Book Design Lecture: Irma Boom

Irma Boom’s Quotations from this Lecture:

“What has always been important to me is the complete trust of my commissioner, I immediately drop my pen if there is no collaboration and if I feel we are not on the same track, no use to continue. If it works, then the object that we collectively created hopefully pushes the boundary of the definition of a book.”

“I love the industrial-made books, I hate the hand-made books.”

“Suddenly, I knew I was in the world of graphic designers, and then I have lots of friends and lots of enemies.”

“I make dummies. I make lots of models, small, big, whatever, I make always dummies.”

“It’s pity that lots of designers don’t read, so please do.”

“In the beginning, I was always working with architects on a book for 6 weeks or 5 weeks sitting at OMA and then making all these books. At the end, they change so much times. It’s much nice if you only work in the last days with them because then you get the final information. You can make a final book. It’s nice to do a book in 3 days instead of 5 years or 6 weeks. It’s another energy certainly for this kind of books.”

“What I got as a present from the Government Printing Office, you don’t believe, is a package of A3 paper… very silly present!”

“I put all yellow colours on the inside because he doesn’t like it. And you should know, it was very irrespective. His family is all in our royal family in the Netherlands. So, don’t fool with him. And nobody fools with him. Nobody! I thought, well, I’m this person coming in. I do this book. I’m out of his life. I can take this risk.”

“I think I never do this kind of book again because it makes me so nervous to fold them back.”

“I have sort of science: If I can make it by hands, and a machine can do it much better in an industrial way.”

“For me, it’s more telling a story of the life of Otto Treumann. It was really sad that he first liked it. I showed him everything. When the book is printed, and his generation, colleagues, same old designers said, well, we don’t like it. Then, I thought, well, fuck you! I mean it. I was so angry.”

“If a book has no deadline, you don’t have a book.”

“As you know, in general, publishers are very conservative. And also book people, I think, are very conservative.”

“For me, the object of a book is very important. The Yale Press always want to have a weaving of Sheila on the cover. And I thought the interesting lady like Sheila needs a larger audience, not only textile people. Imagine if there is a textile on this cover and only textile people will pick up this book. Now the book is more or less a sort of object. It’s very specific object which is made for her. I will never use it for anything else. And I also want to have a white book because the colour is inside. The Yale Press said, we won’t sell white books. I thought of convention. Who the hell tells you a white book doesn’t sell? Also black books don’t sell. What’s the matter? And I made hundreds of covers. I said I cannot do it because it’s not good for Sheila. Sheila needs a more white book. And we can have the work on the back, but on the front, it should be a sort of interpretation of her work. That’s much more a thing and a object for her, would help her and serve her than putting a work of her on the cover. It’s also Sheila Hicks. Sheila Hicks makes huge works. It is just a collection of her miniatures. We were really in a fight. And I put the book many times off the table. I really didn’t want to do the book anymore. I was really very sad. In the end, there is no time anymore to make another cover. They said, well, let’s do it. So, time save me. What happened, the book became enormous success. It was best seller of Yale Press. It was really very funny that it sold so many copies. And I took this book with me where is a hand-writing on it. Just last Monday, the third printing ships to the United States. It was so funny a book didn’t sell, it’s getting it’s third print.”

“Of course I love internet. For me, internet is so important and I’m very happy that I’m a book designer in the time of internet. I think it’s only possible to make such a specific book because we have internet. Otherwise, don’t do a crazy book like this with this very specific treatment of the edges. Because of internet, the books are allowed to be a bit more an object. I think that helps me a lot.”

“The paper is my own recipe. The paper has the corporate philosophy of the company. That’s for example, look for the unusual; listen, learn and react; keep the things simple. It’s all in a watermark in a book. Basically, I wanted to have a Japanese paper from a very specific plant, really beautiful paper, very thin. We could have five thousands pages but we now only have half. Basically, that paper, I could order it, even though it was quite expensive. So I sent a fax to Japan to order the paper for so many books. They were very happy to get the order and they sent the fax back. With the line, the paper is ready in 14 years. We didn’t have any limit in spending money. No budget, no limit at all, only time. So, time was killing us. Of course, we need the paper one and a half year before. Then we are ready to print because the book has to be ready in 1996. So I had to find another print.”

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Contributor

Hei Shing
chanheishing@gmail.com

書就是… A Book is…


一片紙不但表現時間,也表現空間。而一片片的紙張組合起來的書就是一個高深的容器,盛滿文字,既能從中不斷汲取智慧,又能裝入無限的智慧。

A piece of paper reflects not only time but also space. Books are formed by binding papers together to become containers of words that serve as a reservoir as well as a spring of wisdom.

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