Award winner 2023

Karen Exner “HÜTE” • Contact, homepage and jury statement •

HÜTE” from Karen Exner

(Annika Siems)

Not least the unusual format of the book “Hats”, which is perfectly showcased by its iconic cover image, immediately attracts the viewer’s attention.
What at first glance appears to be a simple concept – depicting people with headgear – is at second glance a clever focus on the essentials. The rhythm of the book is repeatedly interrupted by full-page illustrations in which a scene locates the hats shown. The quality of the style and the diversity of the visual language are particularly evident in these works.
An unusual non-fiction book: reduced, with informative details and expressive colors.
The deliberate juxtaposition of different cultures with various hats, all of which sit on top of the heads, illustrates not only the cultural diversity but also the similarity that connects all people.

Verdict of the jury

In Karen Exner’s book “Hats”, a clear awareness of all the design elements used can be seen on every page.
The project is carefully thought out, illustrated and designed in every detail as a book.
The style is a balanced combination of analog and digital techniques. It is strictly reduced, but the illustrator succeeds masterfully in describing both factual information and atmospheric places as well as individual human feelings.
The book is characterized by an intense tension between the clear language of form, the decorative use of colour and the humorous warmth that can be felt behind the illustrations.
It is not just a non-fiction book about hat fashion, but a skillfully illustrated picture book about people all over the world who have the idea of putting something on their heads.

he jury’s decision is clear.
We are impressed and award the Hamburg Picture Book Prize 2023 to illustrator Karen Exner for her book “Hüte”.


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