STEDELIJK MUSEUM EDUCATION · 2000 · Sketchbook · Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam · 14,7 x 21 mm · 76 pages · Concept & Text by Esther de Vries
The museum asked for a redesign of an A4 format questionaire for children. But since the questions provided a sense of 'looking at art is like doing a boring test' a research about education materials was done. Then a proposal for the content was written.
Four topics were proposed that seemed relevant: context, size, abstraction and reproduction, and applied art during the break.
Besides images from art, also images from everyday life were added to show that art can have connections with daily life. And it makes the booklet more lively and therefore attractive.
The intention was to make a booklet what one could use at any exhibition that is on show. Since the content of this book is basically about 'looking', it can be used anytime you visit the museum.
The questions encourage someone to put down into their own words what they see, right there on the spot, without lapsing into “I think it’s just beautiful"-arguments or enumerating classifying concepts as "it is monochrome or expressive”.
The questions, the design, the variation in the booklet, the seductive design of the response-pages, the reference images that were added from everyday life or from art... nothing seems like a boring test anymore.
Quite a few questions relate to the moment you are there, the physical aspects of the artwork you are looking at, or how you perceive the artworks together in the room. Things you can’t experience on a website or in a book.

Looking for a narrow sans serif typeface, the typeface Univers was chosen, the font Wim Crouwel used for many of his designs for the Stedelijk museum.
Each question was typographed in a way that the sentence covered the whole page; to make sure people would turn the page and write their answers down on the page that was especially designed for their notes.

Within each topic the questions lead you along a route, starting doing simple observations until ‘researching’ something. Using this structure it functioned as a ‘tool’ for composing the questions.
There is as much space reserved for the answer as it is for the question. In addition, the response-page is sometimes shaped in a way that prompts you to respond.
Two texts were added to the booklet (one about a picture of Rineke Dijkstra, and one text by Charlotte Mutsears about experiencing art in general). The booklet already starts to become yours while using it, but these texts makes you want to take the booklet home even more.
Besides images from daily life also images from artworks were added to explain questions or to be able to compare things. It also makes the booklet more lively and therefore attractive.