50 Books | 50 Covers Competition
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Call for Entries:
AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020
View the Entry Gallery!

This survey of book design represents perhaps the longest-standing legacy in American graphic design. Beginning in 1923, the Fifty Books of the Year competition was a yearly mainstay of AIGA. As dust jackets became more common, covers were added to the competition. From 2012–2018 Design Observer hosted the competition with AIGA through a joint venture. AIGA is delighted to usher in another year of amazing book and cover design.

This time-honored competition aims to identify the 50 best-designed books and book covers of 2020. The juror-selections from the 50 Books | 50 Covers competition exemplify the best current work in book and book cover design. Entries are open to anyone for books published in 2020.

Meet this year’s jurors, including: Gail Anderson, this year’s jury chair, along with Jennifer Morla, Paul Sahre, and Kelly Walters!

“What. A. Year. Books became our best friends as we curled up near the fireplace (or radiator), seeking comfort in something familiar and good. We celebrate the best of the best designs that drew us into the written page in a year that seemed mostly like bad sci-fi.” —Gail Anderson, Chair
“Great book design is the conceptual structure that captures and illuminates the editorial content of the author.” —Jennifer Morla
“The exciting part about opening any new book for the first time is the power it has to influence your relationship to typography or images—by its placement, position or scale on a single page.” —Kelly Walters

The call for entries opened on December 17, 2020. The final deadline will be February 18, 2021 (late fees apply).

Fees and Deadlines

Entry Fees
(per book)

Early Deadline:
February 8, 2021

Final Deadline:
February 18, 2021

AIGA Members






Deadlines: 11:59 p.m. EST

All deadlines are final. Do not mail books to the AIGA offices; instructions will be provided after selections have been made by the jurors.

AIGA members enjoy a discount on entry fees as an exclusive member benefit. To receive the AIGA member discount, join before you begin.


Visit the online entry system for deadlines and eligibilityfile prep and shippingfees and payment, and terms and conditions, and view the growing list of completed entries once the competition opens.

Subscribe here to be notified of the 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2020 competition call for entries in mid-December 2020 and selections in June 2021. Follow @AIGADesign on social media for updates.

Still have questions? Visit contact information and FAQs. Office hours for support are 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. EST (Monday-Friday).


If work is selected by the jurors, entrants will be notified in Spring 2021.

Selections will be published on the competition website. Physical copies will be housed at the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University's Butler Library (RBML) for future generations to enjoy.

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Even in an era of digital books and Insta stories, AIGA understands the timeless, magnetic power of design to engage readers and encourage them to turn the page. That is why the AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers competition continues to recognize the best of book and book cover design from around the world. Selections from past competitions have been added to the AIGA Design Archives—one of the richest online resources available to those who practice, study, and appreciate great design—as well as the physical archives at the Denver Art Museum (1980–2012) and at the RBML at Columbia University's Butler Library in New York City. Winners from 2011–2017 can be seen on Design Observer.




The results of this year’s competition were announced in a press release on May 18, 2020. Explore the gallery: AIGA 50 Books | 50 Covers of 2019


See the 2018 book and cover selections.


See the 2017 book selections and the 2017 book cover selections.
Press release for the juror selections from the 2017 competition.
View the collection in the AIGA Design Archives.


See the 2016 book selections and the 2016 book cover selections.
View the collection in the AIGA Design Archives.


See the 2015 book selections and the 2015 book cover selections.


See the 2014 book selections and the 2014 book cover selections.


See the 2013 book selections and the 2013 book cover selections.


See the 2012 book selections and the 2012 book cover selections.


See the 2011 book selections and the 2011 book cover selections.


Selections prior to 2011 can be found in the AIGA Design Archives.

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