gerrit Noordzij Prize in 2012, has been at ArtEZ, the Arnhem Academy of Art and Design, for decades. ‘This strikes me as a chorus of greetings in colour, word and typography,’ one panel member exclaimed enthusiastically. That makes this ‘reprint’ of four thousand copies a true sampler of Martens’s free work and of his essays on his teaching method. In making Reprint Martens was assisted by students of Type and Media at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. The book was published to coincide with an exhibition of his work in March 2015.
Fresh, frivolous and inventive, this is ‘hundred per cent Dutch cultural heritage’. It’s a box of toys you can scrabble through to your heart’s content. Martens liberally and unblushingly avails himself of all sorts of materials and small items of printing, even in the folded dust jacket. Another way the book stands out is that almost every page uses dayglow colours, while the uncut top edges mean that the illustrations become individual documents rather than reproductions on pages. The transition to brown paper for the text section is also cleverly done. This is a visual and page-turning experience never to be forgotten.