The visual identity of the eighth edition of Contour, the Biennale of the Moving Image in Mechelen, Belgium, was provided by Studio Remco van Bladel, which also produced the accompanying reader. The complex theme of Polyphonic Worlds is represented by a nice printing trick: two half-tone circles have been placed so that they partially overlap to form the figure 8. The overlap thus acquires a new, polyphonic structure.

This is all very well, but having such a nicely executed idea doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve produced one of the year’s best designed books. 

This publication is a genuine reader, a collection of textual contributions that were written down in the course of the events they relate. Typographically the book is a true joy. The opacity of the paper used for the main matter is perfect for the theme and thus provides added layeredness. 

The red Wibalin for the cover is nice and thin, so that the paperback has a pleasant feel to it and lies agreeably in the hand. The red binding thread is subtle and testifies to attention to detail. 

This is all precisely what you need to have in a book like this: make sure the typography is good, and use transparent graphic design tricks to present information to the reader in a way that renders it readily understood. In this case it’s all been done very beautifully. And there we have it: one of the best designed books.

Author Natasha Ginwala (ed.) in collaboration with Krisztina Hunya, Katelijne Lindemans

Year 2017

Language English

Publisher Sternberg Press, Berlijn (DE) / Mechelen (BE)

Designer Studio Remco van Bladel, Amsterdam (Remco van Bladel, Beau Bertens, Berit Smit)

Printer Raddraaier, Amsterdam

Binder Patist, Den Dolder

Size 150 x 220 x 18

Number of pages 248 p.

Print run 1,000

Price € 20

ISBN 978 3 95679 297 7

Font Centaur Pro (Monotype), Memphis Pro (Linotype)

Binding style sewn Patabind with flaps, using red threads

Material 80gsm FocusBook Naturel 2.0 (Papyrus) (interior); 115gsm Wibalin Buckram 530 Ruby (Winter&Company)