"I was really impressed with the general calibre of the work in the shortlist - there was a remarkable level of maturity and thoughtfulness in all of the entries." Eliza Williams – Editor, Creative Review

1st Prize Annie Kobyluch - Glasgow School of Art

Annie Kobyluch's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

When starting my design I knew that I wanted the weapon to be the main focus. My concept was to incorporate this into objects which are naturally and almost exclusively associated with a hotel environment. The do not disturb signs found on door handles are synonymous with hotels and this then became the perfect object to have hanging off the barrel of a gun. My colour palette was intentionally simplified to add strength to the image and not provide a distraction to the visual concept.

Judges' comments

"Virtually a unanimous winner – it’s a very immediate and striking cover design – we all appreciated the simple confidence of the idea and the simple clarity of the graphic and colouring." – Jim Stoddart, Art Director, Penguin Press

"Annie’s design is clean and confident.  It jumped out of the shortlist instantly and demanded attention – which is such an important part of book cover design when you are competing in a crowded retail space with such a short time to grab a reader’s attention. There is also a wit to it that appeals too." – Joanna Prior, Managing Director, Penguin General Books

"Annie Kobyluch’s mix of a strong design concept and striking use of visuals and colour made her work really stand out." – Eliza Williams, Editor, Creative Review

"The clear winner amongst the judges, we loved its striking, clever design which felt like a fresh take on such an established author and genre." – Richard Bravery, Art Director, Penguin General Books

"There’s a real strength in the simplicity of the winning entry, its message is loud and clear – the viewer is in no doubt that this is a thriller. The clean graphic style and limited colour palette deliver a striking and unforgettable cover, one that really packs a punch." – Millie Marotta, Illustrator

2nd Prize, Olivia McEwan-Hill - Leeds Arts University

Olivia McEwan-Hill's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

I based my concept on the original story-line of the book. Idea generation is always my favourite part of a project and I wanted the cover I designed to reflect the fast paced escalation of events and characters from the starting point of the Queen Nefertiti Hotel. Using a monochromatic colour scheme and drawing ink helped to create a document-like feel to the design, especially on the back cover where I wanted to recreate ‘sanitisation’ of secret documents. Using visual symbols to represent key storylines, characters and events I wanted to show the overwhelming development of circumstances that Jonathan Pine discovers in John Le Carre’s The Night Manager.

Judges' comments

"I really love this cover – it was quite unique among the hundreds of entries and the confidence of the work and approach is really charismatic and impressively compelling." – Jim Stoddart, Art Director, Penguin Press

"A very original interpretation of the brief – extremely well considered with excellent use of typography." – Eliza Williams, Editor, Creative Review

"Olivia’s use of type is what we all admired the most about this design.  The illustrations are clever and intriguing and tell a story too and work together so coherently with the big, bold hand-drawn type." – Joanna Prior, Managing Director, Penguin General Books

"We were really drawn to this cover design with its fun illustrative approach grounded in strong typography and composition. Bold and original." – Richard Bravery, Art Director, Penguin General Books

"There’s a wonderful hurriedness about this cover; the scribbly, sketchy visual symbols and hand drawn type reflect brilliantly the grimy, risky business of weapons trading and government corruption. The monochrome palette was a clever choice and makes for a cover that really stands out. A very well executed idea." – Millie Marotta, Illustrator

3rd Prize, Alissa Morgan - York St John University

Alissa Morgan's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

My inspiration came from a specific line in the book itself,'the whole thing's a stag hunt', which can be seen as a metaphor for the plot itself. Both the protagonist, Pine, and the antagonist, Roper, are arguably the stag and the hunter. This seemed a fitting piece of imagery to be portrayed on the cover.

Judges' comments

"This design stood out – conceptually the cover does something different while the mood and atmosphere feels spot-on for the book. The quality of the illustration is also brilliant." – Jim Stoddart, Art Director, Penguin Press

"Alissa’s decision to take a metaphor from deep in the book and use it as the design concept was startling to me and made her cover unlike all the rest.  The idea of a stag being hunted through a dark wood is a very original way of approaching the novel and although it’s a little too dark, it’s a very strong cover." – Joanna Prior, Managing Director, Penguin General Books

 "An unusual and very atmospheric approach – visually very appealing." – Eliza Williams, Editor, Creative Review

"Captured the spirit and mood of the novel perfectly. Beautifully illustrated with great subtlety that can sometimes be overlooked in this genre." – Richard Bravery, Art Director, Penguin General Books

"An unusual approach - to take a line from the book and hang the whole concept on that - but it worked superbly and made this cover quite different from others on the shortlist. The way the type is revealed/hidden amongst the trees combined with an atmospheric colour palette really deliver a sense of tension and set the mood for the book." – Millie Marotta, Illustrator

Leah Barford-Pinnock – Middlesex University

Leah Barford-Pinnock's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

For my book cover design for The Night Manager, I wanted to create a cover that collectively brought together all the different elements from within the book. Effectively, displaying the entire story visually on the front and back of the over, without spoilers. This set in my core design thought process that any design choices I decided to make would hold reference and contextual meaning to what was in the book. The typography, imagery and overall visual aesthetic and theme, all reflect a detail within the book, whether it be a quote, location, or significant moment.

Amie Carter – Arts University Bournemouth

Amie Carter's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

My approach to the brief was largely focused on identifying the key themes of the book in order to create ambiguous imagery that hinted at the contents, without revealing too much and allowing the reader the freedom of their own imaginative interpretations. I chose to focus on the theme of deceit; I depicted this through a downward spiral of layers that Jonathan falls into throughout his journey, taking twists and turns along the way, getting darker the deeper he falls. There are hidden layers hinting at hidden identities and secrets, with a cool-toned colour palette to set the mood.

Kate Harmsworth - Greater Brighton Metropolitan College

Kate Harmsworth's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

For my book cover design, I’ve used an ornate and decorative design throughout the cover to convey the wealthy and lavish lives of the characters in the book, the details and elements within the design further convey the darker themes and layers of the story such as paranoia, betrayal and death. I’ve also used clean line work to emphasize these details and the symbolism within the design helps give the cover a mysterious look and feel.

Jacob Hedges - Coventry University

Jacob Hedge's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

My submission’s concept was to create a mysterious expansive landscape scene, playing on the themes of the story. Capitalising on the iconic imagery surrounding hotels, the composition can be seen to subtly form a hotel door hanger. My textural inspiration came from Owen Gent, really aiding the enigmatic atmosphere that I was trying to create. The potent contrast of the bright white moon is really something that I wanted to exaggerate therefore, if this book cover went into production I would suggest that all the whites were printed with a white varnish.

Joshua Millard - University of Lincoln

Joshua Millard's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

I started by analysing the fundamental concepts of the plot. The book focusses heavily on themes of espionage, misdirection and more surprisingly, sailing. This provided me with some strong themes, which I developed into my final solution. When I read the book, it inspired the idea that the protagonist was sailing within his own fragile world. But this world was spilling out into something treacherous (hence the use of a blood red). I designed the champagne flute to also appear as a bullet, adding to my themes of duality. misdirection and threat; suggesting a world of opulence and danger.

Hazel Shorney - Loughborough University

Hazel Shorney's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

My final concept focuses on the distortion of the espionage world within the novel, where Pine finds himself trapped and no one is to be trusted or as they first seem. I wanted the cover to be a metaphor for le Carré’s writing style, where the viewer has to work to decipher the image, text and materials as you do when unravelling the novel, multiple plot lines and characters. As a commentary on the powers for the Intelligence Services, I draw on le Carré’s references to sea imagery and use Roper’s emblem of the crystal to demonstrate his hold.

Freya Westall - Falmouth University

Freya Westall's cover design of 'The Night Manager'

My cover for The Night Manager encompasses key themes of the novel; identity, deception, life undercover and ultimate redemption. Having to search for the title of the book within the quote references Pine’s loss and search for personal fulfilment and identity throughout the novel, together with his hidden identity during his undercover roles. The design reflects the atmosphere of the novel, Pine’s personal complexity, and the “total blackness” in which Pine is forced temporarily to live.  

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