50 Books 50 Covers
Best of book and book cover design from around the world.
The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) is a professional organization for design.1
The 50 best-designed books and book covers of the year for 2021 are posted at their website celebrating powerful and compelling book design. This survey of book design represents perhaps the longest-standing legacy in American graphic design. Beginning in 1923, the Fifty Books of the Year competition was a yearly mainstay of AIGA. As dust jackets became more common, covers were added to the competition.
There is a short video or slide showcasing each book plus juror observations.
For instance on the comprehensive monograph of Palm Springs–based, artist Jim Isermann the juror notes:
“I truly appreciate the detail of the varying covers and how the peek-a-boo of the case-wrap constantly hugs/holds the interior of the book. The choice of printing on fabric replicates the quality of Isermann's hi/low patterns—at first they could be mistaken for stationery boxes however the unique palette’s and the cloth itself take the book to a whole new level.”3
The American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) was founded in 1914 as a small club of graphic artists, printers, publishers and illustrators in New York City. Since then, the design community has evolved into a nationwide network of professional designers, educators, students and design enthusiasts served by more than 70 chapters.
Selections from past competitions have been added to the AIGA Design Archives. the physical archives at the Denver Art Museum (1980–2012) and at the RBML at Columbia University's Butler Library in New York City. From 2012–2018 Design Observer hosted the competition with AIGA through a joint venture and winners can be seen on Design Observer (2011–2017). Recent winner galleries include: 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2018, 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2019, 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020, and this year's 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021.