Miniature collection awarded as most Beautiful Book of the Year
Twenty-four titles have been selected as the Most Beautiful Finnish Books of 2009. The title chosen as Book of the Year was Amour unit deux cours - Henry Lönnforsin miniatyyrikokoelma - Henry Lönnfors miniatyrsamling (The Henry Lönnfors Miniature Collection) published by the Turku Art Museum. Seven books received special awards for Best Book Covers.
Book of the Year 2009 showcases a collection of miniatures recently donated to Turku Art Museum, while also serving as the catalogue for a related exhibition assembled by the museum last year. In its commendation, the jury stated that "the designer has incorporated both classical and contemporary book art techniques with great skill and sensitivity. This gem of book art delicately captures the true spirit of miniature painting." The winning graphic designer is Minna Luoma.
More than 200 entries were submitted by major publishing houses, smaller publishers, museums, foundations and various other producers. The overall standard of the submissions was, again, outstanding. The majority of entries showed a high level of professional expertise and harmonious integration of visual elements. The jury judged the overall graphic design, covering all elements from typography through to the final printed product.
Masters and new names
Thirty-one graphic designers were awarded this year. The committee was particularly delighted with designers who have often made the prize-winners´ list, elevating them to a ´master class´ in Finnish book design. One top name is Minna Luoma, the designer of two prize-winning titles this year. Others include among others Anders Carpelan, Camilla Pentti, Jorma Hinkka and dog design, all of whom have been awarded on repeated occasions. The committee was also gratified to give first-time official recognition to many new names on the prize-winners´ list this year.
The committee lauded Finnish printers for their outstanding professional expertise and polished quality. Many of the awarded titles were printed by Karisto, Otava and WS Bookwell printing houses. Awards also went to Aldus, Art-Print, Erweko, Finepress, Gummerus Printing and Nord Print.
Fiction made beautiful
Seven works of fiction were awarded, three of which were translations of foreign titles and four were original Finnish novels. Those deserving a special mention include Elina Warsta´s clever design for Kari Hotakainen´s Ihmisen osa (The Human Lot), which playfully marries two contradictory visual idioms, rich and sparse.
Three children´s books were among the prize-winners, one of which was a non-fiction title, Jaakko Heinimäki´s Suomen lasten Raamattu (The Finnish Children´s Bible). Piia Aho´s clean, unpretentious binding and typography make the work "highly approachable", commended the jury.
Various interesting non-fiction titles were published last year, inspiring graphic designers and publishers to reach superior standards of excellence. Dog design/Eeva Sivula masterminded the understated layout and typography of Leonardo da Vinci´s newly translated journals (Työpäiväkirjat), subtly allowing the master to take centre stage and speak for himself.
Sami Karjalainen´s beautifully illustrative photographs are a stunning accompaniment to his non-fiction title Suomen Heinäsirkat ja hepokatit (The Grasshoppers and Crickets of Finland). The book´s visual achievements are crowned by Jukka Aalto´s functional layout and the exceptional print quality.
Wide array of winning publishers
Ambitious, beautifully printed publications with superior typography are not only produced by major publishing houses. Many are also published by Finnish museums, foundations and smaller publishers, some of which bring out no more than a few titles a year. Below is a list of last year´s highlights:
Photography was in the spotlight in this year´s prize-winning art books. Musta Taide is a small, independent publishing house that specialises in photography, releasing no more than a few titles a year. Two of its publications were awarded by the jury this year. Jorma Hinkka excelled in his typographic design of Markus Jokela´s Jotain on tapahtunut - Something Happened. Hinkka was also awarded for Pariisin tuoksu - L´air de Paris by Ismo Kajander and Anna Kortelainen, his luscious visual design gorgeously capturing a true French joie de vivre.
Huoneita - Chambres - Rooms by Pentti Sammallahti and Caj Westerberg is a sensual book of photography with a quiet yet evocative visual vocabulary. Both the photography and graphic design are by Sammallahti. The book was published by Opus, a small independent publisher.
Awards also went to two books published last year by the Helsinki University of Art and Design. Minna Luoma´s design for Nithikul Nimkulrat´s Paperness is brilliant in its choice of materials, colours and fonts. The jury also awarded Pekka Korvenmaa´s Taide & teollisuus (Art & Industry) - a charmingly elegant and endearing visual package designed by Camilla Pentti and Jani Pulkka.
Seppo Laurell´s Valo merellä, Suomen majakat 1753-1906 (Light at Sea, Finland´s Lighthouses 1753-1906), published by the John Nurminen Foundation, has a gutsy, masculine quality evoking the salty flavour of the sea. Its visual design is by Olavi Harkimo and its wonderfully apt photographs are by Petri Porkola.
The Finnish Book Arts Committee
The Finnish Book Arts Committee has annually awarded Finland´s Most Beautiful Books ever since 1947. Similar awards are conferred in 36 other countries.
The committee comprises representatives from fifteen organizations and institutions dedicated to bookmaking and graphic arts. The committee presents certificates to the designers, publishers, printers and other producers of prize-winning publications.
The Finnish Fair Foundation awards the Finnish Books Art Committee an annual grant for arranging the Most Beautiful Finnish Books competition. The Committee also receives backing from the Federation of the Printing Industry, the National Library of Finland and the Finnish Book Foundation.