The Hunger for Edited Information

ADG Jury Talk with Anna Haas and Irma Boom

Anna Haas and Irma Boom talking to the public before starting the ADG Talk

We have reached the decisive stage of the ADG Laus Awards: when the judges come together in Barcelona and the ADG Jury Talk take place. We hosted, the day before the judges announced the winners of the 48th edition of the prizes, a wonderful talk with Irma Boom (IB), Anna Haas (AH) and Daniel Ayuso (DA), who talked about projects, commissioned work and editorial design.


(DA) What makes you accept or decline a project?

(IB) My first answer is always no. When they call back and make more of an effort I usually reconsider. Time is very valuable for me and I only want to do things I am interested in. I have a sort of instinct about what to do or not to do. I don’t call clients ‘clients’ I prefer the word commission, this way I feel we can talk, have a dialogue and make decisions together. I never do anything for the money there is always something that triggers it.

(AH) I usually say yes. I always have a lot of hope every time I accept a project and I always believe I will be able to do something interesting. I say no when I have lost trust in the client. It is more important the relationship with the team than the project itself.

(DA) Do you prefer to work on your own or within a team?

(IB) I have a small team, we are 3 at the office and I like to keep a small group, even if it is difficult. Therefore, I usually say no, also I had to use a lot of courage to stay in my position. I don’t want to grow, I want to be flexible and autonomous, and it is more important to me than to be a manager of a big studio.

(AH) I work alone, I haven’t found anyone to work with just yet and I prefer to do collaborations and to ask someone to join my projects depending on the work.


(DA) What is the difference between Dutch and Swiss Graphic Design?

(IB) Actually, there are a lot of Swiss designers who are working in the Netherlands and there are a lot of Swiss typography in the Netherlands. Anyway, for us Switzerland is too rigid and we need more freedom, we feel better working in a loose environment.

(AH) A lot of Swiss people go to the Netherlands for Erasmus and they never come back, so it must mean something. I think in a way it is more rigid, I don’t consider myself a Swiss designer because I never studied there but I can see that they are quite rigid and judgmental in using illustration and photography or in using something that is not typography.

ADG Jury Talk

(DA) Do you take your time with experimentation? Do you have self-initiated projects?

(IB) I use all my commissions for experimentation, they are my victims, I really recommend everyone to do the same. I always wanted to do a book for Ellsworth Kelly, I bought a tiny work from him and later that year he died. I thought it would be a good idea to publish a book about that tiny piece of work I bought from him as a tribute. I discussed this with the Kelly Foundation and we decided to do the book. I really experimented with it as much as I wanted and we displayed it at a gallery. I thought no one would buy it but, by the end of the day, it was almost sold out.

 (AH) I also use the commission in this way, each time I start a project it is like I have never done a book before. Also, I have designed an app that shows you exactly where book stores are located, the idea came to me when I was in New York as I received a lot of recommendations about bookstores and I thought it would be a nice to have all of them together.  


(DA) Do you like to work in digital projects?

(AH) Over the years I started to like working on digital projects but, without a doubt, for me ink, material and paper are a big part from my work. When working on digital projects I thought there was something missing and it is difficult to find the right programmers and sometimes I feel lost, and I don’t feel like I do with crafts. For me, as a designer my works are never finished, and it is strange when you think later on about things you could have added.

ADG Jury Talk

(DA) What is editorial going to be like in the future? With all the newspapers going digital, ebooks, digitial publications, etc.

(IB) I am very happy that I am a book designer, because with all the fluxes in the internet, books have become more relevant. The internet is always changing and books are like frozen information. This may be a disadvantage for some people, but for me it is an advantage as it makes the information fixed and a lot of people are hunger for this edited information. This makes being a book designer very interesting.

I have also designed some structures for websites and in my opinion books are very similar to these structures. Also, in 1991 when internet was starting to take off, I based a book on the structure of the internet. The book is about an integral cultural part of our society like painting, photography and videoart and they are going to develop next to each other. 


(DA) What is your favorite book?

(AH) Viviane Sassen book from Irma Boom, I was feeling down about being a designer and I went to a bookstore to look for something that would remind me of the reasons why I design, luckily, I found this book which gave me the motivation to continue.

(IB) One book I had for ages and I always have the need to buy is the Wolf Vostell catalogue for the Rijksmuseum. Also, this book is the heart of my library and I will definitely buy it if I find it in Barcelona.

After the Talk, people enjoyed a beer by courtesy of Moritz

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