07.14.15
The Editors | Essays

50 Books | 50 Covers Winners Announced



We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 50 Books | 50 Covers competition, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books. The fifty winning books can be viewed here; the fifty winning covers can be viewed here.

This competition continues a tradition that dates back over ninety years, when American Institute of Graphic Arts, mounted the show The Fifty Books of 1923. The exhibition went right to the heart of what the then-fledgling profession held dear: the design and production of books. In an age where reading increasingly happens on screens, it is clear from the winning entries that designers and publishers are not just resigned to the new world but are actively challenging it. We received book submissions from fourteen countires this year, including Poland, Turkey, Lithuania, Brazil, France, Russia, and Switzerland. A little more than thirteen percent of eligible books were accepted, and only ten percent of eligible covers. These are the best of the best.

The books this year demonstrate astonishing attention to craft, as well as startling ambitions to disrupt expectations about what constitutes a "traditional" book in the first place. Covers as well do double and triple duty, functioning not just as alluring packaging on the bookstore shelf, but as telegraphic icons in the realm of online marketing and sortable rubrics in online libraries.

We are happy to continue our commitment to books and book design, and feel honored to get to sit in a room with all the amazing entries. 

This year we are pleased to announce that we’re producing the ultimate “book of books” to catalog the winners of this year’s 50 | 50 competition. Publisher, author, and previous 50 Books | 50 Covers recipient Dave Eggers will introduce the book. Photographer George Baier, who has photographed countless authors and book jacket projects himself, has thoughtfully taken pictures of every book and cover winner. Mohawk has generously donated the finest paper. And with Blurb, we will be printing our book in the United States. We are in the final phases of design and production, and plan to go to press at the end of July. The catalog will ship in October. In conjunction with the book, an exhibition featuring the winners will open at the AIGA national conference this October, in New Orleans.

We hope to fund all this with our readers' and supporters' help through our very first Kickstarter campaign!

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