Penguin Random House UK announces shortlist for Student Design Award 2019

Student Design Award 2019 shortlisted designs

Penguin Random House UK has today revealed the 30 book cover designs shortlisted for its annual Student Design Award. The 30 cover designs (10 shortlisted in each category) were chosen from a record-breaking 2,310 submissions. 

The Student Design Award aims to find the next generation of book cover designers by giving students the opportunity to experience real cover design briefs first-hand.

You can view all shortlisted entries, and learn more about the concepts behind them, here.

Adult Fiction Cover Award – Haruki Murakami’s iconic bestseller, Norwegian Wood.

With the story of Norwegian Wood well-known, the brief was for students to come at their design from a fresh angle, to make the book appeal to a contemporary, enquiring and literary readership.

Shortlisted entries for Fiction award

Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award - The Establishment by political commentator Owen Jones.

Students were tasked with designing a cover which would help the book appeal to a new audience whilst making it feel fresh, accessible and an important read, whatever your political persuasion.   

Shortlisted entries for Non-Fiction award

Children's Cover Award – Global phenomenon Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.

The brief was for a cover design which would make this original and unforgettable book appeal to new readers, as well as remaining a must-read for every child.

Shortlisted entries for Children's cover award

Art Directors from Penguin Random House have provided each of the shortlisted designers with detailed feedback on their covers, giving the students the opportunity to refine their designs before the final judging takes place.

The judging panel is made up of Art Directors from across Penguin Random House UK as well as guest judges from the design and publishing industry, including: Noma Bar, Seb Lester, Coralie Bickford-Smith, Jamie Keenan, Laura Ellen Anderson, and Jan Bielecki.

The winners of the 2019 award will be announced on Wednesday 19th June.

The winner of each category will win a work placement within the Penguin Random House Design Studios as well as £1,000 in prize money. The winners of the 2nd prize in each category will receive a £500 cash prize and the winners of the 3rd prize in each category will receive a £350 cash prize.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Student Design Award is free to enter and open to all students studying on a Further Education or Higher Education course, regardless of their degree or institution.

A number of past entrants have gone on to work in the publishing industry, with many attributing the Design Award to setting them on their future career path.

Talking about their experiences of the award, some of our shortlisted students said:

Francesca Di Pillo (2nd year student at Anglia Ruskin University, studying Graphic Design): “Norwegian Wood is the result of the talent of a great writer that is able to transmit strong emotions through words. Designing its cover was a way of connecting his art to mine.

“So often I underestimate my work, thinking it is not good enough. And in this case I decided to not stop and it led me to being shortlisted and having a huge shot to get to something amazing.”

Sam Prentice (3rd-year student at Arts University Bournemouth, studying Illustration): “This competition has taught me the importance of an outside eye. It’s always good to step back and really objectively look at your work. It’s also a fabulous way to get some practice in at designing book covers and refining skills.”

Josie Staveley-Taylor (2nd-year student at Falmouth University, studying Illustration): “I think it’s so great that this award gives young people an insight into the publishing world. I would genuinely love to work in this world as I really enjoy the process of thinking about what books mean and how to communicate that message to other people.” 

Shortlisted student designers

Adult Fiction Cover Award

Monica Arroyo  – Kingston University

Rowan Collins – Norwich University of the Arts

Francesca Di Pillo – Anglia Ruskin University

Ashley Drew – Coventry University

Louis Gabaldoni – Norwich University of the Arts

Andrius Maknevicius – University of Salford

Bethany Rush - Falmouth University

Josie Staveley-Taylor – Falmouth University

Stefano Zappia – Politecnico di Torino

Beate Zarina - Falmouth University


Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award

Samuel Ayres – Solent University

Lewis Bowness – Nottingham Trent University

Toby Clarke – University of Northampton

Amie Ennew – Anglia Ruskin University

Robert Hall – University for the Creative Arts

Lauren Maxwell – Anglia Ruskin University

Ryan Scurfield – Leeds Arts University

Femke Smits – University of Northampton

Mihai Toma – Coventry University

Charlotte Vaughan – Norwich University of the Arts


Children’s Cover Award

Louise Baskerville – University of Hertfordshire

Heather Dagless – University of Derby

Celestin Dimitriu – Cardiff Metropolitan University

Emily Fox – University of Derby

Bethany Free – Nottingham Trent University

Sian McKeever – University of the Arts London

Sam Prentice – Arts University Bournemouth

Lucy Rogers – Falmouth University

Sancia Rose – University of Hertfordshire

Beatrice Simpkiss – Arts University Bournemouth

Press enquiries

For any enquiries regarding the Student Design Award or the shortlisted designs, please contact Jessica Colman below. 

Jessica Colman

Senior Communications Manager

Tel: 02078407382

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more