Boom maakt boek
Documentary : Boom maakt boek
documentary by Lex Reitsma, featuring Irma Boom
launched in 2018 by Selfmade Films, 55 minutes
The first time I heard about Dutch designer Irma boom and the extraordinary books she makes, was back in 2003 when I started to study graphic design. Irma Boom, who’s considered to be (one of) the world’s best book designers, has lifted book design to a higher level by transforming books and graphic design into 3D objects. Not surprisingly, many of her books can be found in museums worldwide. They are works of art that need to be experienced instead of just looked at or read.
During the 55 minutes of the documentary, we get to know Irma Boom as a down to earth, extremely passionate, and hard working designer. We can see how her book designs come to life, how she develops an idea into a one of a kind book. She really is an autonomous designer and can and will only work for clients that give her carte blanche to design a book. Even clients like Chanel, Het Rijksmuseum, Renault or Mercedes, know that they can trust Irma and give her permission to design a book entirely to her own insights. This results into a wide variety of work, every book she designs is a unique piece of art.
In the documentary we follow the development of two very different projects. Boom is working on a book for fashion designers Victor & Rolf and, a completely different and personal project, she’s also working on a book that’s an hommage to the American painter Ellsworth Kelly. A screen print of one the Kelly’s works that Irma once bought, is the source of inspiration for this book.
“Het kan altijd beter” / ‘There’s always room for improvement’
– Irma Boom
One part of the documentary I really like, is when she visits a man who used to be the librarian, driving around with a suitcase full of books when Irma was a little girl. Every Wednesday afternoon, little Irma was on the lookout, hoping he’d stop by. One of these afternoons, Irma even showed him the very first book she’d just designed and asked for his feedback. Irma still has this first book she ever made and shows it to the old man once more. He can’t remember the book itself, but he does remember little Irma, a child that did go off the beaten track. One thing this man said to Irma so many years ago, is still on her mind with every project she’s working on: “het kan altijd beter” (in English: ‘There’s always room for improvement’).
In the documentary Irma also shows us her own favourite bookdesign, a work she designed for Chanel. It’s a completely white book, with the design embossed into the pages, no ink was used. About this book she says:
“I think this is the ultimate version of a book;
you can’t replace it by a flat surface.
The design of this book can only exist as a 3D object,
as an object you can touch and feel.
It cannot exist in any other way.”
– Irma Boom
official trailer of ‘Boom maakt Boek’
To learn more about Irma Boom and the projects she’s working on, have a look at her website. For information about the documentary, click here. The documentary can be watched online for free, and for a starter find the trailer of ‘Boom maakt Boek’ above.