The standout book at the 2016 PANZ Book Design Awards was James K. Baxter: Complete Prose. Shortlisted for Best Cover and Best Typography, it won the Upstart Press Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book for cover designer Spencer Levine, interior designer Fergus Barrowman, and publisher Victoria University Press. James K. Baxter: Complete Prose went on to win the coveted Gerard Reid Award for Best Book sponsored by Nielsen Book against competition from finalists in other categories.
“It is the complete package – an object of beauty that holds the eye and interest, and demands closer attention,” said convening judge Odessa Owens, Programme Leader for the Whitireia Publishing Programme. “The purple ribbons and foiling work in an unlikely – but extremely satisfying – pairing with the buttery three-quarter binding, which holds the gorgeous full-bleed images and tidy internal page layout. The design not only serves the content, it elevates the work of this literary hero, creating a desirable contemporary classic.”
Owens was joined on the judges’ panel by Arch MacDonnell, Founder and Creative Director of Inhouse Design; and Rowan Sommerset, Illustrator and Book Designer for Dreamboat Books. All three judges were singularly impressed by 101 Works of Art, winner of the HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover. “The cover is breath-taking and the unique folding of the dust jacket is genius, revealing triangular details of highlights from the collection. It’s also completely reversible allowing a different composition of alternative images,” said MacDonnell.
The judges appreciated the elegant and skilful design of Have You Seen Elephant?, which won the Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book. “It achieves a sought-after – but not often found – harmony, particularly in the relationship between its illuminated illustrations and restrained, considered handwritten type,” said Sommerset.
The Edify Award for Best Educational Book was won by See What I Can See, which was commended for introducing New Zealand photography to a young audience in a compelling way. MacDonnell noted “the book is brimming with ideas and the design supports the broad spectrum of work presented”.
The four finalists for the 1010 Printing Award for Best Cookbook all had a confident and functional design, but it was the strong voice and sense of place that set the winning title The Game Chef apart. “The Game Chef‘s design and photography speaks directly – not only to its intended audience, but to the story of the food”, said Sommerset.
Newcomer boutique publisher The Private Three took the PANZ Book Design Awards ceremony by storm, with their book Little Gems winning the Mary Egan Publishing Award for Best Typography for its “joyful and expressive celebration of letterforms and type”. Little Gems went on to win the hotly contested Penguin Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book, one of the most debated by the judges due to the breadth of visually stunning entries. Sommerset commended Little Gems’ “harmonious mosaic of design, illustration and typography”.
The Allen & Unwin Young Designer of the Year Award was also awarded, and this year the recipient was Anna Egan-Reid, announced as the unequivocal winner. Owens was impressed by Egan-Reid’s “skill in dealing with a wide range of texts, images and audiences. May she continue to make books for many years to come.”