Listen to the bees: All winners of the PANZ Book Design Awards 2022 – The Spinoff | Ad On Picture

The awards, where Aotearoa’s books are judged solely on their covers.

It’s hard to beat a nice looking book as an object to have and hold. Structured, eye-catching, sitting and waiting for everything to get done. Beautiful books are an art object that will develop interest over time. There’s this whole thing about not judging a book by its cover etc., but that concept seems so outdated in this age of big-run publishing.

There’s a hell of a lot of books being published every week, every week, so there’s no harm in making sure they compete for our eyes and aesthetic tastes as much as our imaginations. Here are this year’s PANZ Book Design Awards winners along with some thoughts, controversies and more:

Gerard Reid Award for Best Book, sponsored by Nielsen BookData

WINNER: Conversātiō In the company of the bees by Anne Noble with Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Anna Brown & Matt Law. Interior design by Anna Brown.

I actually gasped with bibliophilic delight when I received this book earlier this year. Mainly because the dust cover is a very tactile deep blue fabric and when you take it off and unfold it reveals a constellation and a swarm of golden bees. It’s damn gorgeous. And then you see the stunning binding, all layers and stitching in neat U-shapes. It feels like you have something old-school, almost medieval. And that’s big for a book nerd. Really big.

Inside it is just as wondrous. The paper is delicious, the reproductions of Anne Noble’s artworks are stunning, the variety of content from scientific to whimsical is dynamic and fun. Very deserving winner. Anna Brown is a miracle. No complaints here. Continue.

Publisher’s own copy with the dust jacket removed so you can see the beautiful binding (Photo: Claire Mabey)

Penguin Random House New Zealand Award for Best Illustrated Book

WINNER: Conversātiō — In the company of bees by Anne Noble starring Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Anna Brown & Matt Law. Interior design by Anna Brown.

See above. Excellent. Continue.

Upstart Press Award for Best Non-Illustrated Book

WINNER: A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Paula Morris and Alison Wong (Auckland University Press). Cover designed by Keely O’Shannessy. Interior design by Keely O’Shannessy with typesetting by Tina Delceg.

This book went up against Rita Angus: An Artist’s Life by Jill Trevelyan, which is stiff competition. I was curious as to why it was shortlisted as it was first published in 2008 – the answer was that the book was eligible for this year’s awards because it was completely redesigned for its re-release in conjunction with the recently published Rita Angus Exhibition at Te Papa.

Still, A Clear Dawn deserves this win. The cover is mesmerizing. The notes on the book state that the cover “Flexibind cover printed in 4c with glossy machine varnish on linen-wrapped 250gsm card. Well, this shiny fabric was a great call because it shimmers and shifts and is a beguiling start. From then on, the book is stylish and elegant. Sometimes anthologies can feel overwhelming or crammed, but not this one: A Clear Dawn gives each author space on a very nice page.

Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book

WINNER: My Cat Can See Ghosts by Emily Joe (Beatnik). Designed by Emily Joe.

Heavy category! Among the shortlists is Gavin Bishop’s Atua, which swept up at the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults; and The Tiny Woman’s Coat by Joy Cowley and Giselle Clarkson, which has some of the cutest, most expansive spreads.

Emily Joe’s My Cat Can See Ghosts has those spooky eyes from the start. I tested this cover on a four year old who immediately wanted to know more about the spirits and why they are in a cat’s eyes. The text is also hand drawn (custom typography is the technical term for it) and they blend perfectly with the images, like ectoplasm.

Lift Education Award for Best Educational Book or Series Primary

WINNER: Inside New Zealand Wildlife by Dave Gunson (Bateman books). Cover design by Dave Gunson & Alice Bell. Interior design by Alice Bell

So it’s literally about the insides of creatures and the cover shows a cross-section of a takahe, so you’re right… in there, bones and arteries and all. It’s certainly an engaging start. The word ‘Inside’ is stamped in red above the words ‘New Zealand Wildlife’ so it’s like a typographical joke protecting against classified information. That sentiment doesn’t permeate the double-page spreads — inside, it’s a noble affair: detailed, scientific drawings reminiscent of 19th-century natural history illustrations. Lots of accompanying information alongside.

The shortlist featured two worthy contenders: Toitoi Jillion 2 (cover: Vicki Birks, Toitoi Media with cover illustration by Jasper Macknight-Wilson (age 11) interiors: Kelvin Soh and Sam Wieck, DDMMYY), which features student artwork (crazy, colourful, moving) and write; and Why is this spider dancing? Amazing Arachnids by Aotearoa (designed by Kate Barraclough, Kate Frances Design).

The arachnids really should have taken it, in my opinion. The craze for spiders jumps from the cover to every page. The mix of photography, diagrams, illustrations keeps each distribution dynamic and curiosity high. Consistency of the design principle matches the eye-opening feel you want to convey to young readers, especially when it comes to a potentially intimidating topic.

Lift Education Award for Best Educational Book or Series Secondary/Tertiary

Winner: Not a winner, but special recognition Social Policy Practice and Processes in Aotearoa New Zealand Edited by Graham Hassall and Girol Karacaoglu (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Tim Denee. Interior design by Megan van Staden.

So there were only two books shortlisted for this category (the other book was Tūtira Mai: Making Change in Aotearoa New Zealand). So neither were good enough to win, but Social Policy Practice and Processes in Aotearoa New Zealand received a “special recognition”. So basically the winner? OK.

1010 Printing Award for Best Cookbook

WINNER: Homemade: Everyday Seasonal Recipes by Lucy Corry (Penguin Random House New Zealand). Cover designed by Cat Taylor with original cover art by Evie Kemp. Interior design by Cat Taylor.

A hundred percent worthy winner. This is the book I turn to on days when I just want to curl up in the corner of the kitchen and cry myself to sleep when I’m trying to figure out dinner for my family. Evie Kemp’s cover makes everything seem a lot more doable, even adorable. It has a storybook vibe — as if Vanessa Bell made a Bloomsbury picnic book for a charming and artistic time filled with veggies and canned fish. Inside, the photography is crisp and delicious. The layout is clear, simple and colorful. Delicious.

Allen & Unwin Award for Best Adult Commercial Book

WINNER: Kurangaituku by Whiti Hereaka (HUIA publishers). Designed by Te Kani Price and Camilla Lau.

I was initially taken aback by this shortlist. It was definitely surprising to see Kurangaituku in a great way here: literary fiction, especially border-breaking novels like this one, isn’t usually seen as a commercial offering. Jenna Todds (one of the Judge) Opening comment for this category is: “This category could be considered controversial? What is commercially? This led to a long discussion in our jury team. Therefore, we have come up with a list of finalists that fall within the definition of commercial. In summary, this commercial is tantamount to a book that appeals to a large audience and… quite simply sells.”

Well that’s pretty brilliant. Just selling, no attempt to categorize genres. So, to the winner: Kurangaituku is one of the most exciting books to arrive in Aotearoa recently. This is the two cover novel as readers can start the story at either end of the book. There’s no front or back, just either way, and a midway intertwining: it completely reverses the linear way of reading and thinking about the story, and it’s genius. I’m sure Whiti Hereaka’s formal challenge was difficult for her publishers to handle, but they absolutely pulled it off. The weight and texture of the cover is also luxurious (“linen finish paper”) – it’s a pleasure to hold as you devour the story, as is the font inside (Arno Pro, regular) a joy is eye.

HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover

WINNER: Rangikura by Tayi Tibble (Te Herenga Waka University Press). Designed by Xoë Hall.

Yes indeed. Impossible to top Xoë Hall’s stunning artistry and the way this cover debunks any preconception that poetry is a quiet, understated kind of literary form. Tayi Tibble’s star is so bright and this cover has Ascension written all over it.

Te Herenga Waka University Press Award for Best Typography

WINNER: He Ringatoi O Ngā Tūpuna by Hilary and John Mitchell (Poton & Burton). Designed by Floor van Lierop, This is Them.

The book notes say about the typography:

Body text: Morison Semi Light, 8.5 pt, 14 pt line spacing

Emphasis/quotes in text: Morison Semi Light Italic, 8.5 pt, 14 pt line spacing

Footnotes: Morison Light, 7pt, 12pt line spacing

Captions: Morison Regular, 6 pt, 9 pt line spacing

Tables, including Whakapapa tables: Respublika FY X Bold, 6pt, 7pt Leading, Capped and Respublika FY Bold, 7pt, 7pt Leading

Section opening pages: ‘Part’: Morison Regular 100pt, capped. Title: Morison Semi Bold 36 pt, 42 pt lead, capped

Part IV of the book (on Isaac Coates’ Māori issues):

Title: Morison Display Bold, 54pt, 34pt line spacing

Subtitles: Morison Display Italic, 21 pt, 24 pt line spacing

Subheading 1: Morison Bold, 10 pt, 14 pt in front, capped

Subheading 2: Morison Bold, 10 pt, 14 pt line spacing, upper and lower case

Blue portrait pages in Part IV:

Title: Morison Bold, 21pt, 25pt line spacing, capital letters

Subtitles: Respublika FY Bold, 10 pt, 13 pt at the beginning, capped

Sub-subheading: Respublika FY Bold, 7pt, 9pt Leading, capped

Captions: Respublika FY Semi Light italics, 7 pt, 11 pt line spacing, caps

Parts I, II, III, V (context and background on Isaac Coates):

Title: Morison Display Italic, 32pt, 37pt line spacing

That will mean a lot to someone. The book is very pleasing to the eye. Well done.

2022 Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand Emerging Designers

WINNER: Te Kani Prize (HUIA Publishers)

One of Kurangaituku’s designers, surely one of the most intriguing challenges in fiction in ages. Great work, worthy win.

Bookseller Aotearoa New Zealand People’s Choice Award

WINNER: Conversātiō — In the company of bees by Anne Noble starring Zara Stanhope and Anna Brown (Massey University Press). Cover designed by Anna Brown & Matt Law. Interior design by Anna Brown.

Perfect symmetry. What a buzz.

For more information on the PANZ Book Design Awards 2022, visit website.

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