Adult Non-Fiction Cover Shortlist

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits focuses on the combination of small decisions and behaviours that combine to create a better life. My book concept is based upon this combination of small, different habits, building and layering together to have a larger effect than they would on their own. I created my design by taking small rips of cardboard, paper and other physical materials, and piecing them together to form the words 'Atomic Habits' – just as small habits piece together to transform your life.

A beautifully layered, well-crafted design that subtly alludes to the narrative of change and habit. We loved the way that George has combined collage with this subject matter to achieve a striking and genre bending design. A worthy winner. 

Richard Bravery, Art Director, Penguin General

2nd prize, James Gregory

The idea behind my design is to capture the juxtapositions between good and bad habits in a comedic way whilst adhering to the formal teachings within the book through the layout/composition. The organisation suggests that the final outcome of the book will make the reader organised as well having daily routines. On the other hand, the bright imagery reflects the positive nature of the book's contents and its modern therapy.

Mixing humour into a conceptual design that is trying to articulate a complex subject is a very difficult idea to pull off effectively, but this design achieves it with ease. I loved the sense of opposites and the deft way that James had combined the icons to create a clear promise. Bold and deceptively simple, bravo.  

Richard Bravery, Art Director, Penguin General

3rd prize, Craig Ferdinando

My work was created to be visually minimal in design but to uphold a deeper meaning in concept which relates closely with the book itself. I got the idea from the concept of habit-stacking which the book discusses and found something that visually represents this – rock-stacking. Rock-stacking is an ancient practice with many spiritual meanings; they are symbols of stability, creativity, self-worth, strength, and fragility all at once. To create a stable structure in rock-stacking you have to make small adjustments to the rocks to allow it to balance, after all the small adjustments you are left with an incredible structure. This links with the concept of habit-stacking, by making small changes to create remarkable results.

I love how ambitious the design is. A clever concept underpins the visual that encourages the reader to engage on a deeper level. I loved the way that Craig has taken the idea beyond the illustration and into the layout and typography, each element embodying the idea of balance.  

Richard Bravery, Art Director, Penguin General

Charlotte Gill

What stood out to me in the book was how you should be ‘the designer of your world and not merely the consumer of it’ and can therefore craft your own identity to flourish into who you want to be. While the small elements of habit building may seem insignificant individually, they bring power and significance when they are brought together, much like the pieces of a collage, and allow for beautiful roots of change to come forward.

Ellie Parkes

I use my alarms app every day; to wake me up, remind me to do things, make sure I do things on time and get places on time- it helps me build my habits. Yet, because it's so mundane and familiar it can be overlooked as the useful tool it can be when building systems to aid habit formation. It taps into 2 of the Four Laws of Behaviour Change (cue and response), which is why I've taken the concept onto the cover of Atomic Habits.

Jessica Cracknell

The meaning of the book aligned well with a phrase my mother had told me when I had recently been home. She says it differently, but it’s a variation of ‘From little acorns, mighty oak trees grow.’ I believe the imagery encapsulated the meaning of Atomic Habits in its entirety. And how beautiful to know that the smallest choice and change can make such a significant difference?

Joanne Griffin

Using the idea of repetition and simplicity, I created my cover design on the concept of handwritten notes, you could say a to-do list of small habits. I wanted to approach the cover with a minimalistic but interesting design that reflects on James Clears' words of “small changes, remarkable results.” I achieved my design by taking one sentence, repeating it and forming it into a large graphic image. I wanted the design to look like I had used a blue biro (pen) that gave it a back-to-basics feel.

Megan Smith

My design focuses on the concept that a 1% improvement every day can make or break a habit, an idea explained in Atomic Habits. I visualised this rule by creating a pattern that gradually grows, mimicking improvement over time. The shapes grow and shrink, illustrating how change can foster good habits and minimise bad ones. I chose a vivid colour scheme to make the book stand out on a shelf and used a clear typeface to ensure readability against the busy background.

Ryan Bell

Originally, I started playing around with some isometric drawings of people, but the design slowly began to radiate the feeling of a science lab instructional guide, so it seemed fitting that the atomic microscope would end up resembling the ideas of looking deep into yourself and improving the little things that make the biggest difference. Keeping that in mind, making the design simple was not something that came easy. But I knew it would support the ideas of the book nicely and give the viewer just enough of that feeling to pick it up.

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