Small Country – Beautiful Books: Gold, Silver and Bronze for Swiss Books of 2009

Bern, 22.02.2010 - At the international competition «Best Book Design from all over the World», Switzerland won gold, silver and bronze, as well as an honorary appreciation. Beforehand, in January 2010, the Swiss Federal Office of Culture held its annual competition of «The most beautiful Swiss books», where the winners of 2009 were chosen.

At the competition «The most beautiful Swiss books» of the Federal Office of Culture, the independent jury chose a total of thirty books as the most beautiful Swiss books of 2009. Subsequently, the awarded books were entered in the international competition of the Stiftung Buchkunst in Leipzig, Germany, where they were appraised by an international Jury. A total of four Swiss books were ranked among the most beautiful: The gold medal for Thomas Galler. Walking through Baghdad with a Buster Keaton Face (edition fink), a silver medal for Die Stimme der Natur. 100 Jahre Pro Natura (Kontrast Verlag/Edition Slatkine), a bronze medal for Voids. A Retrospective (JRP Ringier Kunstverlag) and an honorary appreciation for Jules Spinatsch (Kodoji Press).

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books
411 books were entered into this years’ competition «The most beautiful Swiss books», which the Swiss Federal Office of Culture conducts annually on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Home Affairs. The five-member jury, chaired by graphic designer Cornel Windlin, examined each entry and conferred the title of most beautiful Swiss book of 2009 on a total of thirty books. The Federal Office of Culture thereby recognizes and promotes excellence in the field of book design and production, as well drawing attention to remarkable and contemporary books by Swiss designers, printers and/or publishers.

The jury selects the books on the basis of idea and concept, graphic design and typography, with an emphasis on innovation and originality. Furthermore, the quality of the printing and binding, the use of materials and overall impression are appraised.

The Jan Tschichold Award is bestowed annually by the jury, independently of the books submitted for the competition. In doing so, the Federal Office of Culture distinguishes a personality, group or institution for excellence in book design. This years’ award, which is endowed with 15’000 Swiss francs, goes to Christoph Keller and his imprint Christoph Keller Editions, which he publishes since 2007 at JRP Ringier art publishers in Zurich. The jury thus commends a bibliophilic book designer who sets new benchmarks, as well as a publisher who, year after year, presents a remarkable array of books.

«The most beautiful Swiss books» will be exhibited at the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich from June 12th 2010, alongside the simultaneous publication of the comprehensive catalogue showcasing the competition. Moreover, the Jan Tschichold Award will be presented to the prize winner on this occasion. In the autumn of 2010, the awarded books will be shown at the Musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains (mudac) in Lausanne. As in the previous year, all the submitted books entered into the competition will be displayed alongside the award-winning titles.

Best Book Design from all over the World
Switzerland gathered a notable bouquet of medals at this years’ international competition. On February 5th and 6th 2010, the Stiftung Buchkunst held its annual competition «Best Book Design from all over the World» in Leipzig, Germany. Seven jury members from Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain and USA appraised 634 entries from 32 countries. These books had already been awarded in their national competitions. As in every year, there were 14 awards to confer: One golden letter, one gold medal, two silver medals, five bronze medals and five honorary appreciations. Switzerland received the following distinctions:

Gold medal
Thomas Galler. Walking through Baghdad with a Buster Keaton Faceedition fink, Verlag für zeitgenössische Kunst, Zürich
Design: Georg Rutishauser
Published by: Madeleine Schuppli, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau; ISBN 978-3-03746-138-9

Silver medal
Die Stimme der Natur. 100 Jahre Pro Natura
Kontrast Verlag, Zürich (French edition: Edition Slatkine, Geneva)
Design: Marco Müller
Published by: Pro Natura, Basel; ISBN 978-3-906729-69-5

Bronze medal
Voids. A Retrospective
JRP Ringier Kunstverlag AG, Zürich
Design: Gavillet & Rust, Gilles Gavillet and David Rust with Corinne Zellweger, Geneva
Published by: John Armleder, Mathieu Copeland, Laurent Le Bon, Gustav Metzger, Mai-Thu Perret, Clive Phillpot, Philippe Pirotte; ISBN 978-3-03764-017-3

Honorary appreciation
Jules Spinatsch
Kodoji Press, Baden
Design: Winfried Heininger, Kodoji Press, Baden
Published by: Marco Obrist, Kunsthaus Zug; ISBN 978-3-03747-012-1

The awards ceremony will be held during the Leipzig Book Fair on March 19th 2010 at 4pm at the Stiftung Buchkunst, booth G 600, Hall No. 3. For press release of the Stiftung Buchkunst dated 22.02.10, see: > Aktuelles

Museum für Gestaltung Zurich
Opening: Saturday, 12th June 2010
Exhibition: Sunday, 13th Juni through Sunday 3rd July 2010

Mudac, musée de design et d’arts appliqués contemporains, Lausanne
Opening : Tuesday, 2nd November 2010
Exhibition : Wednesday, 3rd November 2010 through Sunday, 13th February 2011

The Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2009
Concept and design: Laurenz Brunner und Tan Wälchli
ISBN: 978-3-9522700-7-3
Price: EUR 30.- / CHF 35.-
Texts: German, English, French, Italian
Publication date: June 2010

List of awarded books of 2009
The list of awarded Swiss books of 2009 and this years’ jury members is attached to this press release. In late May, a press documentation will be circulated on the occasion of the exhibition opening / catalogue presentation at the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich. Kindly approach us beforehand if you wish to receive this.

Images available
Visual portraits of the four internationally awarded books may be found here: > Aktuelles > Bildergalerien > Schönste Bücher > Schönste Bücher 2009

Address for enquiries

Anisha Imhasly, Design, Federal Office of Culture
Tel: +41 31 322 26 99, Fax: + 41 31 322 78 34


Federal Office of Cultural Affairs