Celebrate 50 Books | 50 Covers at Future Perfect: What’s next in book design

50 Books | 50 Covers

We don’t have a magic eight ball, but we do have four epic book designers to help us predict the future.

Date: September 14, 2017
Time: 4:00pm
Place: The Scholastic Auditorium at 557 Broadway, New York City (between Spring and Prince)
Registration: RSVP list is full. Registration is closed.

Design Observer and AIGA Design Archives invite you to celebrate the current 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2016 winners, and discuss the future of book design. We'll start the afternoon with a recognition of the winning work, then enjoy a lively panel discussion with Barbara Glauber, Juliette Cezzar, Brian LaRossa, Joan Wong, and more, all followed by a reception.

We would like to thank The Scholastic Design Forum for hosting this event.

Established in 1923 by the American Institute of Graphic Arts as “Fifty Books of the Year” and re-branded in 1995 as 50 Books | 50 Covers, the competition is now the longest continually running design competition in the United States.

The books will become part of the AIGA collection at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library and at the Robert Haas Arts Library at Yale University. Selections are included in the AIGA Design Archives, a searchable database of historical images documenting nearly 100 years of design excellence from this time-honored tradition.

The call for entries for “50 Books | 50 Covers of 2017” will be announced late this year.

Observed | February 03

Brian Collins on design clichés. [JH]

The Tate Modern’s “public” viewing area allows museum visitors to look straight into the homes of the residents of a nearby building: interested readers can nerd out on the forty-seven page ruling that explains why a design decision can fall prey to the laws of public nuisance. [JH]

Lou Dorfsman and Al D’Amato’s powerful advertisement from 1962: an appraisal. (Via Natalia Pangaro.) [JH]

Remembering Carin Goldberg. [JH]

Coming soon to The Design Museum in London, an exhibition on design and history—organized by the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. [JH]

Will the future of design be collaborative? Figma’s Yuhki Yamashita thinks so. [JH]

Designers and layoffs. [JH]

Proving that America really is in crisis, the US State Department changes its official font to Calibri. Discuss! [JH]

The artist whose book covers distilled the nineteen-eighties. (via Mike Errico) [JH]

Ruth Adler Schnee, one of the more important textile designers of midcentury modernism, dies at 99. [JH]

In Denmark, thinking—and designing—out of the (grey) box. [JH]

Jerald Cooper’s aim is to make architecture and design more accessible by using layman’s language to break down barriers typically set up by white academics with advanced degrees. [JH] []


Observed | January 13

Corn husks were just the start: a Mexican designer in London writes his own rules. [JH]

Wieden+Kennedy London launches standalone branding and design studio—called—NOT Wieden+Kennedy. (Play their logo generator yourself, here.) [JH] []


Observed | December 20

Inclusive design, at Microsoft. [JH]

Best design stories of 2022, from The Guardian. [JH] []


Observed | December 14

Penmanship, cursive, handwriting—what’s the point? [JH]

Set on half an acre in the lovely hamlet of High Falls, New York, the studio that once served Marc Chagall is for sale. [JH] []


Observed | December 12

After escaping from a creatively-repressed and unsatisfactory graphic design career, Sticht became a public safety officer at the University of Rochester. (There’s hope for us all!) [JH] []


Observed | December 09

Weird and wonderful artifacts, via Jason Kottke. [JH]

Design fiction—a speciulative pracrtice that combines science fiction, design thinking, and foresight—might be the next innovation in business. [JH]

For the love of drawing. [JH]

Design and sex. [JH]

Design nerds—rejoice! [JH]

In the latest issue of Print, Paul Sahre discusses his grammy nomination with Debbie Millman. [JH] []


Observed | November 28

Both standard and limited collector’s editions of MuirMcNeil’s System Process Form are now available at Volume, together with a range of uniquely seductive rewards.

Also from Volume: a never-before-seen selection of Paul Burgess photographs documenting the British band, Pulp. Compiled by Burgess and Louise Colbourne, This Is Hardcore is available for pre-purchase now. [JH] []


Observed | November 21

We were sad to hear that the visionary George Lois, died last week. He was 91. [BV] []


Observed | November 18

Chicago Design Through the Decades opens today and runs through the end of the year. The project starts with Art Deco in the 1920s and goes through the 2020s with digital portraits produced using neural networks. [BV] []

Art and immersion, according to David Hockney. In London, through April. [JH]

Striking art and design faculty at Parsons and The New School make headlines—as they should. [JH]

Wakanda Forever‘s costumes represent a coming together of cultures. [BV]

Japandi! [JH]

Memorials are retrospective but also aspirational: They are statements about who we mourn and prescriptions for how we mourn; in a way, they are self-portraits. [JH] []


Observed | November 10

Sirenia, a new font from Felix Braden, is made up of organic shapes and ornamental curves. [BV] []

Asia’s premier annual event on design, innovation and brands for illuminating conversations with global creative leaders: from 28 November to 3 December. [JH]

Shrink it and pink it: Karen Korellis Reuther explores gender bias in product design. [BV]

We‘re listening to Sketch Model, a new podcast hosted by our friend Sara Hendren that focuses on on engineering education and its need for the humanities and arts. [BV]

Design and ... cannabis? [JH]

Brad Pitt—yes, THAT brad Pitt—and his man cave (including Nick Cave) of fellow bros—we mean, artists. (Yes, you read that correctly). [JH]

Design and the cringe factor. [JH] []


Observed | October 14

Bold! Domed! and ROUND! The new smart watch. From Google. [JH] []


Observed | September 30

Adobe. Figma. TWENTY BILLION DOLLARS. Discuss! [JH]

Can a design studio democratize innovation? Sam’s Club thinks so. [JH]

A retrospective of the South African artist, William Kentridge opens at the Royal Academy in London this week, and runs through early December. [JH]

When the former President of Harvard pays attention to typography, it’s time to pay attention to her. [JH] []


Observed | September 16

Eye candy? (Eye dairy?) Behold: the Barcelona Butter Chair! [JH]

A new exhibit at the Victoria & Albert museum reveals what objects people choose to repair—and how they want them fixed. [BV] []


Observed | September 09

NYC is looking for volunteer artists to paint its garbage trucks. [JH]

Dezeen announces the 2022 award winners. [JH]

Artificial intelligence in the service of ... the skyscraper? [JH]

The Smithsonian announces the winners of the National Design Award. [JH]

Wellness—for designers. [JH] []


Observed | August 13

Dizzying discs and obscene wordplay—revisiting Marcel Duchamp’s 1926 film debut. [BV]

For Ben Watson, who leads MillerKnoll, every great designer is an optimist. [JH]

Tina Charad—a Los Angeles-based South African by way of Britain—on the challenges of graphic in film. [JH]

Entertainment for the dog days of August: Focukups are digital mockups that show your work in, um, real conditions. [JH] []


Observed | July 29

Conceptual magazine covers, and why they matter. [JH] []


Observed | July 22

Deem is a design journal established upon the notion that design is fundamentally a shared experience that adds value to communities. [JH]

Fast Company shares its favorite design books of summer. [JH]

Design and surrealism, an exhibition at the London Design Museum. [JH]

Claes Oldenberg, the Swedish-born American Pop artist known for his monumental sculptures of everyday objects, has died. He was 93. [JH]

Manuhuia Barcham, Managing Director, Archetekt, will be the next head of the AIGA Board of Directors. [JH] []


Observed | July 15

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About (Design And) Sex But Were Afraid To Ask. [JH]

“He’s even branched out into graphic design himself, with a little help from Naoto Fukasawa, in a bizarre collaboration that has yet to see the light of day.” Kanye West does design. (And doesn’t.) [JH]

Sreoshy Banerjea has been appointed by Mayor Eric Adams as the next Executive Director of the New York City Public Design Commission. [JH]

“He’s not just a designer,” Steve Jobs once said of Jonathan Ive, then-design director at Apple. “He has more operational power than anyone at Apple, except me.” [JH] []


Observed | July 08

The American designer Arnold Skolnick who—Inspired by Matisse’s cutouts—created the iconic Woodstock poster in 1969, has died. He was 85. [JH]

Where graphic design meets architecture: Thonik’s new studio, in Amsterdam. [JH]

Marcus Fairs, the founder and editor-in-chief of Dezeen, has died. The well-known design journalist was 54. [JH]

2022 SEGD Award winners announced. [JH] []


Observed | June 17

Molly Young reviews Alexandra Lange’s new book, Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall. (Read an excerpt here.) [JH]

Can you quantify creativity? [JH]

Zimbabwean born designer, visual artist, and educator Nontsikelelo Mutiti has been appointed the next Director of Graduate Studies in Graphic Design at Yale School of Art. [JH] []


Observed | June 03

A critique of poster design goes viral. [JH]

Colin Forbes—who, with Alan Fletcher, Theo Crosby, Mervyn Kurlansky and Kenneth Grange co-founded the international design firm, Pentagram, in the early 1970s—has died at 94. [JH]

Are school shootings a design problem? Texas Senator Ted Cruz thinks so. [JH]]

In the United States, there are five requirements for design patentability. Do you know what they are? [JH]

Italian design legend Riccardo Falcinelli on design philosophy—and reality. [JH]

Read It And Weep Department: Just when you thought a more diverse cast of characters (think women and people of color, for starters) might actually be on their way to getting some long-overdue airtime, Austrian brothers Jono and Benji Bergmann release a film on ... Bruce Mau! [JH] []


Observed | April 29

Creatives for Ukraine, an open platform with over one thousand digital artworks submitted showing solidarity with Ukraine. [BV]

Trained as an Industrial designer at Notre Dame, Michigan state senator Mallory McMorrow takes on the GOP. [JH]

Yup. [JH]

Designers! They’re just like us! “Grey’s friend Jamie Lee Curtis helped design the cover of Out of the Corner, using what she described in a phone interview as “D.I.Y. photoshop phone app skills.” [JH] []


Observed | April 26

Award-winning American artist and illustrator, Marshall Arisman, has died at 83. Steve Heller’s tribute is here. [JH] []


Observed | April 08

Kevin Lippert, the founder of Princeton Architectural Press, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 63. [JH]

Forbes offers “graphic design on a budget” advise—in the name of leadership. [JH]

The saga to redesign Rhode Island’s license plate continues, with design educators weighing in. [JH]

An early Easter gift for a grateful librarian: Charles Darwin’s notebooks, long missing, mysteriously returned! (Via Jen Renninger) [JH]

Educator, artist, activist and civil rights era photographer Doris Derby has died. She was 82. [JH] []


Observed | March 18

MIT announces The Morningside Academy for Design, a new hub for cross-disciplinary education, research, and innovation across the design professions, and which will be housed at the School of Architecture and Planning. [JH]

Karen Hoffman, a seasoned educator and industrial designer, is named the next President of ArtCenter, in California. She will be the first female president in the college’s ninety-year history. [JH] []


Observed | March 11

The 2020 National Security Law, slogans, and the art of the pictogram: a thread on Twitter. (via Blake Eskin.) [JH]

Owning the apple—one logo at a time. [JH] []


Observed | March 04

Emeline King, Ford’s first black female transportation designer, has a few things to say about trailblazing. [JH] []


Observed | February 25

The value of well-designed work. [JH]

In Berlin: Konstantin Grcic on design, function, and the new normal. [JH]

How to design a bike lane. [JH] []



Jobs | February 03