Designers & Books Milestone Lists

50 Books/50 Covers 2012 Winners

By Steve Kroeter June 28, 2013

50 Books | 50 Covers

Designers & Books has partnered for the second year with Design Observer and AIGA to continue the “50 Books/50 Covers” competition honoring excellence in book design. The competition made its first appearance in 1922 as “Fifty Books of the Year.” The intervening 90-plus years have brought major changes to “50/50” and at the same time have supported its enduring values.

As Michael Bierut writes this week on Design Observer,

“It is clear from the winning entries that designers and publishers are not just resigned to the new world but are actively challenging it. With information so readily accessible in digital form, anyone going through the trouble of designing, manufacturing, and distributing a traditional book had better be prepared to deliver something special. 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. . . . The designers who selected the 50 best books 92 years ago would be baffled, and perhaps even outraged, by some of the examples of the craft we honor today. Yet one hopes that they would recognize a familiar commitment to the authors, the readers, and the common culture that make these achievements so valuable, and so indispensable today.”

Among the 2012 competition winners, announced earlier this week, are designers, authors, and publishers that we have been proud to feature on Designers & Books. Winners who have contributed book lists to our site are graphic designers Peter Mendelsund, recognized for his cover design of The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus (Knopf); and Louise Fili, for the design of the book of her work (which she also authored) Elegantissima (Princeton Architectural Press). In the Life of Cities, edited by Dean of Harvard Graduate School of Design and book list contributor Mohsen Mostafavi (Lars Müller), was voted one of the “50 Books.”

Cover of Ken Garland by Adrian Shaughnessy (Unit Editions)

Several competition winners made our list of Notable Design Books of 2012, including Elegantissima (see above); FUSE 1-20 by Neville Brody and Jon Wozencroft (TASCHEN); Information Graphics by Sandra Rendgen and Julius Wiedemann (TASCHEN); Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies by Danielle Aubert et al. (Metropolis Books); and Torre David by Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner (Lars Müller).

Books on two graphic design greats, Herb Lubalin and Ken Garland, from author/publisher Adrian Shaughnessy of Unit Editions (art director Tony Brook) were also among the “50 Books” named. Other publishers behind winning entries in the design fields were Actar (The Sniper’s Log by Alejandro Zaera), Laurence King (Advertising for People Who Don’t Like Advertising by KesselsKramer), and Rizzoli (Doris Duke’s Shangri-la by Donald Albrecht et al.).

See all 50 book selections and 50 cover selections on Design Observer.


Related posts:
Lessons Learned: Peter Mendelsund’s Book List

Intimate Identities: Louise Fili’s Book List


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