Template jargon buster and other frequently asked questions

Design Template

The design template is used to piece the front, back and spine elements of the cover together. The template includes the front, the back and the spine in one, flattened layout – this is standard practice when supplying designs to a printer.

Taking the Non-Fiction category title (Diary of a Young Naturalist) as an example, the size of the book’s front is 127mm in width and 198mm in height. The book’s back is the same size as the front and the spine is 22mm, making a total layout size of 276mm wide by 198mm tall. In addition to the design area there needs to be an area of bleed added to the overall cover. 

The page dimensions for the Fiction and Children’s categories are the same but their spine widths are each slightly different: 

  • Fiction category (Girl, Woman, Other): spine width 28mm, making a total layout size of 282mm wide x 198mm tall
  • Children’s category (Murder Most Unladylike): spine width 21.5mm, making a total layout size of 275.5mm wide x 198mm tall

Design template – What is bleed?

As printers will print several copies of one cover on a single, very large, sheet of paper and then trim those covers out of the large sheet, bleed is needed as part of the cover design. Bleed is extra artwork that extends past the edge of the cover and it gives the printer a margin of error when they come to trim the cover.

Therefore your design should extend out past the edge of the template by 3mm on the width and the height.

See the template to help understand how bleed is applied to artwork.

Design Template – What are crop marks?

Crop marks – also called trim marks – are thin lines placed at the corners of the design template that indicate, to the printer, where the finished cover should be trimmed to the finished size of the book on the shelves. Here’s an illustrative example using the Non-Fiction category title. 

See the template to help understand how crop marks are applied to artwork.

Are there any restrictions to the fonts I can use in my design?

You can use any font that you wish in your design.

The normal copyright rules around font usage apply to your work and it’s your sole responsibility to ensure that you have the correct permissions to use them in your design. As Penguin Random House are only reproducing the winning designs as images and are not reproducing them as published covers or for any commercial gain the fonts do not need to be cleared for commercial use and the licensing of fonts used in the cover designs are not a consideration for us when judging the entries.

I don’t have the fonts that are specified on the templates, can I use an alternative font that is closely matched?

Yes, you can use an alternative font as long as you have the correct permissions to use it.

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