We are pleased to announce the return of the 50 Books/50 Covers Competition for books published during 2012. Tracing its roots back over close to 90 years to 1924, this survey of the best in book design represents perhaps the longest-standing legacy in American graphic design. It acquires a new life thanks to a partnership between Design Observer
and Designers & Books
The process is simple. A 35-person advisory board will nominate worthy books and covers for consideration. Nominations are also open to anyone through a simple online process. There will be no entry fee. For the second year in a row, first time, short-run publications will be considered along with commercially printed books. We will also consider any English-language book, regardless of country of origin (bilingual books with English text are acceptable).
The editors of Design Observer will comprise a jury to review the nominations and to select the 50 best books and 50 best covers published during 2012. The selections will be exhibited online on three sites: Design Observer, AIGA Design Archives and Designers & Books — a unique opportunity for the winners to be showcased and archived on three sites.
We are proud to honor the profound passion of our community for books and for book design, and excited to extend that passion into the changing world of 21st-century publishing. Thank you for supporting 50 Books/50 Covers.
Historical 50 Books/50 Covers collections from 1995-2010 are viewable in the AIGA Design Archives
. The competition has been sponsored by AIGA since 1924.
The selections from the 50 Books/50 Covers competition exemplify the best current work in book and book cover design. The selections will be exhibited online on three sites: Design Observer
, AIGA Design Archives
and Designers and Books
— a unique opportunity for the winners to be showcased and archived. Nominations are open to anyone through a simple online process outlined below.
The deadline for nominations will be announced in 2013. Enter now! How to Nominate a Book
1. Go to the nomination page
2. Log in or register with Design Observer.
3. Choose if your nomination should be judged as a cover, a book, or both.
4. Enter the book information.
5. Upload a cover image for all cover and book nominations.
6. If you are nominating a book to be judged in the 50 Books portion of the competition, you will need to send a physical copy of the book to Design Observer. Eligibility
A book must consist of at least 24 pages.
Printed books must be either case-bound or paperbound between covers. (Portfolios of loose pages do not qualify.) Digitally produced books are eligible.
Books and book covers designed and/or produced between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 are eligible. Generally, ©2012 will be indicative of publication date. Books published in 2013 will be held for next year's judging.
Except in the case of limited-edition books, print runs should be in excess of 25 copies.
Entries should be for sale to the general public, or, if offered gratis, should not be publications whose primary purpose is to advertise or serve as an annual report or other corporate literature. Student publications are eligible.
Entries from all countries are eligible. In order for the jury to understand the content and context, entries that are in languages other than English must include a brief English translation.
For a book to be considered in the 50 Books competition, a physical copy must be mailed to Design Observer once the entry has been accepted and posted on Design Observer. Only physical books in our possession will ultimately be judged. Book covers entered in the 50 Covers competition will be judged on the digital file uploaded during the nomination process: physical copies do not need to be submitted. Notification
Notification timeline will be announced in 2013. Permission to Reproduce Work
By submitting work to the competition, the entrant acknowledges the right of Design Observer, AIGA and Designers & Books to use accepted work for reproduction in competitions-related publications; on its websites; in any exhibition of the competitions’ selections; and for educational and promotional purposes. Still have questions?
Please contact Betsy Vardell
, managing editor of Design Observer.