Bold, graphic of three prospective book covers in orange, black and white

Adult Non-Fiction category

Atomic Habits by James Clear 

He calls them atomic habits. 
In this ground-breaking book, Clear reveals exactly how these minuscule changes can grow into such life-altering outcomes. He uncovers a handful of simple life hacks (the forgotten art of Habit Stacking, the unexpected power of the Two Minute Rule, or the trick to entering the Goldilocks Zone) and delves into cutting-edge psychology and neuroscience to explain why they matter. Along the way, he tells inspiring stories of Olympic gold medallists, leading CEOs and distinguished scientists who have used the science of tiny habits to stay productive, motivated and happy. 
This book will give you the tools to make small changes that will have a transformative effect on your career, your relationships and your life.  

‘Illuminating . . . The attractive message . . . is that life doesn’t have to be a chore or a bore . . . The first move toward order might be a step as small as putting on your exercise clothes’ Wall Street Journal  

‘A supremely practical and useful book. James Clear distils the most fundamental information about habit formation, so you can accomplish more by focusing on less’ Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck 

The Brief

Your cover design should encapsulate the accessible and inspiring message of the book in an immediate and engaging way. Atomic Habits is for everyone who is seeking to make positive change in their lives and the cover design should communicate this message to the broad readership. 

Your cover design needs to include all the cover copy supplied and be designed to the Penguin standard design template (B format, 198mm high x 129mm wide, spine width 20mm) and must incorporate the Penguin branding and all the additional elements such as the barcode. Please refer to the submission details page for full details on how to submit your entry. 

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’. 

Read the book before you start designing

We recommend that you read the book before you start on your design in order to get a sense of the themes and of the author’s voice. Atomic Habits is stocked in most bookshops and libraries or, if you would like to be sent a link to download a free digital copy, please register your request here

What the judges are looking for in a winning design

Your cover design should encapsulate the essence or key themes of the book in an imaginative, instant and engaging way. To help you get started, we’ve set out the top things to consider when designing a book cover, and what we look for when narrowing down our shortlist. Read more here.

The Prizes

1st Prize 

The first prize winner of each of the three categories will receive a six-month-long mentorship programme with a member of the Penguin Art Department (dates to be confirmed). They will also receive a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium tablet and Penguin Random House design books to the value of £100. 

2nd Prize 

The second-prize winners of each category will receive a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium tablet and Penguin Random House design books to the value of £100. 

3rd Prize 

The third-prize winners of each category will receive a Wacom Intuos Medium tablet and Penguin Random House design books to the value of £100. 

The Judges

Richard Bravery - Art Director, Penguin General

Richard studied Illustration at Falmouth and has an MA in Typography from London College of Printing. After graduating Richard worked in a variety of creative industries including Furniture Design, before embarking on a career in Cover Design firstly at 4th Estate and then with Penguin, where he has worked since 2007. As Art Director for Penguin General, he works on a wide-ranging list of authors including Zadie Smith, Dave Eggers, John le Carré and Alain De Botton.  

Lee Motley - Art Director, Michael Joseph

After graduating from the University of Westminster, Lee took a junior designer position at Harper Collins Publishers. After 19 years, she left her role as Art Director to join Penguin Books as Deputy Art Director to John Hamilton. For the next few years Lee designed and art-directed for both Penguin General and Michael Joseph, on a range of fiction and non-fiction titles. Now, as Art Director for Michael Joseph, she works on a wide range of new talent and established authors including Marian Keyes, Jamie Oliver, Dawn French and Jojo Moyes.

Jim Stoddart - Art Director, Penguin Press

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After graduating in Sheffield, Jim took a placement at Bill Smith Studio in London, which turned into a job designing record and CD covers for such labels as EMI, Virgin, BMG, Mute and Trojan Records. Five years later he joined Penguin, where he worked as a cover designer for eighteen months, and then he went to work with Chris Ashworth under Lewis Blackwell at Getty Images for twelve months. In 2001 he returned to Penguin as Art Director of Penguin Press, where he has overseen the redesign and rebranding of Penguin Classics, Penguin Modern Classics and Pelican Books, as well as designing and art-directing covers for Penguin’s Allen Lane hardback imprint, the Particular Books imprint and Penguin non-fiction paperbacks.

Guest judges

To be announced

Penguin Cover Design Award

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