Students shortlisted for prestigious annual Design Award

Matt Ward, Graphic Design Student, Penguin Design Competition Entry

Published: Monday 1 June 2015

Two Blackpool and Fylde College students are celebrating as they have been shortlisted by Penguin Random House UK for its prestigious annual Design Award.  The 2015 Penguin Random House Design Award, which comprises the Adult Fiction Cover Award, Adult Non Fiction Cover Award and the Children’s Cover Award, received more than 1,200 entries from aspiring designers across the UK.

Simon, 23 and Matt, 26, are two of just 20 students from across the UK including Cardiff, London, Edinburgh, Blackpool and internationally the USA who made the Adult Fiction Cover Award and Children’s Cover Award shortlist. Their place on the shortlist puts them both in the running to win one of two £1,000 cash prizes and one of two design placements with the UK’s biggest book publisher.

Simon took on the challenge of designing Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner and will be judged by founder of Mind Candy and creator of Moshi Monsters Michael Acton Smith; graphic designer Angus Hyland, and Penguin Random House UK’s Art Directors  Jim Stoddart and John Hamilton and Managing Director Joanna Prior.  While Matt designed a cover for Nina Bawden’s Carrie’s War and will be judged by illustrator Cathy Cassidy; writer and illustrator Ed Vere and Penguin Random House UK’s Managing Director for Children’s Francesca Dow and Art Director Anna Billson.

Now in its ninth year, the Design Award offers students on an Art or Design course at HND or degree level exposure to and guidance from some of the publishing industry’s leading lights with the challenge to design a cover for a selected adult fiction, adult non-fiction or children’s book. Penguin Random House Art Directors give shortlisted entrants feedback and further art direction on their cover submissions and invite them to resubmit their work, taking all the comments on board, before the final round of judging.

On hearing he had made the shortlist Simon says “My tutor Ben had included the Penguin Random House Design Award as a module for our final year. After completing my design Ben said he could see it sitting on the shelves…so I entered it. I feel completely overwhelmed to have been shortlisted and have already been sought out by a small design agency based in Manchester.”

Matt said “I first heard about the Penguin Design Awards in the second year of my course and immediately couldn’t wait to get stuck into something new. I knew winning competitions gets you known in the industry so knew I had to enter, so I am over the moon to of been shortlisted and hopefully it will help me get on the foot of the ladder in the industry.”

Joanna Prior, Managing Director of Penguin General says in the shortlisted entries she is looking for “A fresh approach to a book we are already familiar with – so originality and a wow factor.  We are also looking to see all the elements of good design coming together harmoniously – strong use of type, smart decisions about colour and illustration or photography.”

Anna Billson, Art Director, Penguin Random House UK Children’s, leads a team of over 40 designers which includes some previous finalists for the Design Award.  She says “What I look for as a judge in this Award is much the same as what I look for whilst working with my team of talented designers every day.  It is about having a great eye for design and using it effectively to connect readers with the stories and experiences that are waiting for them beyond the cover.  Every year I am always excited when I see that genuine talent shine through.”

Tom Weldon, CEO, Penguin Random House UK, says “Penguin Random House has created thousands of iconic book covers and we pride ourselves in being a home for the best creative talent in our industry.  Through the Penguin Random House Design Award we are able to engage with a new generation of designers who, we hope, will join us in inspiring and entertaining readers everywhere, both now and in the future.”

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