Adult Fiction Cover Award

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Orwell's chilling 'fairy story', is a timeless and devastating satire of idealism betrayed by power and corruption.

When the downtrodden animals of Manor Farm overthrow their master Mr Jones and take over the farm themselves, they imagine it is the beginning of a life of freedom and equality. But gradually a cunning, ruthless élite among them, masterminded by the pigs Napoleon and Snowball, starts to take control. Soon the other animals discover that they are not all as equal as they thought, and find themselves hopelessly ensnared as one form of tyranny is replaced with another.

'Animal Farm is a timeless satire on the central tragi-comedy of all politics—that is, the tragi-comedy of corruption by power' Timothy Garton Ash

'It is the book for everyone and Everyman, its brightness undimmed after fifty years' - Ruth Rendell

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

‘In a hundred ways Animal Farm triggers our modern intelligence and persists in its relevance, and its seemingly simple yet subtle fable still belongs to us as we try to find our way through the changing political and moral labyrinths of twentieth-century history.’ - Malcolm Bradbury

We are looking for a cover design which will reflect the book’s status as one of the great modern political allegories of our time, as relevant today as it was when it was first published over 50 years ago.  It is rich with ideas, characters, allegory, political and moral philosophy – read it and decide for yourself how best to showcase the content of this remarkable novel through your cover design and bring it to a 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 8 mm, incorporating the Penguin branding and all additional elements such as the barcode. Please refer to the Submissions Details page for full details of the spec and how to submit your entry.

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

John Hamilton – Art Director, Penguin General

John attended the Glasgow School of Art and Design and specialized in illustration. He then became a junior book designer, and has continued on this path ever since.

John came to Penguin in 1997 as Penguin Art Director and was the driving force behind dropping the orange spines from the majority of Penguin fiction. He was also responsible, along with Jim Stoddart, for Penguin’s Seventieth Birthday Campaign, inviting seventy designers, artists and illustrators to create one cover each, designed within seven days for a flat fee of £70.

John is responsible for art-directing Penguin’s hardback imprints, Viking, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Fig Tree and Penguin Ireland.
 

Joanna Prior – Managing Director, Penguin General Books

Joanna has had a guiding hand on Penguin’s design for many years. In her role as Marketing and Publicity Director of Penguin UK (until July 2009) she helped to position Penguin’s books for the marketplace through their cover design and through some innovative and award-winning marketing campaigns. For the past sixteen years she has also run Penguin’s art committee, which is responsible for the comprehensive collection of text-based art that adorns the meeting rooms and corridors of Penguin’s offices at 80 Strand. In her current role as Managing Director of Penguin General Books she is responsible for publishing prize winners and bestsellers, including Ali Smith, Arundhati Roy, Nick Hornby, Zadie Smith, Antony Beevor, John le Carré and Colm Tóibín.
 

Jim Stoddart – Art Director, Penguin Press

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

This year's guest judges will be announced shortly.

Classic Covers

Previous Winners