Reputations: Irma Boom

Anne Miltenburg
Irma Boom
Reputations / Interview [EXTRACT]

‘I compare my work to architecture. I don’t build villas, I build social housing. The books are industrially made and they need to be made very well. I am all for industrial production. I hate one-offs. On one book you can do anything, but if you do a print run, that is a challenge. It’s never art. Never, never, never.’

In a time when print is under attack one might assume that Dutch graphic designer Irma Boom (b.1960) would be suffering, yet she is thriving as never before.

Her commissioners (a term she prefers to ‘clients’) have included Chanel, Rem Koolhaas and the Rijksmuseum. Fifty of her books are part of the collection at MoMA in New York, and the University of Amsterdam maintains her archive. She has won the Gutenberg Prize and the Leipzig Book Fair gold medal, and this October she will receive the Vermeer Award (the Dutch state prize for the arts, €100,000 to spend on a ‘special project’).


Spread from Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor, Yale University Press, 2006.
Top: Portrait by Phil Sayer.



Cover of Sheila Hicks: Weaving as Metaphor, Yale University Press, 2006.


Irma Boom: The Architecture of the Book (miniature edition, Lecturis, 2013). This is an overview of Boom’s career with an introduction by Rem Koolhaas and text by Mathieu Lommen, curator at the Special Collections department of the Amsterdam University Library.


Anne Miltenburg, writer, designer, The Hague

Read the full version in Eye no. 88 vol. 22 2014


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