Due to the impact of the current coronavirus outbreak the terms and conditions of this competition have changed. Please see the amended terms and conditions below.


Entries will be accepted through this website between 00:01 (GMT) on Wednesday, 4 December 2019 and 14:00 (GMT) on Tuesday, 3 March 2020.


To be eligible for the 2020 competition, you must be a student on a Further Education or Higher Education course (part time or full time) in any subject and at any level at the time of the deadline for entries (3 March 2020). Entrants must be aged 18 or over by 1 July 2020. The competition is not open to graphic design professionals.

Entrants must be eligible to work in the UK and must be available to take up the 4-week work placement if they win the first prize. We regret that Penguin Random House UK is unable to provide a certificate of sponsorship should a work visa be required in order to take up the first prize work placement.

We advise entrants that ideally they should have a reasonable standard of English so that, if they win the first prize, they are able to get the most out of their work placement.

There can be only one named entrant per entry.


Entrants may submit one design into each of the following categories: (i) the Adult Fiction Cover Award; (ii) the Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award; (iii) the Children’s Cover Award. You may not submit more than one design for each category.


All entries must be supplied digitally via the submissions form which will be made available on Wednesday 4 December. Entries submitted in any other way, including by email or hard copy, will not be accepted.

Entries must be supplied as a high-resolution PDF, 300 dpi, CMYK.


1. There is no fee to enter the competition.

2. Closing date for receipt of all entries is 14:00 (GMT) on Tuesday, 3 March 2020.

3. This competition is open to students on a Further Education or Higher Education course (part time or full time) in any subject and at any level. Entrants must be aged 18 or over by 1 July 2020. This competition is not open to graphic design professionals or to employees of Promoter, their families, agents and anyone else connected with this competition. Entrants must be eligible to work in the UK and must be available to take up the 4-week work placement if they win first prize.

4. No responsibility can be accepted for incorrectly uploaded entries or those that are illegible or corrupted. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid and shall not be considered.

5. All correctly completed entries for each category shall be forwarded to a judging panel, comprised as follows, who will select a shortlist of entries for each category:

a) Adult Fiction Cover Award – The Penguin Random House Art Directors, Penguin General Managing Director and guest judges.

b) Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award – The Penguin Random House Art Directors and guest judges.

c) Children’s Cover Award – The Penguin Random House UK Children’s Art Director, Penguin Random House UK Children’s Managing Director and guest judges.

6. The shortlists for each category will be announced on this website by Wednesday 24 June 2020.

7. The shortlisted entrants will be contacted in writing by Wednesday, 24 June 2020 and required to submit a short, typewritten text (max. 50–100 words only) submitted as a Word document, explaining the concept for the design. A digital copy must also be supplied. The text must be submitted by Wednesday 8 July 2020.

8. Entries will not be returned and the Promoter accepts no responsibility for the loss of or damage to any submissions. 

9. A first-, second- and third-prize winner will be selected for each of the three categories. The winning designs will be the ones which, in the opinion of the judges, best fulfil the brief.

10. All entrants whose entries are shortlisted will be contacted by Tuesday 22 September 2020 with the results of the final judging and all shortlisted entrants will be sent a certificate.

11. The first-prize winner of each of the three categories will be offered a four-week work placement in the Penguin Random House Design Studios and a cash prize of £1,000 and a trophy. The work placement will be paid at the London Living Wage rate. Accommodation and any other costs associated with the work placement will not be provided. All work placements will be subject to agreeing terms and will be required to take place before 15 June 2021 on dates to be mutually agreed between the Promoter and the winners. The provision of the work placement prize shall be subject to any necessary restrictions under government guidance concerning the Coronavirus (COVID -19) outbreak. The second-prize winners of each category will each receive a cash prize of £500. The third-prize winners of each category will each receive a cash prize of £350.

12. The prizes are non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered to the first-prize winners. However, if, at the sole discretion of the judges, none of the entries in any of the categories is of a sufficiently high standard to merit the awards, no prizes, or only second and third prizes, may be awarded.

13. Events may occur that render the design competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter. The Promoter may, at its absolute discretion, vary or amend the competition and the terms thereof and the winners agree that, in such event, no liability shall attach itself to the Promoter, provided that any substituted prize shall be of no lesser value.

14. The decision of the judges is final and correspondence will be entered into only at the absolute discretion of the Promoter.

15. The winners agree to take part in reasonable post-event publicity and to the use of their names and photographs in such publicity.

16. Entrants acknowledge and agree that the Penguin, Black Swan and Puffin design templates, Penguin, Black Swan and Puffin logos and the cover copy supplied in the entry packs are the property of Promoter. Entrants’ use of any material comprised in the entry packs, including the items listed in the previous sentence, is limited to use in respect of this competition only. No further use shall be permitted without the Promoter’s prior written consent.

17. All entrants hereby license to Promoter the use of their entry for display on any Promoter-owned or third-party website or other media for publicity purposes. Entrants further permit Promoter to display their entries in a physical exhibition. The choice of which entries are included in any such exhibition shall be solely made by the Promoter without consultation. Appropriate credits will be given to each item displayed, but Promoter shall not be under any obligation to hold such exhibitions, or to include every entry if it does.

18. By entering this competition each entrant confirms that his/her entry is their wholly-owned creation and to the extent that such entry makes use of any third party materials, that these have been fully cleared unless they are no longer protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights. Entrants must ensure that their entry makes clear reference to any 3rd materials used. Entrants will keep the Promoter harmless from any claims in relation to their entry alleging that the entry infringes the personal or proprietary right of any other person.

19. Promoter will use any data submitted by entrants only for the purposes of running the competition, unless otherwise stated in the entry details. By entering this competition, all entrants consent to the use of their personal data by Promoter for the purposes of the administration of this competition and any other purposes to which the entrant has consented.

20. Promoter may disqualify any entrant whose entry does not comply with these terms and conditions (in Promoter’s sole opinion) or who, in Promoter’s sole determination, has acted in a manner that is fraudulent, dishonest or unjust to other entrants including, without limitation, tampering with the operation of the competition, manipulating or rigging votes, hacking, deceiving, cheating or by harassing or threatening other entrants, the panel or a representative of Promoter.

21. These terms and conditions are governed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and the courts of the same shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any claims arising out of or in connection with this promotion.


Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL on behalf of itself and the Random House Group Limited, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA.

Write to us at:

Penguin Random House Student Design Award

80 Strand



Email us at: mail@penguinrandomhousedesignaward.co.uk.

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