50 Best Book and Cover Designs | AIGA and Design Observer Announce the Year’s Best-Designed Publications

Whether you’re browsing in a bookstore or shopping online, cover design can bring books to life, providing a glimpse of the world inside. But design’s impact only starts there—the choices a designer makes in typography, paper, binding and layout all affect the way we experience written narratives. AIGA and Design Observer, in collaboration with Designers & Books, have just named the year’s 50 best book and cover designs.

A panel of jurors including William Drenttel, Steven Heller, Jessica Hische, Chip Kidd, Ellen Lupton, Erik Spiekermann, Khoi Vinh and Rob Walker whittled hundreds of online submissions from design fans and readers down to 50 overall best-designed books and 50 best-designed covers. Books published in any form in the English language were eligible, and more than 1,200 entries were submitted from a dozen countries.

AIGA, the professional association for design, has a long tradition of identifying outstanding examples of publication design. Over the past few years the “50 Books/50 Covers” competition has taken place online to allow greater participation, but one thing remains constant—a commitment to celebrating design excellence.

“It is clear from the winning entries that designers and publishers are not just resigned to the new world but are actively challenging it. With information so readily accessible in digital form, anyone going through the trouble of designing, manufacturing, and distributing a traditional book had better be prepared to deliver something special,” said juror Michael Bierut, partner at Pentagram. “The books this year demonstrate astonishing attention to craft, as well as startling ambitions to disrupt expectations about what constitutes a ‘traditional’ book in the first place. Covers as well do double and triple duty, functioning not just as alluring packaging on the bookstore shelf, but as telegraphic icons in the realm of online marketing and sortable rubrics in online libraries.”

See all 100 selections—the 50 best-designed covers and 50 best-designed books—online at Design Observer.

About AIGA

AIGA, the professional association for design, advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, AIGA brings together practitioners, enthusiasts and patrons to amplify the voice of design and creates the vision for a collective future. AIGA defines global standards and ethical practices, guides design education, inspires designers and the public, enhances professional development, and makes powerful tools and resources accessible to all. Learn more at aiga.org/about.

The 50 best-designed covers click here for more info and credits.


Maria Papaefstathiou

VISUAL DESIGNER since 1996 and blogger since 2010. Living in Athens, Greece. She has been focusing her research on poster design and particularly on social poster design and portrait design. Her main poster project is a series of posters celebrating great personalities of traditional and popular culture in Greece and Jamaica. These include actors, singers, musicians, poets etc. This is an ongoing project. “I believe that design is a powerful tool that we designers can use to spark enthusiasm, change mindsets and bring positive actions to our world and our culture”. FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF GRAPHICART-NEWS.COM BLOG. She carefully curates high-quality designs, illustrations, and art, from all over the world that will teach and provoke other designers. Many consider her blog to be an exceptional educational tool. CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL REGGAE POSTER CONTEST which was launched on December 2011, partnering, the creative activist Michael Thompson aka Freestylee. (www.reggaepostercontest.com)


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