Best Book Design 2023: the winning editions have been announcedAbout Us

Best Book Design 2023: the winning editions have been announced

The International Book Arsenal Festival, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Ukraine and supported by the German State Ministry for Culture and the Media, announces the winning books of the annual Best Book Design Contest.

This year’s Grand Prix winning book is also the Text Book Nomination winning book. We congratulate Maria Havrysh and Volodymyr Havrysh who created the publication concept, cover design, and illustrations for The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, and also the Babylon Library Publishing House. Book design and layout by Volodymyr Havrysh.

In the Utility Book Nomination, Russian Colonialism by Maksym Eristavi published by ist publishing has become the winning book. Art director — Sergiy Maidukov. Illustrations by Sergiy Maidukov, Alisa Gots, Nikita Kravtsov, Nataliia Kozeko, Danylo Shtangeev, Natasha Steshenko, Ave Libertatemaveamor. Design and layout by Ostap Yashchuk, published by ist publishing.

Jury members decided to reinterpret the Visual Book Nomination as the Art Book Nomination, since, just as in previous years, it is dominated by art publications, albums, photo books, and catalogues. In this Nomination, we congratulate NIKIFOR by Myroslava Mudrak published by RODOVID Publishing House and Ukrainian Museum in New York.

Yelyzaveta Berestova won the Experiment Nomination with her self-published When War Is Coming Home book.

The jury also decided to expand the Kids Book Nomination to the Visual Storytelling Nomination. It allows including any genre of publications that, just like kids books, use visual means to tell the story. We congratulate Blackout. Chronicles of Our Life During Russia’s War Against Ukraine by seri/graph, Anya Ivanenko and Zhenya Polosina in this Nomination. Design — seri/graph studio and Yakaboo publishing.

Best Book Design 2023 Contest Shortlists:

Text Book Nomination:

  • Terror from the Air by Peter Sloterdijk, design and layout by Volodymyr Havrysh, ist publishing.
  • Ukraine: 50 Symbols of Struggle by Yurii Marchenko, Tetiana Kapustynska, Daria Yakunina, Kateryna Igolkina, Yevhen Skliarenko. Concept, cover design, design, and layout by Valeriia Horodchanina, illustrations by Maria Kinovych,, Blank Press.

Art Book Nomination:

  • Janet Sobel: Wartime by Peter Doroshenko, Alisa Lozhkina. Design by Volodymyr Havrysh, RODOVID Publishing House, Ukrainian Museum in New York.
  • Bolnichka by Vladyslav Krasnoshchok. Design by Calin Kruse, editor — Serhii Lebedynskyi. Museum of Kharkiv School of Photography (MOKSOP).
  • Flooding by Nikita Kadan and Aliona Karavai, book design and layout by Yaroslava Kovalchuk, Asortymentna kimnata.
  • Our Years, Our Words, Our Losses, Our Searches, Our Us (a catalogue for the Jam Factory exhibition), authors and compilers: Borys Filonenko, Kateryna Iakovlenko, Natalia Matsenko. Design, layout, concept — Katya Drozd, ist publishing.

Utility Book Nomination:

  • More Than Service by Artur Lupashko. Publication concept by Artur Lupashko and Tetiana Kostina. Cover design and layout by Daria Stetsenko, book design by Tetiana Kostina and Daria Stetsenko, punkt publishing.

Visual Storytelling Nomination:

  • A Travel Book. Independent by Iryna Taranenko. Design by Marta Leshak. Knygolove Publishing House.
  • Silence! The Rehearsal Is On by Viktor Martyniuk. Design — Oksana Drachkovska, Old Lion Publishing House.

Experiment Nomination:

  • Hometown by Ruslana Kliuchko. Design — Ruslana Kliuchko, self-published.
  • Dirt 1929 by Petro Holota. Design, concept, illustration idea, and layout by Galya Vergeles. AI programming by Vlad Frolov. Butsia Self-Publishing Initiative.

Best Book Design 2023 Special Honours:

  • The jury’s special award for developing indie publishing goes to RISODENTSIA.
  • The jury’s special award for the poetry book design goes to Diskursus Publishing House and Yakomoga book by Max Lyzhov. Design by Maryna Dyachenko, Diskursus Publishing House.
  • The jury’s special award for the direction that the design approach can lead to goes to The Non-Canon Canon Series by Vikhola Publishing House. Covers by Volodymyr Havrysh, layout by Serhii Zadvornyi, art editor — Victoria Shelest. Vikhola Publishing House. 
  • Treasures of the Swedish archives by Maryna Trattner are awarded with the jury’s special award for decent artistic processing of archival materials. Cover and layout by Oleksiy Chekal. Illustrations by Natalia Pavlusenko, FOP Maksymovska Yu. 
  • The jury’s special award for developing the periodicals Telegraf. WILL, design by Hlib Kaporikov and Yevhenia Lysenko, Projector publishing. Telegraf. Creativity of the Brave, design by Hlib Kaporikov, Anastasia Shyshenok, Yulia Stroi, Roksana Chychuk, and Veronika Sokol, Projector publishing.

All photos by Oleksandr Popenko.

The Best Book Design 2023 Contest jury members: Art Studio Agrafka (Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv), Sasha Bychenko, Nadia Kelm, Hlib Kaporikov, Anna Ivanenko, Florian Lamm (Germany), Przemek Dębowskі (Poland).

The Best Book Design Contest is one of the priority projects of the Book Arsenal. We held the contest even in those years when the festival itself was cancelled due to an epidemic or a full-scale war in Ukraine. At the end of 2023, as usual, we celebrate the winners and pay tribute to professionals who create wonderful books, despite all the obstacles and challenges of our time. We believe that this contest, its stability, and its traditions contribute to developing Ukrainian book design, highlighting the state of affairs, trends, and evolution directions, which are important to capture and speak about in professional discussions

— Yuliia Kozlovets, Director of the International Book Arsenal Festival.

For the Goethe-Institut, this contest is a story of long-term partnerships that persist even in the most difficult times and are a symbol of sustainability. This year, the Book Arsenal team, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, is organising the eighth contest. We believe in Ukrainian design. We are happy with the contest results and are motivated to continue on this path

— Fabian Mühlthaler, Director of the Goethe-Institut Ukraine.

What will the Contest winners receive?

The winner of the Grand Prix will receive the main prize of the Contest, the iconic statuette.Finalists and winners of the Contest will represent Ukrainian book design in the “Best Book Design from All over the World” competition organised by the German Buchkunst Foundation. The winning books will also be exhibited at international book fairs in Leipzig and Frankfurt.

The Buchkunst Foundation will invite the author of the most significant contribution to the design of the Grand Prix winning book on a professional trip to Germany in 2024. Publishers whose editions won the contest and winners of special awards will receive tickets to the Frankfurt Book Fair and take part in professional events at the fair.

All publications submitted to the Contest that did not receive awards or special honours will be donated to libraries jointly with PEN Ukraine.
The Contest is held by the International Book Arsenal Festival in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Ukraine. The “Best Book Design 2023” contest takes place with the financial support of the German State Ministry for Culture and the Media.

The project partners — the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Buchkunst Foundation.
Media partners — Telegraf.Design and Chytomo.
The hospitality partner — BURSA.