The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Notable Book Covers of 2016

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It is that wonderful/awful time of year. Wonderful because we get to look back at some of the amazing work people have done over the past 12 months. Awful because lists are arbitrary and someone always misses out.

I’m not going to say these are the ‘best’ covers of year. I don’t think it’s fair, and I don’t feel qualified to make that kind of judgement. This post is more an attempt to reflect the year in covers as I saw it — the covers I liked; the covers I thought were well done; the covers I thought were interesting; the covers that I thought were a bit different. 

Like last year, I’ve clustered my selections around designers. Not only does this allow me to post more covers, it means I can show a greater diversity of work.

I am truly sorry to all the hardworking and talented designers (and art directors) whose work I have overlooked this year. I do my best. It is not enough. Bring on 2017.

Addlands design Jenny Grigg
Addlands by Tom Bullough; design by Jenny Grigg (Granta / June 2016)

Also designed by Jenny Grigg:


All Things Cease design Mario Hugo
All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage; design by Mario Hugo (Knopf / March 2016)


Association-Small-Bombs design Matt Vee
The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan; design by Matt Vee (Viking / March 2016)


Barkskins design by Anna Morrison
Barkskins by Annie Proulx; design Anna Morrison (Fourth Estate / June 2016)

Also designed by Anna Morrison:


Beast design Mark Ecob
Beast by Paul Kingsnorth; design Mark Ecob; illustration Alan Rogerson (Faber & Faber / July 2016)


9781770899421
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall; design by Alysia Shewchuck (House of Anansi / August 2016)


A burglar's guide_cvr_revised.indd
A Burglar’s Guide to the City by Geoff Manaugh; design by Nayon Cho (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / April 2016)


But What if We're Wrong design Paul Sahre
But What If We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman; design by Paul Sahre (Blue Rider Press / June 2016)

Also designed by Paul Sahre:


cannibal-artwork-wangechi-mutu
Cannibal by Safiya Sinclair; design by Nathan Putens; artwork by Wangechi Mutu (University of Nebraska Press / September 2016)


Cannibals in Love design Na Kim
Cannibals in Love by Mike Roberts; design by Na Kim (FSG Original / September 2016)

Also designed by Na Kim:


Childrens Home design Jaya Micelli; Art by Valerie Hegarty
The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert; design by Jaya Miceli (Scribner / January 2016)

Also designed by Jaya Miceli


Comet Seekers design Chloe Giordano
The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick; design by Chloe Giordano (Harvill Secker / August 2016)


congratulations on everything design Gary Taxali
Congratulations on Everything by Nathan Whitlock; cover art by Gary Taxali (ECW / May 2016)


dark-flood-design-rafi-romaya-illustration-timorous-beasties
The Dark Flood Rises by Margaret Drabble; design Rafi Romaya; cover illustration by Timorous Beasties (Canongate / November 2016)

Also designed by Rafi Romaya:


Dialogue design Catherine Casaline
Dialogue by Robert McKee; design by Catherine Casalino (Twelve Books / July 2016)

Also designed by Catherine Casalino:


don’t i know you? design Phil Pascuzzo
Don’t I Know You? by Marni Jackson; design by Phil Pascuzzo (Flatiron / September 2016)

Also designed by Phil Pascuzzo:


The Encounter design David Pearson
The Encounter: Amazon Beaming by Petru Popescu; design by David Pearson (Pushkin Press / February 2016)

Also designed by David Pearson:


Essex Serpent design Peter Dyer
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry; design Peter Dyer (Serpent’s Tail / June 2016)


design Zoe Norvell
Faithful by Alice Hoffman; design by Zoe Norvell (Simon & Schuster / November 2016)

Also designed by Zoe Norvell:


gamblers-anatomy-design-gray318
A Gambler’s Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem; design by Gray318 (Doubleday / October 2016)

Also designed by Gray318:


Girls on Fire US design Robin Bilardello
Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman; design by Robin Bilardello (Harper / May 2016)

Also designed by Robin Bilardello:


The Good Immigrant design James Paul Jones
The Good Immigrant edited by Nikesh Shukla; design by James Paul Jones (Unbound / September 2016)

Also designed by James Paul Jones:


guineveres-design-lauren-harms
The Guineveres by Sarah Domet; design by Lauren Harms (Flatiron Books / October 2016)

Also designed by Lauren Harms:


the-hatching-9781501125041_hr
The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone; design by Chelsea McGuckin; art by David Wu (Atria Books / July 2016)


 How Propaganda Works design Chris Ferrante
How Propaganda Works by Jason Stanley; design by Chris Ferrante (Princeton University Press / May 2016)

Also designed by Chris Ferrante:


How To See design Peter Mendelsund
How to See by David Salle; design by Peter Mendelsund (W.W. Norton / October 2016)

Also designed by Peter Mendelsund:


Imagine Me Gone design Keith Hayes
Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett; design by Keith Hayes (Little, Brown & Co. / May 2016)

Also designed by Keith Hayes:


Is That Kafka design Erik Carter
Is That Kafka? 99 Finds by Reiner Stach; design by Erik Carter (New Directions / April 2016)

Also designed by Erik Carter:


Knockout design by Matt Dorfman
Knockout by John Jodzio; design by Matt Dorfman (Soft Skull / March 2016)


Legoland design by Justine Anweiler illo Axel Bizon
Legoland by Gerard Woodward; design by Justine Anweiler; illustration by Axel Bizon and Lena Sarrault (Picador / February 2016)

Also designed by Justine Anweiler:


Little Nothing by Marisa Silver; design by Rachel Willey (Blue Rider Press / September 2016)
Little Nothing by Marisa Silver; design by Rachel Willey (Blue Rider Press / September 2016)

Also designed by Rachel Willey:


Lonely City
The Lonely City by Olivia Laing; design Henry Sene Yee; photograph by Jerome Liebling (Picador USA / March 2016)



Looking for the Stranger by Alice Kaplan; design by Isaac Tobin (University of Chicago Press / September 2016)

Also designed by Isaac Tobin:


Lost Time Accidents design Pete Adlington
The Lost Time Accidents by John Wray; design by Peter Adlington (Canongate / June 2016)

Also designed by Pete Adlington:


Ministry of Nostalgia design Andy Pressman
The Ministry of Nostalgia by Owen Hatherley; design by Andy Pressman (Verso / January 2016)


moonglow-design-adalis-martinez
Moonglow by Michael Chabon; design by Adalis Martinez (Harper / November 2016)


The Muse design Ami Smithson cover art Lisa Perrin
The Muse by Jessie Burton; design by Ami Smithson, cover art by Lisa Perrin (Picador / June 2016)

Also designed by Ami Smithson:


museum_of_modern_love_design_sandy_cull
The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose; design by Sandy Cull (Allen & Unwin / August 2016)


My Father the Pornographer-design by Jamie Keenan
My Father the Pornographer by Chris Offutt; design by Jamie Keenan (Atria / February 2016)

Also designed by Jamie Keenan:


The Nix by Nathan Hill; design by Oliver Munday (Knopf / August 2016)
The Nix by Nathan Hill; design by Oliver Munday (Knopf / August 2016)

Also designed by Oliver Munday:


permanent_resident_design_alissa_dinallo
Permanent Resident by Roanna Gonsalves; design Alissa Dinallo (UWA Publishing / November 2016)


pond design by Alex Merto
Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett; design by Alex Merto;  cover art: detail from ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’ Margriet Smulders (Riverhead / July 2016)

Also designed by Alex Merto:


pull-me-under-design-rodrigo-corral-illustration-june-park
Pull Me Under by Kelly Luce; design by June Park (Farrar, Straus & Giroux / November 2016)


Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli; design by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Allen Lane / October 2016)
Reality is Not What it Seems by Carlo Rovelli; design by Coralie Bickford-Smith (Allen Lane / October 2016)

Also designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith:


Sex and Death design Luke Bird
Sex and Death edited by Sarah Hall and Peter Hobbs; design by Luke Bird (Faber & Faber / September 2016)


Smoke
Smoke by Dan Vyleta; design by Mark Swan (Weidenfeld & Nicolson / July 2016)


start-of-something-collage-by-marion-de-man-design-by-suzanne-dean
The Start of Something by Stuart Dybek; design Suzanne Dean; cover art by Marion de Man (Jonathan Cape / November 2016) 

Also designed by Suzanne Dean:


story-of-reason-in-islam-design-anne-jordan
The Story of Reason in Islam by Sari Nusseibeh; design by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein (Stanford University Press / November 2016)

Also designed by Anne Jordan and Mitch Goldstein:


c9781925321302
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel; design by Allison Colpoys (Scribe / August 2016)

Also designed by Allison Colpoys:


13-ways-design-by-ploy-siripant-lettering-joel-holland
13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad; design by Ploy Siripant; lettering by Joel Holland (Penguin / February 2016)

Also designed by Ploy Siripant:


Trees design David Mann
The Trees by Ali Shaw; design by David Mann (Bloomsbury / March 2016)


version-control-design-janet-hansen
Version Control by Dexter Palmer; design Janet Hansen (Pantheon / February 2016)

Also designed by Janet Hansen:


where-the-bird-sings-best-design-Richard-Ljoenes
Where the Bird Sings Best by Alejandro Jodorowsky; design by Richard Ljoenes (Restless Books / April 2016)


Wonder US design Kimberly Glyder
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue design by Kimberly Glyder (Little, Brown & Co. / September 2016)

Also designed by Kimberly Glyder:


Wonder UK
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue design by Jo Thompson (Picador / September 2016)


XX design Sara Wood
XX: Poems for the Twentieth Century by Campbell McGrath; design Sara Wood (Ecco / March 2016)

Also designed by Sara Wood:

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