Stand by to fill your boots because the daddy of design blogs has unveiled both its 50 best book designs and 50 best book covers of last year. Continuing a tradition first started by the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1922, Design Observer has honoured 100 titles it believes encapsulate the best examples of a craft fighting for its future in the digital age.
“It is clear from the winning entries that designers and publishers are not just resigned to the new world but are actively challenging it,” Design Observer wrote in a blog post. "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.”
It went on: “The designers who selected the fifty best books 92 years ago would be baffled, and perhaps even outraged, by some of the examples of the craft we honour today. Yet one hopes that they would recognise a familiar commitment to the authors, the readers, and the common culture that make these achievements so valuable, and so indispensable today.”
There were some things we knew and some we didn’t but a special mention to Everything Studio whose design for Curiosity and Method: Ten Years of Cabinet Magazine by Sina Najafi was given the nod in both categories.
Book Design Winners (Selection)
Book Cover Design Winners (Selection)
- Hick Duarte uses his camera to document the plurality of Brazilian youth culture
- Fhuiae Kim explores “the third language” in her calming graphic design works
- Folch designs a typeface embodying the “energetic universe” of acid house
- Illustrator Michael McGregor turns the mundane into something extraordinary
- All together now: Pascale Claude compiles a visual history of the beloved footie record
- “Part-animal, part-household object”: Frédérique Rusch on her wonderfully cryptic illustrations
- “We want to challenge and disturb the audience”: meet graphic design studio Alliage
- Matt Willey leaves The New York Times Magazine and joins Pentagram
- Ikki Kobayashi’s new series investigates the tension between shapes and negative space
- “Perfectly beautiful things don’t attract me”: Heesun Seo on her nontraditional practice
- The Pantone Colour of the Year 2020 makes a statement about peace and communication
- Moleskine’s digital notebook and a visual inventory of Earth win Apple's Apps of the Year