The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2013: Highest award for a book in the international competition

Bern, 04.03.2014 - The competition «The Most Beautiful Swiss Books» celebrates its seventieth anniversary this year. In January 2014, a five-member jury awarded 22 books as the most beautiful Swiss books of 2013. Subsequently, the book Meret Oppenheim. Worte nicht in giftige Buchstaben einwickeln was awarded the Golden Letter at the international competition «Most Beautiful Books from all over the world» – the highest distinction of its kind. The most beautiful Swiss books will be presented in Leipzig in March 2014 on the occasion of Switzerland participation as host country at the Leipzig Book Fair.

The Swiss Federal Office of Culture organizes the competition «The Most Beautiful Swiss Books» on an annual basis. It thereby recognizes excellence in the field of book design and production, as well drawing attention to remarkable and contemporary books by Swiss designers, printers and publishers. The independent, five-member jury presided by Manuel Krebs considered a total of 421 entries and chose 22 books as the most beautiful Swiss books of 2013. In judging the submissions to the competition, the jury takes into account each book's overall concept, graphic design and typography, and pays particular attention to innovation and originality. Further criteria include the quality of the printing and the cover, the binding and the materials used.

Swiss entry awarded highest international distinction
In Leipzig on 7. and 8. February 2014, the Stiftung Buchkunst conducted its annual competition «Most Beautiful Books from all over the world». Seven jurors from Germany, China, Japan, Austria, Switzerland and the US based their selection on a total of 567 books from 30 countries. These books had previously been awarded in their respective national competitions. Fourteen awards are annually presented: a Golden Letter, a gold medal, two silver medals, five bronze medals and five honourary diplomas.

A Swiss book was awarded the Golden Letter, the highest award at the international competition. The publication Meret Oppenheim. Worte nicht in giftige Buchstaben einwickeln was published in 2013 on the occasion of the artist and poet’s 100th birthday. It provides insight into her private photo and correspondence archive. (Editors: Lisa Wenger, Martina Corgnati; Design: Bonbon, Valeria Bonin, Diego Bontognali; Publisher: Scheidegger + Spiess; Printing: DZA Altenburg).

The gold medal also went to a Swiss book, Buchner Bründler – Bauten (Design: Ludovic Balland, Basel; Publisher: gta / ETH Zürich). This book had been entered by the «Most Beautiful German books» competition where the book, having been printed in Germany, had qualified.

The award ceremony will take place at the Leipzig book fair (Friday, March 14th, 2014, at 4pm, Stiftung Buchkunst, hall 3.0, booth G 600).

Switzerland as host country at the Leipzig Book Fair
Switzerland has the honour of participating in this year’s Leipzig Book Fair as host country. An extensive programme will take place both at the fair as well as in the city of Leipzig. Marking this occasion, «The Most Beautiful Swiss Books» will be exhibited at the Museum of Fine Art Leipzig from 11. through 16. March 2014. Furthermore, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, together with the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, will hold a symposium on the subject of Swiss book design at the renowned Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig on Saturday, 15th March 2014.

The Jan Tschichold Award 2014 goes to the publisher Patrick Frey
Each year the jury bestows, independently of the books submitted for the competition, the Jan Tschichold Award in memory of the typographer Jan Tschichold, on whose initiative the Swiss book design competition was launched in 1944. The Federal Department of Home Affairs entrusted the jury in 1997 with the task of annually awarding this honour to an individual, a group or an institution for outstanding book design achievement. This year, the Jan Tschichold Award, which is endowed with 15,000 Swiss francs, is awarded to the publisher, author, actor and comedian Patrick Frey (*1951) from Zurich. He started his small publishing house Edition Patrick Frey in 1986, focusing on photography, art, popular culture and the everyday. In its decision to award the prize to Patrick Frey, the jury recognized Frey’s unique contribution to the world of publishing as well as his ability to seek out artistic expressions beyond the mainstream. With regard to design, the publishing house does not subscribe to a signature style but collaborates with established as well as young independent graphic designers, with remarkable and unexpected results.

Exhibitions and awards
From June 26 to 29th 2014, the most beautiful Swiss will be exhibited at the Helmhaus Zürich, alongside the simultaneous publication of the catalogue showcasing the competition. On the occasion of the exhibition opening, the Jan Tschichold Award winner will be presented with his award.

In the autumn of 2014, the books will be shown at the Sitterwerk in St.Gall, at Ecal/Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne as well as in Lavin/Engadine. As in the previous year, all the submitted books entered into the competition will be displayed alongside the award-winning titles.

Hosted by a variety of institutions and local actors, exhibitions are also planned internationally, such as London (Helvetic Centre), Oslo (Grafill), Paris (Centre culturel suisse), Venice (bruno bookshop), Vienna (Typographische Gesellschaft Austria), Taipeh (Tien Tien Circle) and others.

Exhibition The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2013
- 11 – 16 March 2014, Museum für bildende Künste Leipzig, Katharinenstrasse 10, 04109 Leipzig
- 26 – 29 June 2014, Helmhaus Zürich, Limmatquai 31, 8001 Zürich
- Further exhibition dates in Switzerland (summer/autumn 2014) will be announced in June 

Catalogue The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2013
Publication date: June 2014
Concept and design: Maximage, David Keshavjee, Julien Tavelli, Lausanne/Zurich
ISBN: 978-3-9524209-1-1
Texts: German, English, French, Italian
International distribution: Idea Books, Amsterdam,,
Swiss distribution: Buchzentrum Olten
Distribution Germany, Austria: Verlag Hermann Schmidt Mainz,,

Further information and documentation
- List of the awarded books of 2013
- Biography of the Jan Tschichold award winner Patrick Frey
- Press images:

Address for enquiries

Anisha Imhasly, Cultural Production, Federal Office of Culture, Bern/Switzerland
Tel: +41 31 322 26 99, Fax: +41 31 322 78 34


Federal Office of Cultural Affairs