“Simple, perfect”: The 50 best book covers of 2022, according to AIGA

From popular releases by A24 and Standards Manual to paperback poetry, AIGA offers a snapshot of book design excellence across 27 countries.

6 July 2023

On 5 July, AIGA – the professional association for design – announced the winners of its annual book and book cover competition, which has been running since its inception as the Fifty Books of the Year competition in 1923. This year the event saw over 487 entries, with the jury experiencing “extreme difficulty” when making the final selection due to the quantity and quality of entries.

Among the winners was a typographically driven submission from Laura Coombs, the designer behind Mindy Seu’s archival project Cyberfeminism Index. Rodrigo Corral’s peachy cover for Butts by Heather Radke also received high praise from the jury; “Stopped me in the bookstore. Clear, arresting, funny, simple,” says the jury. As did Bloco Gráfico’s design for Abdias Nascimento: A Panamefrican Artist, which used typography to further highlight the artist’s work. Readers can find the full gallery of winning entries here.


Rodrigo Corral: Butts by Heather Radke (Copyright © Avid Reader Press)

Some of the most popular techniques for book and editorial design last year were exposed bindings and mixed paper choices; tactile and craft-led experiments could also be found throughout.

AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers chair Andrew Satake Blauvelt also pointed to the increased diversity in subject matter across categories this year. “This was apparent to me among the cookbooks for instance, which focused on diasporic cuisine or in the number of exhibition catalogues devoted to artists of colour, for instance.”

“The strongest covers really connected to the content of the book, while the book designs displayed a penchant for material choices that really emphasised the physicality or object quality of the book,” says Andrew.


Leftloft: Alex Da Corte: Chicken by Alex Da Corte, Karen Kelly, Barbara Schroeder. Texts by Text by Erica Battle and Amanda Sroka, David Breslin, Rosalyn Drexler, Kim Nyugen, William Pym, Sid Sachs, et al.(Copyright © Dancing Foxes Press)


Julian Montague: Cry Perfume by Sadie Dupuis (Copyright © Black Ocean)


Laura Coombs: Cyberfeminism Index by Mindy Seu (Copyright © Inventory Press)


Bloco Gráfico: Abdias Nascimento: a panamefrican artist by Adriano Pedrosa, Amanda Carneiro (Copyright © MASP)


Studio Elana Schlenker and Jordi Ng / Gabriel Alcala: Florida! by Gabrielle Calise (Copyright © A24)


Designing Cultures Studio: Forgotten Heritage: Uncovering Singapore’s Traditional Chinese Puppets by Caroline Chia and Jesvin Yeo (Copyright © Basheer Graphic Books)

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Everything Studio: Making Water by Laura Jaramillo (Copyright © Futurepoem)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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