June 20, 2014
Penguin Design Award winners announced
by Christopher King
While we await the results of the most recent 50 Books/50 Covers design contest in the US, another competition has concluded in the UK. Now in its seventh year, The Penguin Random House Design Award (né The Penguin Design Award) invites design students in the UK to submit prospective covers for works of fiction, with prizes including cash and, for the top winners, work experience placements in the Penguin and Puffin art departments.
The Penguin Adult Prize, with judges including art directors Jim Stoddart and John Hamilton, was awarded to Norwich University of the Arts student Ellen Rockell for her cover for What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe. Her solution, an elaborately-illustrated typographic floor plan, stands out both for the quality of its execution and the novelty of its concept, and gained extra notice from the judges for its complete use of the package, with the floor plan extending across the spine and back cover of the book. On her personal site, Rockell shares some process photos revealing how the cover illustration was made.
In the Puffin Children’s Prize category, the winner was Leeds Metropolitan University student Craig Cox for his cover for The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Cox beat out some strong competitors with a simple illustration of combs, and a sophisticated sense of space. In her statement, one of the judges, Francesca Dow, Managing Director of Penguin Random House UK Children’s, especially admired how such a quotidian object as a comb could be made to look so threatening on this cover.
And for those of us who want our own work experience placements in the Penguin art department, there are still a couple months left to enroll in university and meet the eligibility requirements for next year’s contest.
Christopher King is the former Art Director of Melville House.