50 Books | 50 Covers Competition for Book Cover Design 2017

Publish Date: Jan 27, 2017

Deadline: Feb 24, 2017

AIGA + Design Observer are pleased to announce the  50 Books | 50 Covers competition for books published in 2016.

This time-honored competition aims to identify the 50 best-designed books and book covers of 2016. The selections from the 50 Books | 50 Covers competition exemplify the best current work in book and book cover design. Entries are open to anyone through the process outlined below.

How to Enter

  1. Log in with your AIGA account.
  2. Choose whether your entry should be judged as a cover, a book, or both.
  3. Enter the book information, including title, author, and design credits.
  4. Upload images. Book cover images are required for all entries. One (1) TIFF (no compression), minimum 300 dpi, 2500 pixels or greater on its shortest side, at least 6x9 inches, silhouetted (no background). Image mode; RGB. One (1) web-accessible .png or .jpg, 600 pixels or greater on its shortest side, silhouetted (no background). Image mode; RGB. You are welcome to upload up to six (6) extra images of the project, but we only require you to upload a cover image that can be displayed online and if selected by the jury, included in the AIGA Design Archives.
  5. Review entries for completeness and accuracy in your cart.
  6. Agree to the terms and conditions.
  7. Submit payment online.
  8. If you are entering a book to be judged in the 50 Books portion of the competition, send a physical copy of the book to the judging location; entrants will receive the address and instructions via email. Do not mail books to the AIGA or Design Observer offices, they will not be judged.


A book must consist of at least 24 pages. Except in the case of limited-editions, print runs should be in excess of 250 copies. Books produced as limited-editions are eligible. We require that one book be sent in for judging, and if selected as a winner, an additional three copies be sent for inclusion in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Columbia University’s Butler Library, the Arts Library at Yale University, and the AIGA Design Archives.

Printed books must be either case-bound or paperbound between covers. Portfolios of loose pages do not qualify. Digitally produced books are eligible. Books and book covers published between January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2016 are eligible. Generally, ©2016 will be indicative of publication date. Entries should be for sale to the general public, or, if offered gratis, should not be publications whose primary purpose is to advertise or serve as an annual report or other corporate literature.

International entries are eligible. In order for the jury to understand the content and context, 50 Books entries that are published in languages other than English must have an English-language counterpart: this can be a previously published book or a bilingual book. Non-English 50 Covers entries must include a translation of the title and a US-accessible ISBN or purchasing URL.

For a book to be considered by the jury in the 50 Books competition, a physical copy must be received at the judging location. Do not mail books to the AIGA or Design Observer offices. When a book is successfully entered into the book category, mailing instructions will be sent to the entrant along with the entry confirmation. Only physical books received at the judging location will ultimately be judged. 

Entries in the 50 Covers competition will be judged on the digital file uploaded during the entry process; physical copies do not need to be submitted.

We regret that entries and additional copies of books cannot be returned.


The competition will accept online entries from December 13, 2016 to February 24, 2017. Entries submitted after February 10, 2017 will incur a $25 late fee per book and/or book cover. The online system will be open until midnight Eastern the day of the deadline. All books entered into the 50 Books competition and sent in for judging to the judging location must be postmarked by March 10, 2017.


Eligible entries will appear on the Design Observer site and an email will be sent to the entrant once all online steps are successfully completed. Winners will be notified in the summer of 2017.

Permission to Reproduce Work

By submitting work to the competition, the entrant acknowledges that Design Observer and AIGA reserve the right to use accepted work for reproduction in competitions-related publications; on its websites; in any exhibition of the competitions’ selections; and for educational and promotional purposes. 

Images, credits, and description of selections published by AIGA and Design Observer on its websites, including the AIGA Design Archives, are based on information provided by those who originally submitted the work. The copy submitted may be edited for length or style. AIGA and Design Observer are not responsible for missing information or credits.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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