Adult Fiction Cover Award

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’

A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.

‘Someone rare has written this very fine novel, a writer with the liveliest sense of life and the warmest, most authentic humour. A touching book; and so funny, so likeable.’ Truman Capote

‘No one ever forgets this book’ Independent

The Brief

The Prizes

The Judges

Classic Covers

Previous Winners

‘Sitting alongside and being mentored by other talented designers was an invaluable experience, learning from them as well as having the chance to work on live briefs and contribute to the team . . . It's really exciting to see the book cover I designed during my work placement in print and in bookshops!’

 

Ellen Rockell – winner of the Penguin Adult Cover Award 2014

 

The Brief

To Kill A Mockingbird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece of modern literature and was voted the most loved book of the last sixty years by The Times readers in October 2009. It has been translated into more than forty languages and has sold over thirty million copies worldwide. So no pressure.

We would like you to design a new and classic cover for this book. The trick here will be to come at it from a fresh perspective and to avoid repeating the obvious iconography from the many previous editions in print. If you can get your hands on a copy of the book in order to get a sense of the beautiful writing, this will only help to inspire your design. The cover should feel timeless and confident, and appeal to a whole new generation of readers.

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 20 mm, incorporating the ARROW branding and all additional elements such as the barcode.

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 jacket need to work together as a cohesive whole, remember that the front cover must be effective on its own and be eye-catching within a crowded bookshop setting. It also needs to be able to work on screen for digital retailers such as Amazon.

The winning design will need to:

  • have an imaginative concept and original interpretation of the brief
  • be competently executed with strong use of typography
  • appeal to a contemporary readership
  • show a good understanding of the marketplace
  • have a point of difference from the many other book covers it is competing against

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’.

 

The Brief

You are invited to design a cover look for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole to bring this much loved classic to a new generation of readers. The design should ensure that this original and hilariously funny book remains a must-read for every child.

Your cover design needs to include all the cover copy supplied and be designed to the specifieddesign template [link to design template PDF] (B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine width 16.6mm), incorporating the PUFFIN branding and all additional elements such as the barcode.

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. The cover should encourage children to pick the book up and buy it for themselves and should also engage adults to want to buy it for them.

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 

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 3rd party images used.

For example: ‘Cover photograph by Joe Bloggs’.

The Brief

You are invited to design a cover look for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole to bring this much loved classic to a new generation of readers. The design should ensure that this original and hilariously funny book remains a must-read for every child.

Your cover design needs to include all the cover copy supplied and be designed to the specifieddesign template [link to design template PDF] (B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine width 16.6mm), incorporating the PUFFIN branding and all additional elements such as the barcode.

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. The cover should encourage children to pick the book up and buy it for themselves and should also engage adults to want to buy it for them.

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 

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 3rd party images used.

For example: ‘Cover photograph by Joe Bloggs’.

 

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

Suzanne Dean – Art Director, Vintage

Suzanne graduated from Kingston University, where she studied Graphic Design. Her first job was at The Greenhouse, designing food packaging and brochures. A year later she was asked if she might be interested in publishing. She joined Penguin Books as a Senior Designer, working for Hamish Hamilton. Three years later she joined Macmillan, to work on the Picador list. Five years later she joined Random House as Art Director for Vintage Books, whose many imprints include Jonathan Cape, Chatto & Windus and Harvill Secker. Here she established the design for the Vintage Classics list. Her covers include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Sense of an Ending, Atonement and Murakami's Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.

Richard Ogle – Art Director, Transworld

Richard graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a Graphic Design degree and the intention of working in corporate graphics and packaging but was fortuitously drawn into publishing through design agency The Senate. He became Art Director at Transworld in 2015. He was previously Art Director at Cornerstone for thirteen years. He has also worked at Pan Macmillan as Associate Art Director, and Headline Books as a Senior Designer

Over the years he has worked on a range of cover designs for books in all genres, ranging from novels by John Grisham, James Herbert, James Patterson, Karin Slaughter, Wilbur Smith, P.G. Wodehouse, Lisa Jewell, Jilly Cooper and Douglas Coupland, to autobiographies by Peter Kay, Tony Blair, David Jason, Rod Stewart, Steve Coogan and John Cleese.

Jason Smith – Art Director, Cornerstone

After graduating from the University of Derby with a BA Honours in Graphic Design, Jason moved to London to further his education at Central Saint Martins. He began his career working for a company which specialized in packaging for CDs and DVDs, combining his passion for music and film with design.

The move into publishing was a natural progression and he secured a job at Random House as designer, quickly followed by a more senior role. He has recently been made Art Director of Cornerstone, working on a list of successful authors including James Patterson, Helen Dunmore, Tony Parsons, Hugh Howey and Katie Price to name a few.

Guest Judges

Sarah Hyndman

Sarah Hyndman is a graphic designer, author and public speaker, known for her interest in the psychology of type, and who aims to change the way we think and talk about typography. She has given talks about typography at TEDx, TYPO, SxSW and a range of other conferences.

Her recent book, Why Fonts Matter, opens up the science and the art behind how fonts influence us and explains why certain fonts or styles evoke particular experiences and associations.  ‘A fascinating insight into how type can influence our feelings, our senses, and even our taste’ – Professor Charles Spence on Why Fonts Matter.

Sarah runs an experiential type studio, Type Tasting, delivering unique and innovative talks, workshops and events designed to educate and entertain.

Sarah set up and ran graphic design company With Relish for ten years with clients including the Almeida Theatre, Coutts bank and the Philharmonia Orchestra. She continues as a practicing graphic designer and she incorporates the results of her research into her work. She is currently branding a collective of scientists and artists, working with a new restaurant on their menus and wayfinding, and creating the identity for a new food range incorporating a positive approach to eating. 

Sarah specialises in making a complex topic accessible with originality, humour, a dash of theatre and lashings of audience participation. Audiences are often invited to join in with multi-sensory experiments before the talk so they take part in the discovery process. 

www.sarahhyndman.com

Chris Packham

Extraordinarily creative and prolific, Chris Packham has gained recognition as a naturalist, television presenter, writer, photographer, conservationist, campaigner and filmmaker.  He is best known for the BAFTA-winning The Really Wild Show and fronting BBC’s Springwatch and Autumnwatch. In 2011, he was awarded the British Trust for Ornithology's Dilys Breese Medal for his ‘outstanding work in promoting science to new audiences’ and in 2016 he was awarded the Wildscreen Panda Award for Outstanding Achievement in recognition of his significant contribution to wildlife filmmaking, conservation and the public’s understanding of the environment. 

Chris is passionate about design, film and photography.  With many books published, his first photography book, 100 Things That Caught My Eye, (2014) depicted an eclectic collection of his photographs accompanied by his thoughts and insights as he captured each shot.  He designed the cover for his bestselling, beautifully wrought coming of age memoir Fingers in the Sparkle Jar published in May 2016 to high critical acclaim.

www.chrispackham.co.uk

Classic Covers

Previous Winners