2018 Covered : Favourite Covers of the Year

As we turn the page on 2018, the ABDA committee and wider publishing community reflect on their favourite covers of the year.

Jessica Lowe • ABDA Committee Member, Design Manager at Hardie Grant Books

My Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa Moshfegh. Design by Darren Haggar.

Darren Haggar’s adoption of meme aesthetics has a jarring, rebellious spirit. The cover is eye-catchingly banal, and the typography is a refreshing departure from the comfort of millennial pink. I would love to see how Haggar arrived at the final cover.

Regine Abos • ABDA Committee Secretary, Designer and Lecturer

Instructions for a Funeral; Stories, David Means. Design by Alex Merto.

This cover ticks all the boxes for good commercial fiction: it’s witty, memorable, and makes you want to know what the content is about.

Alissa Dinallo • ABDA Committee Vice President, Designer

Calypso, David Sedaris. Design by Peter Mendelsund.

I think great simplicity is one of the hardest things to achieve on a book cover, and this one does it so so well.

Jaclyn Crupi • Editor, Reviewer and Bookseller at Hill of Content

The Pisces, Melissa Broder. Design by Rachel Willey.

I love the playfulness of this cover. It cleverly alludes to the humour in the book while also reflecting the intensity of it. And that blue! For me, The Pisces is the perfect complete package and the book delivers on every level.

W.H. Chong • Design Director at Text Publishing

Normal People, Sally Rooney. Art direction by Donna Payne, Faber & Faber; design by Jon Gray; artwork by Henn Kim.

The background colour is an unusual olive, distinct from all the primary pop-out around. Another colour might have been too obvious; it suits the down beat tone of the book. Off-white type spotlights the illustration’s white. Type size projects a mainstream confidence, in stark contrast to the miniature scale and superfine detail of the artwork — packing complex feeling in a tight metaphor, counterpointing the title and promising a kind of up close, low volume narrative. It’s a cover you can spot from across the room, and feels deceptively simple, like something you can’t get away with. So great they did.

Annie Portelli • Art Director at The Design Files

Romance Was Born, Anna Plunkett & Luke Sales. Design by Daniel New.

This year, the iconic Australian fashion label Romance Was Born put out an exquisite book that stopped us in our tracks! Designed by the award-winning Australian designer and artist Daniel New, the cover heroes metallic typography and features candy pink — an excellent choice. Very 2018!

Lara Chan-Baker • Agent and Producer at The Jacky Winter Group

Things That Helped, Jessica Friedmann. Design by Allison Colpoys (Australian Edition), Na Kim (US Edition).

Not only is it beautifully representative of the essays — a deep dive into the fracturing, confronting and isolating experience of postpartum depression — but it’s also such a stunning take on modern collage style. The original cover (above, left) was published in 2017 and was designed and illustrated by Allison Colpoys (using photography by Heather Lighton). Na Kim did a redesign for the US market in 2018 (above, right). Both are absolutely beautiful.

David Gaunt • Director at Gleebooks

The Arsonist, Chloe Hooper. Design by Louisa Maggio.

We LOVED Chloe Hooper’s The Arsonist at Gleebooks. The cover celebrates the compassionate, non-judgemental approach of the writer, beautifully counterpointing the horror and sadness of the content.

Veronica Sullivan • Programming Manager at The Wheeler Centre

The Arsonist, Chloe Hooper. Design by Louisa Maggio.

I love this cover for its simplicity, beauty and artistry. The red-orange colours are pretty and romantic, but they convey a sense of ink escaping and bleeding across the cover, echoing the creeping threat of bushfire in the book.

Lisa Marie Corso • Writer and Editor

The Cook’s Apprentice, Stephanie Alexander. Design by Evi O Studio.

Evi O’s cover for The Cook’s Apprentice by Stephanie Alexander is my favourite of 2018. It’s the type of book cover you want to rip from its spine, frame it and hang it on your wall so you can stare at it adoringly. Or less drastically, the type of cover you can keep in pride of place on your coffee table for everyone to see.

Lucy Feagins • Founder and Editor at The Design Files

The Planthunter, Georgina Reid. Design by Evi O Studio.

One of our favourite books covers of 2018 came from our long-time gardens contributor, Georgina Reid (we swear we’re not biased!). Contemporary and cool, the front cover of The Plant Hunter perfectly pairs striking photography with strong type and a bold pop of marigold yellow. No daggy gardening vibes here!

Andy Warren • ABDA Committee Member, Senior Designer at Five Mile

Strudel, Noodles & Dumplings, Anja Dunk. Design by Atelier Dyakova

The bold type, burnt orange and black foil sealed this as my favourite cover for 2018. I really love the hierarchy and treatment of the type and how the geometric shapes echo the stylised serifs. The cover is full but incredibly pared back and considered.

Mark Campbell • ABDA Committee President, Head of Design at HarperCollins Publishers

Fruit: Recipes that Celebrate Nature, Bernadette Wörndl. Cover Design by Murray Batten.

Maybe it’s just the simplicity of the perfect crop on a moody still-life of fruit, but this elegant design has a certain sense of stillness and calm that speaks to me. The combination of smoky marble and bright citrus shades create wondrous depth for the type to float effortlessly above.

Hazel Lam • ABDA Committee, Senior Designer at HarperCollins Publishers

All The Ways to be Smart, Davina Bell. Design & illustrations by Allison Colpoys.

Davina’s words are fun, inspiring and are an absolute joy to read, coupled with Allison’s gorgeous illustrations, they make each page turn more exciting than the next. I just want to dive right into their world of colour, wonder and magic. I loved it so much that I bought six copies for Christmas gifting this year!

Athina Clarke • Children’s Book Buyer at Readings

A Winter’s Promise: The Mirror Visitor, Book One, Christelle Dabos and Hildegarde Serle. Design by Emanuele Ragnisco.

The title of the book stands out boldly but what is that supposed to be in the background? A city in the clouds perhaps? Clearly there’s a promise of a beguiling fantasy mystery beckoning to be revealed …

During the Xmas peak buying period, this was the book I noticed adults, young adults (and younger readers) pick up to buy based on the cover. When I asked people who’d selected the book and why they had done so (had they read a review/recommendation?), they all said it was based purely on the cover! Clearly the children’s book buyers were not the only people to find this cover striking.

Hannah Janzen • ABDA Committee, Designer

The Carousel of Animals, Gerard Lo Monaco.

This book is a 3D pop-up, die-cutting-lover’s dream. It shows true paper craftsmanship and engineering that redefines how we tell a story in a book and mobile in an interactive fun way for kids. Who is kidding who? I love it too!

Niki Horin • Publishing Director at Five Mile

Linda Jackson’s Rainbow Menagerie, Linda Jackson.

The eye-popping production/design feat that is Linda Jackson’s Rainbow Menagerie has my pick for best picture book cover of the year.

Amy Daoud • ABDA Committee, Designer

His Name Was Walter, Emily Rodda. Art Direction by Hazel Lam, Design & Illustrations by Jess Cruickshank.

This cover makes the 8-year-old in me squeal with delight. I love its classic sensibility, romantic type and the fact that I discover new elements every time I look at it.

The Australian Book Designers Association wishes to thank our contributors for their assistance with this post.