Student Design Award 2018



Your chance to win a work placement within the
Penguin Random House Design Studios
as well as £1,000 in prize money


Please note that the application window for entries to the Student Design Award 2018 has now closed. Best of luck to all who entered.

The Penguin Random House Student Design Award is an opportunity for students interested in pursuing a career in design to experience real cover design briefs first-hand.

The competition is open to anyone studying 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 (6 March 2018). Entrants must be aged 18 or over by 1 July 2018.  The competition is not open to graphic design professionals. Entrants must be available to take up the 4-week work placement if they win the first prize. See the Terms and Conditions for full details of entry requirements.

To enter, select the category/s you would like to submit an entry for, read the briefs and get designing!

Students may enter a maximum of one design in each of the three categories.

To make the process even more similar to the way our designers work, once the judges have selected the shortlist, the Art Directors will email the shortlisted entrants with individual feedback and further art direction on their cover designs.

This year, our three briefs are:


Adult Fiction Cover Award

Adult Fiction Cover Award

Animal Farm

George Orwell

Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award

A Brief History of Time

Stephen Hawking

Children's Cover Award

Noughts & Crosses

Malorie Blackman

Important Dates

Closing date for entries – Tuesday 6 March 2018, 12:00 noon (GMT)

Shortlist announcement – Wednesday 25 April 2018

Closing date for shortlisted student’s final submissions – Thursday 10 May 2018, 12:00 noon (GMT)

Winners announced – Wednesday 20 June 2018


A letter from Tom Weldon, Penguin Random House CEO

Standout cover design is an integral part of the success of a book and Penguin Random House has created thousands of iconic book covers throughout the years. The vital role of illustrators and designers in the production of some of the world's best-loved adult and children's books has created and defined the identity of our UK publishing lists.

We value creativity and design incredibly highly, and started the Penguin Random House Student Design Award twelve years ago to encourage the next generation of designers to use their amazing talents to help us tell our authors' stories.

I am always impressed with the quality of submissions and I look forward to seeing what this year’s talent has to offer.  


"The Award gave me the stepping stone I needed to find a career I'm passionate about and to discover my love for illustrating literary fiction"

Alexandra Allden – winner of the Penguin Adult Cover Award 2011


This year, we're partnering with Lecture in Progress to spread the word about the Penguin Random House Student Design Award. Lecture in Progress is a new creative resource launched earlier this year by the creators of It's Nice That. Covering design, illustration, photography, filmmaking, advertising and animation, it offers first-hand accounts, advice and insight into creative jobs and careers. It's currently free for students and takes a few moments to become a member – simply visit to sign up.