Student Design Award 2019 Winners

Award winning covers
Award winning covers

Adult Fiction Cover Winners

Norwegian Wood winning covers

Bethany Rush, Falmouth University, 1st Place

Norwegian Wood cover design by Bethany Rush

Explanation of work

My redesign of Murakami's Norwegian Wood focuses on the characters’ desire for understanding pain through letter writing.  I looked to create something that reflects both the author's story and the way in which he writes it. By creating a detailed and sympathetic response to the brief, I wanted to create the same sense of symbolic possibility Murakami uses to construct his narrative.

Each stamp is a representation of the main characters and I have appropriated the traditional Japanese style using the symbols, metaphors and allegories that have been weaved throughout the book.

Judges' Comments

‘I love the letter-writing allegory, it stands out from the other solutions. It’s a great way to express the relationship without showing figures or romantic symbolism. Discovering Reiko and Midori’s names on the stamps and realizing that each stamp resembles the characters was a great surprise that took the cover storytelling to the next level’ Noma Bar – Guest Judge

‘I loved this design from the first time I saw it. There are many layers of beauty and meaning. A worthy winner’ Jason Smith – Art Director, Cornerstone

‘Bethany’s design stood out, as a beautiful object, straight away. The concept illustrated the narrative of the novel in a way that reveals itself on each view’ Richard Ogle – Art Director, Transworld

‘Bethany’s cover does that great thing of not only being a fantastic cover at first glance but also revealing more and more the longer you look. Book covers obviously have a part to play in making you buy a book in the first place, but if they can also be something you refer to as you’re reading, they become much more than just a marketing ploy’ Jamie Keenan – Guest Judge

‘Refreshingly different approach to the current very graphic Vintage designs. Has a Japanese feel, with great attention to detail. Beautifully portrays the emotional relationship in the book through letter-writing’ Suzanne Dean – Art Director, Vintage

Josie Staveley-Taylor, Falmouth University, 2nd Place

Norwegian Wood cover design by Josie Staveley-Taylor

Explanation of work

My final concept aims to capture the melancholy mood featured within the book without being too overtly sad, as there is also plenty of humour in the novel. I used the motif of autumnal leaves to represent the theme of death, as well as regeneration and growth, since in the novel Murakami seems to suggest that death is a part of the cycle of life.

Judges' Comments

‘An enticing and attractive design, reminiscent of Japanese textiles. There is a sadness to the falling leaves, which is echoed in the vertical typography’ Suzanne Dean – Art Director, Vintage

‘I love the integration of type and illustration, it feels poetic and dynamic. An effortless layout with great attention to details on the front and back cover’ Noma Bar – Guest Judge

‘A beautiful package and well executed. You could send this one to print as it is’ Jason Smith – Art Director, Cornerstone

‘This design is a complete package – brilliantly executed. Each element appears brilliantly thought out and placed pleasingly across front, spine and back’ Richard Ogle – Art Director, Transworld

‘Josie’s cover is such a strong piece of work. It’s hard to see it and not feel the leaves and type are animated – and it suits the mood of the book beautifully’ Jamie Keenan – Guest Judge

Louis Gabaldoni, Norwich University of the Arts, 3rd Place

Norwegian Wood cover design by Louis Gabaldoni

Explanation of work

The concept behind my cover for Murakami’s Norwegian Wood involved combining two key themes of the book. One being love and relationships, and the other being the book’s strong use of forest and woodland imagery. Then I just tried to bring two visual elements of those themes together to create an image that I thought would provide a level of intrigue that would draw readers into the book.

Judges' Comments

‘This is a stunning design. I loved this clever concept. The use of the lip-shaped leaf is a smart, simple idea that works brilliantly in the context of the novel’ Suzanne Dean – Art Director, Vintage

‘I think the use of the lip-shaped leaf is a smart, simple concept that works brilliantly in the context of the novel. The starkness of the design is confident and bold and deserves the recognition it has received’ Richard Ogle – Art Director, Transworld

‘A clean, clever design with a simple and arresting approach’ Jason Smith – Art Director, Cornerstone

‘An enticing and attractive design, reminiscent of Japanese textiles. There is a sadness to the falling leaves, which is echoed in the vertical typography’ Suzanne Dean – Art Director, Vintage

 

Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award Winners

Non-Fiction award winning designs

Toby Clarke, University of Northampton, 1st Place

The Establishment cover design by Toby Clarke

Explanation of work

This clean and minimalistic design demonstrates the main themes of censorship and authority. This is achieved by the use of official-looking redacted text which has been manipulated to represent a government letter. It allows for the concept to express a cold, harsh and unreceptive tone through use of its restricted colour palette and rigid grid design. The use of redaction creates imagery of a metaphorical imposing brick wall which further emphasises the themes of obstruction and the prevention of information from 'the Establishment’.

Judges' Comments

‘A deceptively simple cover. The level of detail is superb. So many elements are tied together with a simple, unified, graphic style. A very strong book cover!’ Jim Stoddart – Art Director, Penguin Press

‘The winning entry combines strong concepts with strong execution. The cover is stark and beautiful. Heraldry embodies the Establishment in many respects and I like the designer’s clever spin on this visual language to reflect themes in the book’ Seb Lester – Guest Judge

‘A beautifully simple design, clear and well-crafted. The subversive emblem is a nice touch that adds a welcome anarchic dimension to the cover’ Richard Bravery – Senior Designer, Penguin General Books and Michael Joseph

‘Great marriage of clean design and great concepts at play. It has a strong message, but it is also pleasing to look at and distinctive. A strong winner’ Joanna Prior – Managing Director, Penguin General Books

‘A strong concept that was also confidently executed – every detail has been considered and refined’ Coralie Bickford-Smith – Guest Judge

‘An incredible cover. Really gets the sense of what I was trying to do with The Establishment which was to convey that sense that those with power wish to hide from us the truth, the reality about what’s happening in our society’ Owen Jones

Lewis Bowness, Nottingham Trent University, 2nd Place

The Establishment cover design by Lewis Bowness
Lewis Burnes award-winning entry

Seen through red filter

 

Explanation of work

Within my design I aimed to encapsulate the theme of the book emulating the idea that businessmen are greedy, ruthless and play dirty. I used a pig as they are portrayed in a derogatory manner. Some analogies are: greedy pig, pig headed and pig ignorant, often being depicted as dirty creatures. I laid two illustrations one over the other (red and blue) allowing the businessman illustration to be prominent over their piggish side. When viewed through a red acetate the blue becomes black and the red lines disappear, exposing the businessmen for what they really are – capitalist pigs.

Judges' Comments

‘An immediately striking and memorable cover. The image draws you in – it works quickly on an instinctive level, but you can’t help staring at it to work it out. The idea of it working with a red or blue lens feels incidental, the viewer gets the joke. But the concept of seeing the Establishment from different points of view – depending on your own “lens” – is clearly relevant’ Jim Stoddart – Art Director, Penguin Press

‘Clever and charismatic. You’re drawn to the hypnotic quality of the illustration, and it delivers on so many levels’ Richard Bravery – Senior Designer, Penguin General Books and Michael Joseph

‘A cover with great impact. The nod to Orwell feels right. There is both humour and anger there and a sense of the present jumping out at you. It invites the reader to engage the clever “red glasses” idea which works beautifully but the cover works well without it’ Joanna Prior – Managing Director, Penguin General Books

‘In a very evocative and striking way your cover gets across the character of those who rule over us – and the sense of a greedy, entitled elite’ Owen Jones

Samuel Ayres, Solent University, 3rd Place

The Establishment cover design by Samuel Ayres

Explanation of work

My design submission for The Establishment comes from a place of anger at the current political climate of our country. Many recent votes have been swayed by the ideology of the right wing, thanks to a monopoly of businesses wanting to stay wealthier than they need be. 

I wanted to take something very establishment - like a daily newspaper - and drag it down to the street level of those most affected by current politics, using the aesthetic of punk zines as a starting point, and working out how to best convey the text of Owen Jones with strong imagery.  

Judges' Comments

‘A very bold cover, full of anger and rebellion. I love the way the author’s name is shown. Despite the throw-away quality I love that this is a very carefully worked-out design – is actually two covers for the price of one – the neat newspaper element and the spirited lettering interacting with it over the top’ Jim Stoddart – Art Director, Penguin Press

‘A strong, protest-style approach that captures the spirit of the book. Infectiously energetic’ Richard Bravery – Senior Designer, Penguin General Books and Michael Joseph

‘I love the energy of this design. It’s angry and speaks to the frustration that is swirling around in our current political climate’ Joanna Prior – Managing Director, Penguin General Books

‘This cover feels unexpected and full of passion reflecting the anger I felt when reading the text. I was instantly drawn to this design; its rebellious nature shouted to me from across the room’ Coralie Bickford-Smith, Guest Judge

‘Absolutely brilliant. I really liked the punk aesthetic . . . it’s really striking, really powerful’ Owen Jones

Children's Cover Award Winners

Children's award-winning designs

Sian McKeever, University of the Arts London, 1st Place

Wonder cover design by Sian McKeever

Explanation of work

The concept behind my design was to capture the main character’s perspective of the world as a little boy. His world is whimsical and ever-expanding, full of curiosities, just like outer space.

Noting the character’s love of Star Wars, I illustrated Auggie as a duck in a space helmet. The duck is in reference to the character’s self-portrait he draws at school.

Lastly, the placement of the duck in the centre of the page is to symbolise how the other characters in the story orbit around Auggie’s life experiences.

Judges' Comments

‘Our stand-out winner – we all unanimously fell in love with the duck! It hits just the right note of intrigue, joy and hope in such a simple but powerful way’ Anna Billson – Art Director, Penguin Random House UK Children’s

‘Wow! Strikingly different, full of humour and yet tender in its approach. This simple, bold design captures the book’s individuality brilliantly. A unanimous first prize!’ Francesca Dow – Managing Director, Penguin Random House UK Children's

‘Beautiful and clever and shows that simplicity will get you the furthest. Could’ve easily ended up too young or cute but elegantly nails the right age group with the style and choice of colours’ Jan Bielecki – Guest Judge

‘This cover caught my attention straight away. It’s a bold and striking design. I loved the simplicity of the design which references a key moment in the book, without relying on having read the book first. It makes the viewer ask questions and want to know what the duck in a space helmet means! A wonderful cover! Congratulations!’ Laura Ellen Anderson – Guest Judge

Sam Prentice, Arts University Bournemouth, 2nd Place

Wonder cover design by Sam Prentice

Explanation of work

The main thing that struck me about the book was the way that Auggie talked about people looking at him. I explored this idea whilst also taking inspiration from the strapline. This led to the idea of using a crowd based around the different characters from the book. I felt that this was important; whilst Auggie is the central character, the story is told from many perspectives and I wanted these characters to be featured on the cover. Using a limited palette created contrast and focus within the image whilst also reiterating the idea of the main character standing out.

Judges' Comments

 ‘Really impactful as a cover. Bold illustration and use of colour are used to great effect. All the details, including the spine and back cover, are beautifully conceived and executed’ Francesca Dow – Managing Director, Penguin Random House UK Children's

‘Simple and graphic with a strong, confident illustration style. Gives you a sense of the ensemble of characters whilst still picking Auggie out’ Jan Bielecki – Guest Judge

‘A really impactful cover, sympathetically executed with a great eye for detail’ Anna Billson – Art Director, Penguin Random House UK Children’s

‘A very bold cover design and a great use of colour, that appeals to young readers. The use of the red against the blue really “pops” on the cover. The back cover also works very well, with the use of the red Converse to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The overall cover works wonderfully, creating a very bold and striking product’ Laura Ellen Anderson – Guest Judge

Beatrice Simpkiss, Arts University Bournemouth, 3rd Place

Wonder cover design by Beatrice Simpkiss

Explanation of work

For my design, I focused on Wonder’s strap line - ‘You can’t blend in if you are born to stand out’ - for inspiration. This quote, and the book’s themes of embracing being unique and being kind to others, inspired me to want to create a cover that would stand out amongst the existing designs and be something that would make children want to pick up Wonder and become involved in the story.

I chose to depict Auggie on the front of my cover, as he is the pivotal character in Wonder, abstractly through bright orange and yellow, to create almost a sense of magic around his character, as his uniqueness ultimately guides the whole story. I thought also that bright colours would help celebrate the story of kindness in Wonder

Judges' Comments

‘A beautiful cover that radiates with life’ Anna Billson – Art Director, Penguin Random House UK Children’s

‘Inventive and playful. I love the clever creation of a real “personality” on the cover, out of abstract colour and shapes and lettering. A very original approach’ Francesca Dow – Managing Director, Penguin Random House UK Children's

‘A wonderfully vibrant cover. The level of abstraction is measured and effective and the bold type makes the whole cover fly’ Jan Bielecki – Guest Judge

‘This is a great way to represent the main character. I love the integration of type and illustration, and the use of a vivid colour palette to make the overall cover design really stand out – just like Auggie himself!’ Laura Ellen Anderson – Guest Judge