Irma Boom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Irma Boom
Irma Boom presenting her book Grafisch Nederland 2005 Kleur/Colour at the University of Amsterdam, November 2004
Born (1960-12-15) December 15, 1960 (age 54)
Lochem, Gelderland, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Education AKI Art Academy
Known for Graphic design
Awards Guternberg Prize, 2001

Irma Boom (born (1960-12-15)15 December 1960 in Lochem, Gelderland, Netherlands), is a Dutch graphic designer – who specializes in book making.


Boom attended the AKI Art Academy in Enschede, Netherlands, where she studied graphic design.[1] She then worked at the Dutch Government Publishing and Printing Office in The Hague for five years before founding Irma Boom Office in Amsterdam in 1991. She works both nationally and internationally in the cultural and commercial sectors; her clients include the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Wiel Arets, Chanel, Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, Inside Outside, Museum Boijmans, Zumtobel, Ferrari, Vitra, NAi Publishers, and Camper.

Since 1992 she has been a critic at Yale University in the USA, and has both lectured and given workshops worldwide. Her work has received many awards, and she is the youngest person to have ever been honored with a Gutenberg Prize.[2]


Boom has made over 300 books, 100 of which are in the permanent collection of the MoMA in New York City. She worked on the 2,136 page SHV Think Book as both editor and designer for five years; this book is responsible for her international fame. Research for the book took place in Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Vienna. The anniversary book was one of her biggest and communicated a narrative on the history of that company. It was designed to be distributed worldwide, yet Boom has calculated that it will take five hundred years for the book to spread to all the corners of the globe. Four thousand copies were printed in English and five hundred in Chinese.[3] Her think book has become an international icon of Dutch design.[4] And her design for the book Weaving as Metaphor, by the American artist Sheila Hicks, was awarded 'The Most Beautiful Book in the World’ at the Leipzig Book Fair. Her work has been shown at numerous international exhibitions, including her own solo exhibition in Amsterdam in 2011.[5]

Boom introduced the idea of a "fat book"; that is, books that are overtly thick. When asked what would make her create a book that was two inches tall and half as thick, she replied: “The book is small because whenever I make a book, I start by making a tiny one. Usually I make five, six or seven for each book, as filters for my ideas and to help me to see the structure clearly. I have hundreds of those small books and am so fond of them. I’ve always wanted to make one for publication, but no one has ever wanted to do it. And I thought, well, this time, I can.”[6] Titled Irma Book: The Architecture of the Book, it contains 704 pages and 450 images. She has received extensive media coverage of her work, and the New York Times profiled her in an article titled "A Small Book in a Big Career," published on August 8, 2010.[7]

Boom has designed most of her books with creative freedom in her designs. She designed a book titled Beautiful Ugly by Sarah Nuttall, with an olive-green colored cover and no pictures or text, who stated that: "the book was designed in Amsterdam by Irma Boom, and I thank her for her extraordinary eye and prodigious talent for making books beautiful."[8]


  1. ^ "Network « Follow The money". 1962-12-18. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  2. ^ Thirteen, Secret. "A genious graphic designer Irma Boom". Secret Thirteen. Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  3. ^ JAbreo (2008-11-15). "Design History Mashup: Irma Boom, Thinkbook". Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  4. ^ "Dutch Profiles: Irma Boom". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  5. ^ "Irma Boom — Calendar — Walker Art Center". Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  6. ^ "Irma Boom's Miniature Monograph Reviewed: Observatory: Design Observer". Retrieved 2011-11-15. 
  7. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice (2010-08-08). "A Small Book on a Big Career". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Beautiful ugly - Sarah Nuttall - Google Books. Retrieved 2011-11-15. 


Further reading[edit]

  • De best verzorgde boeken = The best Dutch book designs, 1989–...
  • Irma Boom / Text Irma Boom; Konzept und Gestaltung Kristina Brusa; hrsg. von Julia Blume und Günter Karl Bose; Übers. Alpha-Sprachen, Leipzig; Wordworkers, Amsterdam. Leipzig, 2002. Gutenberg-Galaxie, 2.
  • New book design / comp. and ed. by Roger Fawcett-Tang; introd. and interviews by Caroline Roberts. London 2004. ISBN 185669366X
  • Ontwerper & opdrachtgever: Harry N. Sierman & Querido, Reynoud Homan & Wim Quist, Irma Boom & Paul Fentener van Vlissingen / comp. by Mathieu Lommen. Amsterdam, 2005. PDF
  • Irma Boom: Biography in books: books in reverse chronological order, 2010-1986, with comments here and there / book concept Irma Boom; text Mathieu Lommen, Irma Boom; design Irma Boom, Sonja Haller. Amsterdam, 2010. (A miniature book.) ISBN 9789490895013.
  • Irma Boom: autonomously assigned / text Mathieu Lommen. Amsterdam, 2014. Publ. on the occasion of the Johannes Vermeer Prijs 2014. ISBN 9789066501324