For years now, productions in which one or more of the judges were involved have been excluded from the panel’s scrutiny and instead laid before a company of former judges known as the shadow panel. This year they had little need of discussion to propose selecting the 2009 desk diary published by printers Ando of The Hague. Pick it up and leaf through it and you feel straight away how the effective use of materials and colour has delivered a pleasant and tactile experience.
Because the same panel of judges has to be responsible for the entire selection of the Best Dutch Book Designs, it is also vested with the right not to adopt a recommendation made by the shadow panel. In this case, the judges were on the point of exercising that right. A diary may be an attractive product, they said, but it is still only a diary.
At this point the panel member who happened to be this particular diary’s publisher was called away to the telephone. This gave one of the other judges enough time to take another more leisurely look at the book – for a book is what it definitely is. And he, in turn, convinced the others that they could not fail to select it.
The decisive factor was the enthusiasm with which the motto Verstand op nul, blik op oneindig (loosely, ‘brain in neutral, eyes on infinity’) has been elaborated in numerous editorial contributions of the kind that in almanacs used to be placed under the catch-all heading of Miscellany. That, plus the way throughout the diary the visualization of the concepts of zero and infinity takes advantage of every possible opportunity.
One aspect cannot be left without a mention: has anyone ever seen such a narrow ribbon bookmark before?