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These are the best book covers of 2021 you (probably) haven’t seen.

Emily Temple

June 29, 2022, 2:52pm

Today, AIGA, the professional association for design, announced the winners of their annual 50 Books | 50 Covers competition. Jurists Silas Munro (Jury Chair), Laura Coombs, Brian Johnson, and Kimberly Varella reviewed 605 book and cover design entries from 29 countries to arrive at their final list.

“In a challenging year that confronted an ongoing pandemic, the aftershocks of a global reckoning with systemic oppression, high profile international conflict, designer burnout, and economic woes, one wonders how a design competition focused on book and book covers has relevance. As a past judge for the 50 Books | 50 Covers competition, I had a sense of the meticulous, subtle, and nerdy conversations that can go on during such a competition,” said Munro in a statement. “At the same time, books hold a kind of value, relevance, and grounding that we need in our current messy moment. . . Overall, the thoughtful consideration of material, typography, and image across themes of inspiring culture and social transformations through books and their design brought light into the dark of 2022.” The winning designs will become part of the AIGA collection at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library.

A few highlights from the winners’ circle below; or see the full list here.


Book and cover design by Paula Tinoco


Book and cover design by Studio Loes Claessens


Creative direction by Gustavo Piqueira and Samia Jacintho; illustration by Zansky


Cover design and illustration by Túlio Cerquize


Book and cover design by Honza Zamojski


Book and cover design by Kimberly Varella


Cover design by Emma Campion and Peet Pienaar


Book and cover design by Vic Liu, illustration by Vic Liu; Lafayette Matthews; A. Andrews


Book and cover design by Lucinda Hitchcock and Cara Buzzell


Book and cover design by Kimberly Varella

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