14th Hertzog Award for Book Design to be Awarded

What: The 14th Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design and the Carl Hertzog Lecture

When: 2 to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 9

Where: El Paso Natural Gas Conference Center, UTEP campus

The Friends of the Library at The University of Texas at El Paso will hold an award ceremony to honor the winner of the 14th Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design. Robert Tauber, winner of the 13th Carl Hertzog Award, will give a lecture titled “The Book as Art and the Art of the Book.” The ceremony and lecture are free and open to the public.

Tauber has taught book arts courses for undergraduate and graduate students for more than 35 years. He directs the Logan Elm Press & Paper Mill, and is a Book Arts specialist in the Ohio State University Libraries’ Department of Preservation and Reformatting.

The winner of the 14th Carl Hertzog Award for Excellence in Book Design went to The Press at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe for the work of book designers Arlyn Nathan and Tom Leech on Jack Thorp’s Songs of the Cowboys (2012) by Jack Thorp with editor Mark Lee Gardner and illustrations by Ronald Kil.

The three judges also awarded two honorable mentions. One went to designer Carolee Campbell for Lives of Artists by W.S. Merwin (2013) from Ninja Press in Sherman Oaks, Calif. The other went to J.B. Bryan and Tom Leech for O’Keeffe Stories by Margaret Wood (2012) from The Press at the Palace of the Governors.

Of particular note is how The Press at the Palace of the Governors was the first press to have both a winning entry and honorable mention in the same year.

Nathan studied type history at the Smithsonian Institute and design methodology at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her work is marked by a profound appreciation and love of the subtleties that define typefaces, and it strives to make the text evoke a sense of play, meaning and visual poetry. Nathan has taught at the National Institute of Design in India, Ohio University and the Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Leech, director at The Press at the Palace of the Governors, has more than 35 years of experience in printing, papermaking and related book arts. In 2013, he received the Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. As a curator at the New Mexico History Museum, Leech has organized successful exhibits such as Album Amicorum, which later traveled to Spain, Germany, Switzerland and Turkey.

Gerald Lange, one of the three judges for the 2014 Carl Hertzog Award, received the first Carl Hertzog Award in 1991 for designing The Letter of Columbus on His Discovery of the New World (1989) published by USC Press. He is the founder and proprietor of The Bieler Press in Marina del Rey, Calif. The other two judges were local to El Paso: Antonio Castro H., associate professor of graphic design at UTEP, and Lorez Curlin Retta, Friends of the Library board member with expertise in commercial and residential art and design.

One thing all three judges had in common was a sincere love for the smell, feel and design of books. Each appreciated and sought out the craftsmanship and process behind letterpress printing from this competition’s 48 entries. Indeed, the significance of the award and its potential for changing the life of the recipient weighed heavily on the minds of Lange, Castro and Curlin Retta as the first round of judging continued for an hour longer than originally scheduled.

During the second round, the judges provided numerical scores based on factors such as the binding, title page, paper, typography and layout. During the third round, the judges collaborated and examined the books with the highest scores from the second round to decide on the winner and honorable mentions.

Lange said Nathan and Leech’s winning entry, “seemed the perfect selection, not only because of its exceptional execution and production perfection, but also because it seemed to be so in tune with the tone and work of the awards’ namesake, the great Southwest designer and printer Carl Hertzog. The book’s colored illustrations served as the perfect breaks for the text.”

Curlin Retta said of the winning entry, “Excellent design, the vivid use of materials, and colorfully detailed illustrations created a visual tribute to the cowboy, the Southwest and a rich history.”

Castro said runners-up Bryan and Leech’s entry had “a subtle, elegant and quiet beauty.” He added that Campbell’s entry had “a classic and simple beauty. The other two judges and myself commented on how we felt it was a product of love.”

One additional benefit of the Carl Hertzog Award, aside from celebrating excellence in book design, is that the University has received 723 books from entries donated to the library, and other entries have been purchased at a discount.

The books designed by the winners and runners-up will be exhibited at the University Library for two months following the award ceremony.

For more information about the Friends of the Library or to see a list of past winners, visit: libraryweb.utep.eduabout/friends.php.