The physicality of print and innovative use of type celebrated in the 50 best book cover designs of 2016

US-based professional design association AIGA and editorial site Design Observer published the results of the competition yesterday, listing 50 designs they say “successfully demonstrate design excellence in book and cover design.” More than 700 submissions were received for this edition from more than 23 countries, judged by a panel including New York-based designer, writer, and educator Gail Anderson; Chronicle Books creative director Michael Carabetta; and Design Observer founding editor Jessica Helfand.

Seeing Things: A Kid’s Guide to Looking at Photographs, designed by Atelier Dyakova

According to Carabetta, the final selection of books were excellent “not only in design—[but] in production; in paper, mixing coated and uncoated… People are getting into the real, physical qualities of the book.”

We Must Become Idealists or Die, Gustav Metzger, designed by Estudio Herrera’s Emilio Pérez

His fondness for designs celebrating the physicality of print is shown in a number of selections making bold or unusual use of paper stocks, such as Irma Boom’s designs for Fondazione Prada’s William N. Copley catalogue. Helfand noted its “beautiful use of newsprinted, uncoated papers,” and  added: “a surprisingly animated grid make this a perfect package. The type bleeding on the spine is icing on the cake!” She was also impressed with We Must Become Idealists or Die, Gustav Metzger, designed by Estudio Herrera’s  Emilio Pérez: “My favourite endpapers of the Year! Terrific articulation of bilingual text, and beautiful selection of colours, papers, and images.”