Students from Norwich University of the Arts and Leeds Metropolitan have won Penguin Random House UK’s annual Design Award.
Norwich’s Ellen Rockell was awarded the Penguin Adult Prize, while Craig Cox from Leeds Metropolitan received the Puffin Children’s Prize at a ceremony in London last night (Wednesday 18th June).
Now in its eighth year, the Penguin Random House Design Award offers students on an Art or Design course at HND or degree level to design a cover for a classic adult or children’s book for the chance to win a work placement in Penguin Random House’s Adults or Children’s studio and a £1,000 cash prize.
Rockell, who is studying for a BA in illustration, impressed Penguin’s in-house design experts Jo Prior, Jim Stoddart and John Hamilton as well as guest judges Rob Ryan and Petra Börner, with her take on Jonathan Coe’s What A Carve Up.
Rockell was inspired by one of the novel’s characters mentioning Cluedo and the relation of this to the murder mystery-style scenario at the end of the novel. Using the title as the main structure, she created a 3D model to act as a floor plan, with shadows adding a sense of mystery. She reflected the novel’s 1980s setting through the use of floor patterns, which also hint at the divide in class and power.
Börner said the design was “the clear winner”, adding: “This had it all. A great concept, striking design, strong colour ways and brilliantly executed”.
Penguin Press art director Jim Stoddart commented: “I loved this from the moment I first saw it! An amazing cover – innovative concept and very well finished.”
Rockell said: “The competition has been a fantastic way of being able to showcase my work to an audience within the creative industry, and the placement is an incredible opportunity to gain first-hand experience working within a publishing environment.”
Children’s Prize winner Cox is studying for a BA in graphics arts and design. He designed a cover for S E Hinton’s coming-of-age novel The Outsiders.
The judging panel for the prize included: Penguin Random House UK Children’s managing director, Francesca Dow; art director Anna Billson; Charlie and Lola author/illustrator Lauren Child; and writer Lucy Mangan.
Child said of Craig’s entry: “I was struck by the pared-back design and the simplicity of the image, the placement, and the colour scheme all combining perfectly to create an impactful and arresting cover. It made perfect sense with the book's content.”
Craig explained that his submission “aims to attract the reader with minimalistic graphics, a limited colour palette and iconic imagery that hints at the culture and themes featured throughout the book, without revealing too much”.
“The front cover graphic is intended to emphasise the theme of ‘the outsider’ by using a common cultural signifier and removing it from a sequence. I have aimed to create a considered design which gives a classic book a modern twist whilst paying homage to the era in which the book was set.”
He said of his win: “I hope to take everything I can from the experience and gain some useful knowledge about working in the design industry. ”PRH
Billson, who has recruited previous winners into her design team, said: “The Design Award is a great opportunity for students to get their ideas noticed by leading designers and art directors in publishing. In my role as a judge, I am looking for genuine talent - someone who has a good design eye that they use effectively to produce work that hits the mark both creatively and commercially.”
Penguin Random House UK c.e.o Tom Weldon said that cover design is “an integral part of the success of a book”. He commented: “We value creativity and design incredibly highly and started the Penguin Random House Design Award to encourage the next generation of designers to use their amazing talents to help us tell our stories.”