Wednesday, May 30, 2012

PANZ Book Design Awards 2012 Shortlist: titles with impact

 Art books, biographies, vivid history, children’s books, educational titles and the best typography will compete for New Zealand’s major book design awards, the Publishers Association of New Zealand’s PANZ Book Design Awards 2012.

On the judging panel are art director of North & South Jenny Nicholls, design company partner Gideon Keith and bookseller Roger Parsons. With well over 100 books submitted, they’ve had a hard task just arriving at a shortlist of each category. Jenny said the judges looked for consistency of design from front cover to back cover. “The best designs had a sense of play,” said Jenny. “Book covers, in particular, did not work when marketing departments overplayed their hand, sacrificing emotional impact – not to mention aesthetics.

“Design is less about self-expression, more about problem solving, than many would believe,” Jenny commented. “When designers are let off the leash you’ll see the most exciting books.”

In the Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book, two art-related books vie with the biography of culinary legend. A Micronaut in the Wide World (Gregory O’Brien: Auckland University Press), designers Keely O’Shannessy (cover), Katrina Duncan (interior) is about the art of Graham Percy. De-Building (Justin Paton: Christchurch Art Gallery) is a handbook of the collective exhibition of 14 New Zealand and international artists designed by Peter Bray. In contrast, the third book shortlisted is the beautifully designed Fleur: The Life and Times of Pioneering Restaurateur Fleur Sullivan (Fleur Sullivan: Random House) and the designer is Alan Deare of AREA Design.

The Hachette New Zealand Award for Best Non-illustrated Book sees a shortlist beginning with Janet Frame: In Her Own Words, her published non-fiction writing along with letters, reviews and essays (Denis Harold & Pamela Gordon, eds: Penguin), with Anna Egan-Reid as the designer. Pieces of Mind (Michael C. Corballis: Auckland University Press) designed by Sarah Maxey (cover) and Katrina Duncan (interior) is an introduction to what we’ve learned about the brain over the last 25 years. The third nominee is Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator (Joan Druett: Random House), designed by Saskia Nicol.

The Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book pits a digger, bugs and a travelling restaurant against each other. The books are Bruiser (Gavin Bishop: Random House), designers Gavin Bishop and Carla Sy; The Travelling Restaurant (Barbara Else: Gecko Press), designer Luke Kelly with cover and internal illustrations by Sam Broad; and Two Little Bugs (Mark & Rowan Sommerset: Dreamboat Books) designed by Rowan Sommerset.

The Pearson Award for Best Educational Book choice will be made from texts on maths, marketing and an aspect of Maori-Pakeha history. The trio are Marketing: Real People, Real Choices (Michael R. Solomon, Greg Marshall & Elnora Stuart: Pearson), designers Cameron Gibb (cover) and Marie Low (interior); Theta Mathematics (David Barton: Pearson) also designed by Marie Low; and He Kōrero – Words Between Us: First Māori–Pākehā Conversations on Paper (Alison Jones & Kuni Jenkins: Huia), designed by Sam Bunny.

The HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover will be judged between two titles nominated for other PANZ Design Awards this year, Tupaia: The Remarkable Story of Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator, designer Saskia Nicol; Janet Frame: In Her Own Words, designer Anna Egan Reid. The third nominee is CSA: The Radical, the Reactionary and the Canterbury Society of Arts 1880–1996 (Warren Feeney: Canterbury University Press) designed by Aaron Beehre.

The Mary Egan Ltd Award for Best Typography finalists all gained recognition in other PANZ Design Awards categories: Fleur: The Life and Times of Pioneering Restaurateur Fleur Sullivan designed by Alan Deare; De-Building, designer Peter Bray, and CSA: The Radical, the Reactionary and the Canterbury Society of Arts 1880–1996, designed by Aaron Beehre.

The Gerard Reid Award for Best Book, sponsored by Nielsen Book Services, will be chosen from the winners of these six categories.

“Designers are standing up for themselves and speaking out,” says convenor Jenny Nicholls. Whose skills speak most eloquently will be revealed when the PANZ Design Awards 2012 are presented at the Gus Fisher Gallery in Auckland on 5 July.

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