50 Books | 50 Covers competition

AIGA + Design Observer are pleased to announce the 50 Books | 50 Covers competition for books published in 2016.

This time-honored competition aims to identify the 50 best-designed books and book covers of 2016. The selections from the 50 Books | 50 Covers competition exemplify the best current work in book and book cover design. Entries are open to anyone through the process outlined below.

Thank you for participating! The call for entries is now closed.


Application period and how to enter

The call for entries opens on December 13, 2016. Entries are accepted through the online application system only. All entries must be received by the final deadline of February 24, 2017 to be considered by the jurors. All deadlines are final.

AIGA members enjoy a discounted entry fee as an exclusive member benefit. Not a member? Join today.

Entrants will be notified in summer 2017 if their work is selected by the jurors. Watch this space for updates. Want to see this year's competition? Completed entries can be viewed on Design Observer's website.

Looking for even more details?

Additional information is available on the 50 Books | 50 Covers entry system, including rules and eligibility, entry process, and fees. Want to see what's been entered? View the growing list of completed entries. Looking for this year's jurors? There will be three fab jurors reviewing entries later this spring.

Do not mail books to the AIGA or Design Observer offices. Instructions will be provided once your entry is submitted successfully.

About 50 Books | 50 Covers

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. This survey of the best in book design represents perhaps the longest-standing legacy in American graphic design. In 2012, Design Observer, in partnership with AIGA, began hosting the competition and through a new joint venture, we are delighted to usher in another year of amazing book and cover design.

Past selections from AIGA’s book design competitions have been added to the AIGA Design Archives—one of the richest online resources available to those who practice, study, and appreciate great design—as well as the physical archives at the Denver Art Museum (1980–2012) and at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University's Butler Library (RBML) in New York City.

Books selected from this year’s competition will be housed at both the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University and at RBML at Columbia University’s Butler Library.

During the call for entries, AIGA will share juror selected book and book cover designs from the AIGA Design Archives in a social media campaign called “Bookends”. The extensive archive contains inspiration from book design competitions dating back to 1924. Follow along each week @AIGAdesign and use #AIGAarchives and #AIGA5050 to share your favorites.

Past selections

See the 2015 book selections, and the 2015 book cover selections.

See the 2014 book selections, and the 2014 book cover selections.

See the 2013 book selections, the 2013 book cover selections and read the press announcement.

See the 2012 book selections, the 2012 book cover selections and read the press announcement.

See the 2011 book selections, the 2011 book cover selections and read the press announcement. One hundred books—50 books and 50 book covers—were selected as the best designed in 2011 through a partnership with Design Observer and Designers & Books.

Still have questions?

Email 5050@designobserver.com. Office hours for support are 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EST (Monday-Friday).