Design Observer, a highly-regarded graphic design website operated by The Design Observer Group, has just announced “the winners of the 2012 Fifty Books/Fifty Covers show, organized by Design Observer in association with AIGA and Designers & Books.”
This competition, according to Design Observer, continues “a tradition that dates back to 1922, when the American Institute of Graphic Arts, then only six years old, mounted the first ‘Fifty Books of the Year’ exhibition.”
The winning covers can be seen here.
From Digital Observer:
“Designers and publishers are not just resigned to the new world but are actively challenging it. With information so readily accessible in digital form, anyone going through the trouble of designing, manufacturing, and distributing a traditional book had better be prepared to deliver something special. The books this year demonstrate astonishing attention to craft, as well as startling ambitions to disrupt expectations about what constitutes a ‘traditional’ book in the first place.”
That said, book covers are clearly one element of traditional publishing that is not dying out with the advent of e-books. If anything, with visibility now paramount for the self-publishing community and major publishers alike, it’s even more important than in the days when books were just stacked on shelves with only their spines visible.
“Let’s face it, everyone judges a book by its cover. If you have an ugly cover, people may never read your story,” says self-publishing savant David Gaughran in his popular DIY publishing guide, “Let’s Get Digital.”
But, Gaughran adds…
“Your cover must look good as a thumbnail. Most people will only see your cover on search listings. Images are pretty small, maybe one inch by half-an-inch, so keep images clear and fonts big. It also should look good as a grayscale image, as many readers will be browsing for books on their Kindles. In short, keep it simple. Keep radical or ornate design for a print version. We’re talking about ebooks. They’re not going to be on anyone’s coffee table.”
You be the judges of how true that is. Book design is clearly no dying art; I would personally give some of these titles consideration on the strength of their covers alone.