The best book covers of 2019


There are emergency protocols and safety maneuvers in the design of book covers, just like in any semi-functional government. If conflicting visions arise between designers, editors, marketers, authors, agents, or editors – there’s a good chance they will – the design process is made easier if the typography is easily readable (otherwise enormous), if an accompanying image is clear (if the taste is ambiguous) and if the synthesis between the two can be reasonably expected to appeal to the sense of visual order and logic of ‘a total stranger. It is not a science, even if it is only occasionally an art.

So it was heartwarming to discover so many covers that set foolproof choices aside this year and pursued directions that made possible the possibility of art. For better or for worse, we live in an age where long-accepted definitions of traditional representation, morality, justice, and traditional norms are being critically reviewed and strongly challenged. The covers that talked about ideas of imbalance, uncertainty, or basic research about their subjects projected an honesty that looked like a play with 2019. Expect uncomfortable observations in the books, but maybe not in some answers. More often than not, these answers are just additional questions asked over and over in increasing volume by the people on either side of you.


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