Penguin Random House UK has revealed the winners of its 2020 Design Award, with students from Glasgow School of Art, Central Saint Martins and Kingston University scooping the top prizes.
For the last 14 years, the Penguin Student Design Award has sought to find and nurture the “next generation” of book cover designers by giving young creatives the chance to work with real briefs. The competition is divided into three categories: adult fiction, adult non-fiction and children’s.
This year saw more than 2,000 entries across the categories, with hopefuls tasked with designing covers for The Night Manager by John le Carré, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.
A shortlist of designers was announced back in August, which whittled down the thousands to just 30. Now the final results of the three categories have been revealed, with the winners, second and third placed winners being awarded £1,000, £500 and £350 cash respectively.
Glasgow School of Art student Annie Kobyluch has won first place in the adult category for her minimalist cover for le Carré’s espionage novel, which features a do not disturb sign hung on a pistol.
Using Penguin’s signature orange as a backdrop, Kobyluch says she intentionally limited her colour palette to just this, black and white in order so as not to “provide a distraction to the visual concept”.
Megan Glover, a student from Central Saint Martins has been awarded the top prize for non-fiction. Glover’s cover for Bill Bryson’s pop-science book features a banana front and centre, a reference to the point the author makes about humans sharing more than half their DNA with the fruit.
Her abstract and light-hearted take on the book’s content is what won the judges over, with judge and Cornerstone art director Jason Smith calling it a “fun, graphic and impactful solution”.
And it was Kingston University student Chi Park who won in this year’s children’s category with a watercolour cover for Magorian’s war-time story. Park used a “restrained” colour palette to evoke the dark war-time era depicted in the book, but added in a sense of “warm nostalgia” by adding texture to the illustrations.
The winning designs were settled upon by a panel of judges both from within Penguin Random House and guest judges. These included Eliza Williams, editor of Creative Review, Jamie Littler, author and illustrator and illustrators Millie Marotta, Yehrin Tong and Sarah Horne.
The 2020 winners in full:
Adult Fiction Cover Award (The Night Manager by John le Carré)
- First place: Annie Kobyluch, Glasgow School of Art
- Second place: Olivia McEwan Hill, Leeds Arts University
- Third place: Alissa Morgan, York St John University
Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award (A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson)
- First place: Megan Glover, Central Saint Martins, UAL
- Second place: Allana Friedrich, Middlesex University
- Third place: Kael Crozier, Leeds Arts University
Children’s Cover Award (Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian)
- First place: Chi Park, Kingston University
- Second place: Beatrice Simpkiss, Arts University Bournemouth
- Third place: Adriena Fong, Falmouth University