Expert class Book design 2021


New: Expert class Book design

The Expert class Book Design has been offered by the Plantin Institute for 10 years now and the formula is rock solid. For many years we have been getting questions from our students whether this practical class can also be offered in English. As of this academic year, the course will be organised twice. The Dutch-language course will be given via face-to-face education, the English-language course via distance learning (Zoom), so students from all over Europe will be able to follow it.

During this Expert Class, you will design a book from A to Z. During ten course days, spread over a period of six months, graphic designer and typographer Jurgen Persijn will guide you step-by-step through the design and production process of your book. He is also assisted by external experts, such as Sara De Bondt, Sofie Jacobs and Johan Van Looveren.

More about the course in Dutch >


The assignment

Each student designs the same book. The content is of a scientific-academic nature and will include numerous photos, illustrations and footnotes, a family tree and an index. All texts and images are delivered digitally on the first day of class. Each student is thus confronted with the same material and must find an optimal form to convey the information to the reader. Therefore, the exchange of experiences and insights between students is a valuable part of the course. Experiments are encouraged.

Expert class Book design 2021This year you will be working on a book containing the correspondence of the famous Belgian painter James Ensor with the Rousseau family. The book consists of essays (lavishly illustrated with Ensor's work), the complete correspondence and translations of the essays.

The assignment for the English and Dutch courses is the same. After the course, the designs will be exhibited and the public will be able to compare the outcomes of the two groups.


Mix of distance learning with contact teaching

For international students, distance learning classes are undoubtedly very appealing. They save on hotel and travel costs. However a course on book design cannot be done without physical contact with the books themselves. That is why we bring all students to Antwerp once for an intensive two-day program. This program is a mix of lectures and study visits. Paper, printing, finishing and binding methods are central.

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Expert class Book design 2021

Open day 2021

Open Day: December 10

The institute’s open day will take place on Friday December 10, 2021 and this is the perfect opportunity to inform you about the new online edition of the Expert class Book design. Jurgen Persijn will answer all your pressing questions, you can view some of the teaching materials and the graduation work of our previous years.

This edition will be held via video-chat, with Zoom. The English session will be at 1 p.m. Central European Time.

Enthusiastic? Register with an email to

Is this date not suitable for you? Then we make an appointment for an extra session via Zoom.

Patterns in Nature: 7 variations

Exhibition graduation works Book designIn last year’s edition of the Expert class Book design, all students were given the task of redesigning the book Patterns in Nature. This theoretical book from 1974 describes how various natural phenomena can be traced back to a number of basic mathematical patterns.
Together with the text, over 300 black-and-white photos and figures formed the content that the students had to redesign. 
This exhibition opens November 15 and shows the final results. It is surprising how seven very different books were designed with the same content.

From Mondag November 15 till Mondag December 6

University library of UAntwerpen
Prinsstraat 13, Antwerp
Open weekdays from 8.30am – 9pm
On Friday until 7 pm
Saturday from 10 am – 5 pm
Free entrance.
Reservation is not necessary, but a mouth mask is mandatory.

Exhibition 2021

Expert class Type design online edition 2021–22

From this year on, Plantin Institute's most successful Expert class Type design now combines online lessons with a four-day program in Antwerp. That way the students can have the unique access to the collection of punches and matrices of the Museum Plantin-Moretus and they will have more ways to interact with each other.

Registration for the Expert class Type design is closed. This year’s group will have 16 students from 11 countries: USA, Brazil, UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Turkey and Australia.

Learn more about it >