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The Best Book Covers of 2021: Art, Design, and Visual Delights

by Assessor
The 101 Best Book Covers of 2021

Well, my friends, another tough year has come to an end. But amidst the challenges, it’s important to remember the small and large pleasures that got us through. And let’s not forget the joy of a beautifully designed book cover, especially in a year when we’ve spent more time at home than we’d like.

For the sixth year running, I reached out to some of my favorite professional book cover designers and asked them to choose their favorite covers from the past twelve months. I received an overwhelming response, with 101 glorious covers selected by 34 of my favorite designers. These covers represent the work of 67 talented designers across 54 different imprints. It’s a true celebration of the artistry and creativity that goes into designing a book cover.

The Best of the Best Book Covers

Let’s dive into the cream of the crop, the standout book covers that captured the hearts and imaginations of our expert designers. Here are some of the top picks:

First Place (tie, with 8 mentions each):

  • Anna North, Outlawed; cover design by Rachel Willey (Bloomsbury, January)
  • Pola Oloixarac, tr. Adam Morris, Mona; cover design by Thomas Colligan (FSG, March)

Second Place (6 mentions):

  • Kristen Arnett, With Teeth; cover design by Lauren Peters-Collaer (Riverhead, June)

Third Place (5-way tie, with 5 mentions each):

  • Jonas Eika, After the Sun; cover design by Lauren Peters-Collaer (Riverhead, August)
  • Chang-Rae Lee, My Year Abroad; cover design by Grace Han (Riverhead, February)
  • Wole Soyinka, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth; cover design by Linda Huang (Pantheon, September)
  • Joy Williams, Harrow; cover design by Kelly Blair (Knopf, September)
  • Richard Zenith, Pessoa: A Biography; cover design by Yang Kim (Liveright, July)
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These covers mesmerized our designers with their artistry, playfulness, and visual impact. From surreal collages to bold typography, each cover is a work of art in itself. They effortlessly draw the eye and invite readers to explore the stories within.

Honorable Mentions and More

In addition to the top picks, there were several covers that received multiple mentions and honorable mentions. Here are a few of them:

Honorable Mentions (3-way tie, with 4 mentions each):

  • Melissa Broder, Milk Fed; cover design by Jaya Miceli (Scribner, February)
  • Tamara Shopsin, LaserWriter II; cover design by Tamara Shopsin (MCD, October)
  • Rebecca Solnit, Orwell’s Roses; cover design by Gray318 (Viking, October)

These covers stood out for their cleverness, uniqueness, and ability to capture the essence of the stories they represent.

The Best of the Best: Presses, Designers,

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