We’re ecstatic to unveil the poster for the 2022 National Book Festival, designed by artist, writer and educator Gail Anderson. Original artwork has traditionally been the visual centerpiece of the festival, and this year is no exception as we make our return to the Washington Convention Center and celebrate being together.
You can download a high-resolution PDF of the poster, plus view and download other festival posters through the years from our National Book Festival poster gallery. More details about printed versions of the poster will be available closer to the date of the festival.
Anderson shares some thoughts on the design process and her vision for capturing the theme of this year’s festival, “Books Bring Us Together.”
Q: Tell us a bit about your background as an artist.
I’ve been making books and magazines since I was a kid, starting with a small “Partridge Family” fan magazine, complete with fold-out posters. And I wrote long, angst-ridden pre-teen books that I never showed anyone, of course. I am currently chair of BFA design and BFA advertising at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. I spent years living the dream as senior art director at Rolling Stone and creating theater posters at an advertising agency called SpotCo. I’m immersed in education these days, but I need to keep the design side of my brain busy, too.
Q: What interested you in contributing to this year’s National Book Festival?
I’m an audiobook person these days because I drive back and forth to the city from upstate New York a lot. Books—in any form—are my friends, and my heart will always be in the actual printed book. My house is filled to the rafters, so it’s probably good that I’m embracing a form that takes no physical space now. Either way, how could I say no to a project that is book related?!?
Q: What was your creative process for translating the theme of this year’s festival, “Books Bring Us Together,” into the idea for the poster? What was your inspiration?
Books can be a wonderful solitary experience, but they can also build community. I’ve never gotten up the nerve to join a book club, but I think that’s such a cool idea. My friend, Joe Newton, who worked on the poster with me, belongs to one in Brooklyn, and the thought of having a glass of wine and chatting about a book just seems like a perfect evening. And think of someone like David Sedaris whose readings are events. I want to be friends with him, and in some ways feel like I already am because of his books. The idea of a stack of books becoming a lighthearted house-o-books kind of designed itself.
Q: Tell us about a book project you are proud of.
I’m working with a friend, Michele Washington, on a book about Black designers. I’m excited about that, though we have so much work to do that it makes my stomach churn just to think about it. And there was a fun little book about emotive contemporary typography that Steve Heller and I co-authored a few years back, called “Type Speaks,” that still makes me smile.
Anderson is an American Institute of Graphics Arts (AIGA) medalist, a recipient of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Award for Lifetime Achievement and a member of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Council for the U.S. Postal Service.