Irma Boom

Irma Boom is a Dutch graphic designer and illustrator, who specialty is bookmaking.  She was born in Lochem, Gelderland, the Netherlands on December 15, 1960.  Having been known as ‘The Queen of books’, she has created over 300 books and has a reputation for defying the norms for traditional book design.  At the AKI Academy of Art & Design in Enschede, she studied graphic design and art.  Soon after she graduated, she took up work at the Dutch government printing and publishing office for five years in The Hague.

With her extensive and most well-known project to date on the SHV trading company commissioned by Paul Fentener van Vlissingen, which took place without any time constraints nor a budget, she was able to gain the acclaim of an exceptional book designer from the industry internationally.

Under the name Irma Boom Office, which she founded in 1991, Boom has been designing and producing books for over 30 years for clients nationally and worldwide, in specific from the culture sector.  Both working as an editor and designer, she prefers to design without constraints in an autonomous manner.  She places emphasis on creating books that challenge traditional physical design as well as printed content.

Boom had the honor of being the youngest recipient of the Gutenburg Prize, which celebrates the outstanding contributions of institutions and artists’ role in the book industry.  The MoMA has displayed a number of her books in a permanent collection, and along with that, her work has been showcased at the University of Amsterdam as a personalized setup.

Her research process is particularly notable due to the fact that she commits every ounce of time and effort she has into each project to produce a special experience for viewers.  She seems to reinvent the book and changes the interpretation of the information exhibited in it.

Boom is extremely passionate about the impact and importance of the print industry as well as its decline in production as the evolution of technology has progressed to more digital formats for media and art.  She states in her interview covered by Eye Magazine, “The way information spreads depends on the inventions of that time; paintings have survived, photos, and the book is another form” (Miltenburg, 2014).  She cares deeply about the tactile experience of reading and handling a physical copy of work as opposed to the faster methods of production from digital work.

Even though she can be skeptical of the internet, a lot of her influences come from the digital world.  She simply wants to tell stories and bring to light interesting content to inspire others.  Each book of hers is a curated experience of functional and unconventional formatting with her unique approach to layout, tactility, and text.

As of current, Boom is at a high rank in the book industry and still has much to explore about the various components of book design and storytelling.  As her interests expand into other industries such as textiles, new projects come on the horizon, so she is always on the lookout for new inspiration and stories.

Works Cited

“Eye Magazine.” Eye Magazine | Feature | Reputations: Irma Boom, www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/reputations-irma-boom#:~:text=Her books on color inspired the rise of the internet.

“Irma Boom.” School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1 Jan. 1970, www.saic.edu/events/irma-boom#:~:text=Irma Boom is an acclaimed, of Art & Design in Enschede.&text=For five years.

“Irma Boom on Standing up for Yourself, Even in the Face of Controversy.” It’s Nice That, www.itsnicethat.com/features/irma-boom-in-conversation-graphic-design-160320.

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