The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

The Rest of the Best


When it comes to choosing the year’s best book covers, it seems that everyone is at it these days…

“These covers are challenging without being impenetrable and playful without being precious — none of which is an easy task for a designer. If good design might lure us into an experience that makes us smarter, then we’ve hit the jackpot when the book allows us to spend time within the head space of a stranger.”     

I always look forward to Matt Dorfmann’s selections for the New York Times Book Review. Matt is the NYTBR‘s art director and a cover designer in his own right so he knows what he’s talking about, and his choices are always interesting. If I am honest, I think this is the list the designers (American designers at least) really pay attention to. And it’s worth noting that half of Matt’s choices this year were designed by women. 

Slate’s list of Best Book Jackets of 2016 includes notes from the designers about each cover.  

Vyki Hendy and Eric Wilder have chosen  — with input from designers Erin Fitzsimmons and Stuart Bache — 25 of the year’s covers for SPINE Magazine

Jarry Lee chose 32 “of the most beautiful book covers of 2016” for BuzzFeed.

And last but not least, Paste’s selections includes “a few novelette and short story covers.

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