The best book covers of the year 2021

by AryanArtnews
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An important part of generating this list of covers for this year’s favorite 10 books is to keep track of the designers behind each. If it sounds pretty obvious (after all, that’s the point of posting), the process can be harder than you think. Most covers are fairly easy to credit, especially when shared by designers or added to personal websites, but some are usually elusive for some time. More than a trivial inconvenience to me, this presents a broader issue for book cover designers.

So I start this list with plea. Book publisher! Celebrate the designer’s achievements when sharing the new cover image for the first time online. You can tag it on Twitter or write down the name completely. You don’t have to do it every time. It’s fair and everyone wins.

One of the reasons why this needs to be addressed is that while “publishing the cover” has become a staple of book publishers’ social media campaigns, the name of the designer behind them is exactly what they’re celebrating. I often neglect to confirm. Evian EgalIn August, the Penguins studio manager tweeted a plea for more recognition and expanded on this broader issue of unrecognition.

“In an industry where you can easily defend designers and illustrators who are most often freelancers by tagging and mentioning posts, it’s shocking otherwise,” she writes. “Especially when considering creative barriers from a marginalized background, visibility is an important issue, so just mentioning it has implications.”

When a popular cover starts to fly, it’s very difficult to retroactively attach design credits to it. Publishing (and the media that supports it) needs to do this well. For example, one of the covers presented below was “published” at Entertainment Weekly, but did not mention Lauren Peters-Collaer, who designed it. Book designer on Twitter Ingrid Paulson I called a magazine that included 10 covers in the “Trends in Cover Design of the Year” feature, but had no credits (Paulson later found his name and annotated the spread). ..

When a popular cover starts to fly, it’s very difficult to retroactively attach design credits to it.Publishing (and the media that supports it) needs to do this well.

This all happens when more book covers are floating online and their coverage is increasing as a medium than ever before. As a result, trending works are becoming more and more popular. This is from Vulture’s 2019 work on what is called “Statement Wallpaper and Thick Text”, or The Week’s 2020 work, which focuses on “Suggestive Color Masses”. This year, Lit Hub takes a quick look at the “rainbow” trend, Eye on Design considers the cover of the book as a “product”, and more about the rise of “bright, vague style” (colorful blob design). We have started to evaluate a wide range of themes. A mixture of cultural and economic powers “, which creates a lot of controversy in the process. The print then gave another view of the popularity of “colorful and abstract formalism.”

In each case, the highlighted covers are definitely similar, but there can still be a large number of covers that do not agree with an identifiable “look”. Successful titles can start determining formulas and types, but that’s not exactly a crisis. The Casual Optimist has successfully put together some of the observations obtained from all of this. “Overall, all book covers (such as movie posters) don’t look the same. Not much.”

But what about a great job this year? Now, before the individual covers line up, I need to pay attention to some impressive series designs. Outstanding includes the La Boca neon celebration of the four-volume set of the short story Folio Society collected by Philip K. Dick, as well as the new Faber Editions series of reissued (cult) classics, a beautiful stand-alone paperback. It will be.

Faber’s senior designer, Peter Adlington, has created Mrs. Carivan’s design by Rachel Ingalls as part of the Faber Edition set and one of the most famous covers of the year for Kazuo Ishiguro’s Clara and the Sun. You need to credit here for what you created. It came out in March. This bold piece has inevitably become ubiquitous, but despite its familiarity, it still looks great. The redesign of Ishiguro’s entire backlist also stems from Adlington’s unique approach to the author’s latest work (Spine wrote a great article about its origins).

So, without any further effort, here are 10 of my personal favorites this year.

With Christen Arnett’s Teeth; Publisher: Riverhead; Design: Lauren Peters-Collaer

Powerful and graphic lettering by Lauren Peters-Collaer transforms a two-word title into white teeth set in an open mouth. A fantastic and eye-catching visual treatment. The UK edition puts the design in a different colorway and adds yellow teeth (!). Art Direction: Helen Jentus.

Being Human: 40,000 Years of Consciousness Adventure by Charles Foster; Publisher: Profile Book; Design: James Jones

James Jones captures the essence of “being human” and supports photographs of Upper Paleolithic (discovered in the Czech Republic) bone pendants, avoiding the more familiar “evolution” metaphor. increase. The expression is everything. It’s crude but completely relevant, almost like an emoji with Deadpan’s vision. Art Director: Steve Pantone. Photo: Getty Images.

Intimacy by Katie Kitamura; Publisher: Riverhead; Design: Jaya Miceli

This striking cover by Jaya Miceli makes good use of the two contrasting colors, but it’s part of the illustration that works particularly well. Inspired by the title of the novel, it looks like an abstract line at first, but it’s actually an outline of two bodies. A pair of eyes and one hand to help you draw a hug. Close-up, intimate and clever. Art Director: Helen Jentus.

What does Joan Didion mean? Publisher: HarperCollins; Design: Jo Thomson

The cover of Joan Didion’s essay collection earlier this year shows commands for both typeface and type placement (titled Canera, author name Dara Froda). Jo Thomson not only uses long titles to frame portraits, but also places the text throughout the image without compromising its power (Didion’s eyes can see the reader directly). Elegant arrangement of images, types and layouts.

Edge case by YzChin.Publisher: Eco / HarperCollins; Design: Na Kim

Only tomatoes? Well, yes, no. The state of each of the five fruits depicted in the artwork suggests that the passage of time is also aroused here. Na Kim has been a familiar name on many “best of” lists over the years. She is not disappointed with this bold cover. The jagged stems contrast with the round shape, but it’s also a clever way to distinguish the title from the author’s name by color.

Someone in Mona Arsi loves you. Publisher: And Other Stories; Design: Holly Ovenden

The notes in this list indicate that I wrote the word “strange” next to the cover of this book. And that’s for all good reasons. The flatness of the garden is strange, boxing (and placement) of the title and author’s name is unusual, but beyond insects and bisected plants, there are even lonely eyes and a vertical mouth. There is also a special pink edition designed and illustrated by Holly Ovenden. Art Director: Tom Esalington.

Aftermath by Preti Taneja.Publisher: Transit; Design: Anna Morrison

Aftermath is one of a series of four transit essay collections, each designed by Anna Morrison in collaboration with publisher Adam Levy. Each cover utilizes minimal artwork created from a few simple brushstroke gestures. The result, as you can see here, is the classic, simplified cover design you just want to get. (There is also a soft spot to add the publisher’s name to the cover page.)

God of Mercy by Okezie Nwọka; Publisher: Astra House; Design: Sarawood

This cover by Salawood contains everything. The inclusion of some fiery example marks makes the attractive and textured portrait even more dramatic. Vibrant and eye-catching, it’s also a bit anxious in its own way. The colors work together nicely. Art Director: Rodrigo Corral. Photo: © peeterv / Getty Images.

All Marvel by Douglas Walk.Publisher: Profile Book; Design: Will Stere

This well-observed cover for the description of Douglas Wolk, who read all the Marvel comics, fits perfectly with the subject. The layout and type treatment respects the media, but the frayed corners are nice, suggesting a less serious (although arguably very labor-intensive) approach to creating this unique publishing history. It’s a touch. It looks like a real celebration.

Pure gold by John Patrick McHugh.Publisher: New Island / 4th Estate; Design: Jack Smith

Another great type-based cover for Jack Smith. He seems to be able to reach out to great letters of all kinds (for example, check out his Antkind cover last year). It feels like beer, but it’s the condensed shaded text itself, including the swirl of the handprint and the texture of the earth, suggesting that weird things may be inside. doing.

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