Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award

The Establishment by Owen Jones

‘A dissection of the profoundly and sickeningly corrupt state that is present-day Britain. He is a fine writer, and this is a truly necessary book’ Phillip Pullman

Behind our democracy lurks a powerful but unaccountable network of people who wield massive power and reap huge profits in the process. In exposing this shadowy and complex system that dominates our lives, Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the heart of our Establishment, from the lobbies of Westminster to the newsrooms, boardrooms and trading rooms of Fleet Street and the City. Exposing the revolving doors that link these worlds, and the vested interests that bind them together, Jones shows how, in claiming to work on our behalf, the people at the top are doing precisely the opposite. In fact, they represent the biggest threat to our democracy today - and it is time they were challenged.

The Brief

'One day, this Establishment will fall. It will not do so on its own terms or of its own accord, but because it has been removed by a movement with a credible alternative that inspires. For those of us who want a different sort of society, it is surely time to get our act together.' - Extract from The Establishment by Owen Jones

Published just before the 2015 general election, the arguments and vision put forward by Owen Jones in this book continue to play an important part of the political discussion and debate today. Part historical overview, part deconstruction of the way Britain is managed, the cover design should reframe the book to continue to build its reach over the next ten years. It should aim to appeal to a new audience who are not only interested in understanding the spectrum of political ideas but also want to challenge the status quo.  At the same time, it should feel fresh, accessible and an important read whatever your political persuasion.   

Your cover design needs to include all the cover copy supplied and be designed to the specified design template (B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine width 22mm), incorporating the Penguin branding and all additional elements such as the barcode. Please refer to the Submissions Details page for full details of the spec and how to submit your entry.

Copyright must be cleared for all images used in your cover design and you must include a credit line on the back cover of your design for any third party images used. For example: ‘Cover photograph by Joe Bloggs’.

What the judges are looking for:

 We are looking for a striking cover design that is well executed, has an imaginative concept and clearly places the book for its market. 

While all elements of the cover (front, back and spine) need to work together, remember that the front cover has to be able to work on its own, and to be eye-catching within a crowded bookshop setting as well as on screen at a reduced size for digital retailers.

The winning design will need to:

  • have an imaginative concept
  • be an original interpretation of the brief
  • be competently executed with strong use of typography
  • appeal to the broadest possible audience for the book
  • show a good understanding of the marketplace
  • have a point of difference from other books that it will be competing against in the market
  • be able to sit on the shelves of a supermarket or ebook store as easily as it sits on those of more traditional bookshops 

The Prizes

1st Prize

The winner of each category will be invited to spend four weeks in the Penguin Random House Design Studios on a work placement*, working on live briefs. The work placement will be paid at the current London Living Wage rate (subject to any applicable taxation) and the winner will also receive a cash prize of £1,000.

*Subject to agreeing terms in advance. Entrants must be eligible to work in the UK.

2nd Prize

The winner of the 2nd Prize will receive a £500 cash prize.

3rd Prize

The winner of the 3rd Prize will receive a £250 cash prize.

All the shortlisted entrants will be invited to an award ceremony where the winners will be announced, and at which an exhibition of all the shortlisted designs will be on display.

The Judges

Penguin Random House Judges

John Hamilton

John Hamilton – Art Director, Penguin General

John attended the Glasgow School of Art and Design and specialized in illustration. He then became a junior book designer, and has continued on this path ever since.

John came to Penguin in 1997 as Penguin Art Director and was the driving force behind dropping the orange spines from the majority of Penguin fiction. He was also responsible, along with Jim Stoddart, for Penguin’s Seventieth Birthday Campaign, inviting seventy designers, artists and illustrators to create one cover each, designed within seven days for a flat fee of £70.

John is responsible for art-directing Penguin’s hardback imprints, Viking, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Fig Tree and Penguin Ireland.

Joanna Prior

Joanna Prior – Managing Director, Penguin General Books

Joanna has had a guiding hand on Penguin’s design for many years. In her role as Marketing and Publicity Director of Penguin UK (until July 2009) she helped to position Penguin’s books for the marketplace through their cover design and through some innovative and award-winning marketing campaigns. For the past sixteen years she has also run Penguin’s art committee, which is responsible for the comprehensive collection of text-based art that adorns the meeting rooms and corridors of Penguin’s offices at 80 Strand. In her current role as Managing Director of Penguin General Books she is responsible for publishing prize winners and bestsellers, including Ali Smith, Arundhati Roy, Nick Hornby, Zadie Smith, Antony Beevor, John le Carré and Colm Tóibín.

Jim Stoddart

Jim Stoddart – Art Director, Penguin Press

After graduating in Sheffield, Jim took a placement at Bill Smith Studio in London, which turned into a job designing record and CD covers for such labels as EMI, Virgin, BMG, Mute and Trojan Records. Five years later he joined Penguin, where he worked as a cover designer for eighteen months, and then he went to work with Chris Ashworth under Lewis Blackwell at Getty Images for twelve months. In 2001 he returned to Penguin as Art Director of Penguin Press, where he has overseen the redesign and rebranding of Penguin Classics, Penguin Modern Classics and Pelican Books, as well as designing and art-directing covers for Penguin’s Allen Lane hardback imprint, the Particular Books imprint and Penguin non-fiction paperbacks.

Guest Judges - to be announced

Published covers