Penguin Random House UK’s 2019 Student Design Award winners have been revealed

20 June 2019

Bethany Rush (Via Penguin Random House)

It’s that time again. At a ceremony held last night, Penguin Random House revealed the trio of students who’ve got their hands on the highly-coveted and ever-prestigious student design awards.

As ever, entrants from across the UK’s universities were tasked with experiencing real cover
design briefs first-hand, going on to produce reimaginings of three books from the vast Penguin Random House archives.

Falmouth University’s Bethany Rush grabbed the Adult Fiction Cover Award for her work on Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, the University of Northampton’s Toby Clarke saw his design for Owen Jones’ The Establishment take the Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award, and the Children’s Cover Award went to UAL student Sian McKeever’s effort on Wonder by RJ Palacio.

Talking about her award-winning take on the Murakami novel, Bethany Rush says she was drawn to “the characters’ desire for understanding pain through letter-writing,” which explains the stamp motif nice and succinctly.

Toby Clarke’s clear, minimal interpretation of Owen Jones’ analysis of how the British establishment continue to get away with fucking the bulk of the populace over on a daily basis uses “official-looking redacted text which has been manipulated to represent a Government letter,” in order to “further emphasize the themes of obstruction and the prevention of information from the Establishment,” that are found in the book.

For Sian McKeever, a sci-fi classic was a source of inspiration. “Noting the character’s love of Star Wars, I illustrated Auggie [a character in RJ Palacio’s Wonder as a duck in a space helmet. The duck is in reference to the character’s self-portrait he draws at school,” Sian says.

The mega-publisher notes that “All three winners will receive a work placement within the Penguin Random House UK design studios, as well as a £1,000 cash prize.”

Penguin Press’ art director Jim Stoddart says: “The winning designs stood apart for their unique and original interpretation of the brief, whilst perfectly capturing the themes and narrative of each book. They were all united in bringing to life simple yet hugely powerful concepts, with bold style and impeccable execution.”


Toby Clarke (Via Penguin Random House UK)


Sian McKeever (Via Penguin Random House UK)

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About the Author

Josh Baines

Josh Baines joined It's Nice That from July 2018 to July 2019 as News Editor, covering new high-profile projects, awards announcements, and everything else in between.

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