10 Book Designers to Watch

These award-winning covers caught our eye with their hot hues (think pink and orange), modern graphics and twists on classic tales.

The designers of award-winning book covers may be bringing their craft and visionary work to a room near you. The winners of the 2017 50 Books 50 Covers competition by AIGA, the professional association for design, and Design Observer represent clever and timeless elements that could inspire interiors.

"L'Heure Bleue, or The Judy Poems"

"L'Heure Bleue, or The Judy Poems"

"L'Heure Bleue, or The Judy Poems" by Elisa Gabbert is designed by Abby Haddican and published by Black Ocean.

Photo by: Abby Haddican Design

Abby Haddican Design

The cobalt blue and pink that Minnesota designer Abby Haddican used for “L'Heure Bleue, Or The Judy Poems” are all the rage right now, says Libby Castro, co-owner with her husband, Patrick, of LP/w Design Studios, a graphics and interiors firm based in Wisconsin. Plus, the typeface is thoughtful and bold.

“Light pinks, dusty pinks, rose color and rose gold are all showing up in inspiration for interiors,” she says.

"Design: The Invention of Desire"

"Design: The Invention of Desire"

"Design: The Invention of Desire" is by Jessica Helfand and published by Yale University Press.

Photo by: Yale University Press

Yale University Press

Jessica Helfand’s “Design: The Invention of Desire” shows “restrained simplicity” and “perfect details,” as described by Gail Anderson. Isn’t that something to strive for in your home, too?

"Romeo and Juliet"

"Romeo and Juliet"

"The Pelican Shakespeare" series includes "Romeo and Juliet." The cover is designed and illustrated by Manuja Waldia.

Photo by: Penguin Classics

Penguin Classics

Manuja Waldia’s illustrations and design for “The Pelican Shakespeare” represent a fresh approach to Shakespeare, writes Helfand, a founding editor of Design Observer. Whether you think it looks like a tattoo, neon sign or wire frame design, the art by Waldia, who is from India but now lives in Oregon, lend a “contemporary aura to classic literature,” she writes.

"The Joy Luck Club"

"The Joy Luck Club"

The "Penguin Orange" series includes "The Joy Luck Club" by Amy Tan from Penguin Classics. The designer is Paul Buckley.

Photo by: Penguin Classics

Penguin Classics

The art director for that series, Penguin Creative Director Paul Buckley also is the art director and designer for “Penguin Orange,” a series that includes “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Snow Leopard” and “East of Eden.” Not only is the orange recognizable with Penguin books, but it’s a hue that people have embraced in fashion and interior design.

“We like the classic, bold print juxtaposed with the modern typeface and symbolism,” Castro says. 

"The Bed Moved: Stories"

"The Bed Moved: Stories"

"The Bed Moved: Stories" by Rebecca Schiff is designed by Janet Hansen and published by Knopf.

Photo by: Knopf

Knopf

Janet Hansen’s design for “The Bed Moved” is amusing and eye-catching, writes Michael Carabetta, a judge for 50 Books 50 Covers. Hansen is a senior designer at Alfred A. Knopf, the publisher.

“While the concept of shuffled type is not new, it is served up in a fresh manner that arrests the eye and compels you to work out what it says. And making something new (again) is in part, what design does,” he writes.

"Chris Cran: Sincerely Yours"

"Chris Cran: Sincerely Yours"

"Chris Cran: Sincerely Yours" by Josee Drouin-Brisebois, Ryan Doherty, Nancy Tousley, William Wood and Bruce McCulloch is designed by Stefan Canuel and published by National Gallery of Canada.

Photo by: Dwayne Brown

Dwayne Brown

The concept by Canadian designer Stefan Canuel for “Chris Cran, Sincerely Yours” is modern and cool, writes juror Gail Anderson.

"Impossible Modernism: T.S. Eliot, Walter Benjamin and the Critique of Historical Reason"

"Impossible Modernism: T.S. Eliot, Walter Benjamin and the Critique of Historical Reason"

"Impossible Modernism: T.S. Eliot, Walter Benjamin and the Critique of Historical Reason" by Robert S. Lehman is designed by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein and published by Stanford University Press.

Photo by: Stanford University Press

Stanford University Press

The husband-and-wife team of Mitch Goldstein and Anne Jordan, based in Rochester, New York, has designed two award-winning books, “Impossible Modernism” and “Dada Presentism: An Essay on Art and History.”

"Dada Presentism: An Essay on Art and History"

"Dada Presentism: An Essay on Art and History"

"Dada Presentism: An Essay on Art and History" by Maria Stavrinaki is published by Stanford University Press. The designers are Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein.

Photo by: Stanford University Press

Stanford University Press

Impossible modernism is a “spatially playful exploration of typography,” writes Hefland. For the Dada book, “the modern execution kind of turns it on its head, which I love,” writes juror Gail Anderson.

"House is a House is a House is a House is a House: Architectures and Collaborations of Johnston Marklee"

"House is a House is a House is a House is a House: Architectures and Collaborations of Johnston Marklee"

"House is a House is a House is a House is a House: Architectures and Collaborations of Johnston Marklee" by Reto Geiser is published by Basel Birkhäuse. The designers are Noëmi Mollet and Reto Geiser.

Photo by: Johnston Marklee

Johnston Marklee

MG&Co., a Houston-based design practice, is led by Noemi Mollet and Reto Geiser, who also are trained architects. With “House is a House is a House is a House is a House,” we couldn’t resist spotlighting their work because the book features the work of Los Angeles-based Johnston Marklee. From the cover, the text is “dynamically articulated and highly legible,” writes Helfand.

"The Great William: Writers Reading Shakespeare"

"The Great William: Writers Reading Shakespeare"

"The Great William: Writers Reading Shakespeare" by Theodore Leinwand is designed by Matt Avery and published by University of Chicago Press.

Photo by: University of Chicago Press

University of Chicago Press

The combination of the traditional typeface and handwriting in “The Great William” reflects a popular trend in design. Designer Matt Avery — a principal designer at University of Chicago Press — was the illustrator, along with Megan Avery, of a book that blends classic and contemporary. 

“I think it is refreshing for people to see handmade work in a world so digital,” Castro says.

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