The Swiss Federal Office of Culture (SFOC) has always taken an active interest in good book design. With its competition for The Most Beautiful Swiss Books, the SFOC has been promoting book design in Switzerland for almost forty years in recognition of its high quality. Since its inception, various changes have been made to the competition in terms of both content and form. Most recently, the SFOC, acting on behalf of the FDI and in consultation with three Swiss publishers’ associations decided to assume sole responsibility for organizing the competition. In return, the publisher’s associations will assume the role of patrons of the competition.
Since January 2000, a redefined and simplified set of regulations and a new approach to adjudication (the preliminary jury has been replaced by one main jury) have formed the basis of the competition. By 1997, the emphasis of the adjudication in The Most Beautiful Swiss Books had already shifted from technical features to design. Though technical quality and appropriate choice of materials continue to be important criteria, the artistic design of the book has been one of the stated main concerns of the competition ever since.
Prize-winning books are to receive an award and be presented in only two exhibitions per year in Switzerland, at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich and the mudac Lausanne. This year’s jury presided over by Lorette Coen, has singled out 22 books of the 267 submissions for an award.