50 Books | 50 Covers

This time-honored competition aims to identify the 50 best-designed books and book covers. To celebrate powerful and compelling book design, we’re calling all designers, publishers, and authors to enter their most inspired creations from this incredible year.

Call for Entries: AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021 identity. A flutter of books floats across the image containing the AIGA logo and thw words 50 Books | 50 Covers
Call for Entries: AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021 identity. A flutter of books floats across the image containing the AIGA logo and the words 50 Books | 50 Covers

Add your creations to the stacks.

The call for entries is closed for the annual AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers competition, recognizing the best of book and book cover design from around the world. Final deadline: February 15, 2022

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Meet the Jurors for 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021

We are excited to share that Silas Munro, a partner at Polymode, will serve as the jury chair for 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021! Learn more about this year's jurors.

Black and white portrait of Silas Munro

Jury Chair

Silas Munro

Portrait of Laura Coombs

Laura Coombs

Portrait of Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson

Portrait of Kimberly Varella

Kimberly Varella

Books are intimate. Books are affordable art. They are vessels for information. They become time capsules of human stories. To me, beautifully designed and manufactured books are invaluable objects, and I hold them close to my heart.”

Kimberly Varella, Content Object

50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021 Juror

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About AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers

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. AIGA is delighted to usher in another year of amazing book and cover design.

Even in an era of digital books and Insta stories, AIGA understands the timeless, magnetic power of design to engage readers and encourage them to turn the page. That is why the AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers competition continues to recognize the best of book and book cover design from around the world. Selections from past 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 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, and 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2019, and this year's 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020.

Competition Details

     All deadlines are at 11:59 p.m. ET.

    Entry Fees
    (per book)

    Early Discount Deadline:
    December 30, 2021

    Regular Deadline:
    February 3, 2022

    Final Deadline:
    February 15, 2022

    AIGA Members

    $70

    $85

    $110

    Nonmembers

    $100

    $115

    $140

     

    Join before you enter to save!

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    If work is selected by the jurors, an email notification will be sent to entrants of winning work in May 2022.

    Juror selections will be published in a collection on the competition website and shared across AIGA channels. Physical copies will be housed at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University's Butler Library (RBML) for future generations to enjoy.

    Recognition includes:

    • Showcase in the online Winners Gallery;
    • Official press release distributed to leading industry outlets and media providers;
    • Official digital assets, including competition logo for winners to self-promote;
    • Coverage on AIGA social media channels;
    • Coverage in AIGA newsletters.

    We are excited to share that Silas Munro, a partner at Polymode, will serve as the jury chair for 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2021. Learn more about this year's jurors.

    Visit contact information and FAQs. Office hours for support are 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. ET (Monday-Friday).

    There are three deadlines and member discounts to create multiple pathways for participation while also covering the costs of producing a competition at this scale, including admin, marketing and communications, platform fees, designer fees, and more.

    AIGA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to advance design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. As the largest contemporary membership association for design, AIGA connects and builds community through awards, advocacy, education, research, writing, and resources for every career stage. All entry fees support AIGA’s programs and move our mission forward.

    We bring free or discounted programs to our community of members. AIGA offers financial assistance for events and education through professional development credits and academic scholarships to increase access to learning.

    Learn more


    The exciting part about opening any new book for the first time is the power it has to influence your relationship to typography or images—by its placement, position or scale on a single page.

    Kelly Walters

    50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020 Juror

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    Call for Entries Cycle

    Call for Entries Open
    December 8, 2021

    Call for Entries Close
    February 15, 2022

    Earliest Notification
    May 2022

    Earliest Announcement
    June 2022

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    Resources

    Contact Us:

    Competitions

    50 Books | 50 Covers Winner Kyle Meyer Interwoven

    50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020 Winners

    With 696 entries from 36 countries, the juror-selections from this year's 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020 competition exemplify the best current work from a year marked by unparalleled change.

    Explore the Gallery

    Great book design is the conceptual structure that captures and illuminates the editorial content of the author.

    Jennifer Morla

    50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020 Juror

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    What. A. Year. Books became our best friends as we curled up near the fireplace seeking comfort in something familiar. We celebrate the best of the best designs that drew us into the written pages.

    Gail Anderson

    50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020 Jury Chair

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    Building Partnerships With A Vibrant Community

    The National Partnership Program is about leadership, relevance, and impact—with, within, and through design—to build and sustain programs, initiatives, and resources that champion a more contemporary and inclusive profession.