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  • Katy Laundon

Penguin Student Design Awards 2020

Updated: May 28, 2020

The Penguin Student Design Awards are here again, giving further and higher education students the chance to win a work placement with Penguin Random House and £1000 prize money. The brief is to redesign the cover of a well known penguin book.

There are three categories adult fiction, adult non-fiction and children's award, and the book titles this year are The Night Manager by John le Carre for fiction, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson for the adult non-fiction and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.

I decided to enter the children's book cover category again this year. I started by reading the book, and as I read I made notes, made a mind-map and doodled some illustrations in my sketchbook. Such a powerful and emotional story about a young boy called William Beech who has been evacuated to a small Dorset village from London during the Second World War. Living with old Mister Tom Oakley, William really comes out of his shell, he learns to read and write and makes some amazing friendships. Then his abusive mother calls him back to London and it's up to Mister Tom to save him.

My first thoughts after reading the story were that I would like to try to keep the image I create apt for the era it was set in, the 1940's, where possible using traditional methods such as painting and printing rather then digital art.

Looking in different book shops and libraries the vast majority of book covers do seem to be digitally produced, with only a small amount that seem to have been hand illustrated. I wanted to try to produce a piece of fitting artwork using print and collage.

This is the lino print I made of a tandem bicycle leaning against a traditional stone country wall. Bikes are featured throughout the book, Mister Tom and William ride a tandem together, as William doesn't know how and is also too weak to learn. The symbolism behind a bike, or a tandem, I think makes this a very fitting image, it's about a journey, moving from one place to another, in this case emotionally, the tandem is about two people working together, there is a partnership between the two people riding the bike, meaning they are making the journey together, helping each other all the way. I think this really summarizes the relationship between the two main characters.

This is the first image I created on the left, using all of the patterns I made in the print room and my lino cut of the tandem. The feed back I received from people was that the greens were too vibrant and didn't really work with the lino print. The image on the right was another attempt at putting the cover together. I used water colour on textured paper for the sky and used my printed patterns as the green fields having played with them in photoshop. I prefered the one on the right but when I printed it out and folded it around a book it didn't look right, the bike was in the wrong place and to me it seemed squashed up. So I decided to re-cut the lino, keeping the image of a tandem and a wall but cutting them seperatly so they could be moved adround and adjusted on photoshop to keep the proportions.

These are the new lino prints that I will scan into Photoshop and arrange onto the book cover template.

I looked into the typefaces that were used and were popular at the time, such as Gill Sans, Futura and Baskerville, for the main title of the front cover, but I thought with the rest of the image having a traditional printed feel to it, a typeface that had been digitally added didn't quite fit, or compliment the cover. So I decided to print that with lino too. For the body text on the back cover and the authors name I decided to use Baskerville.

These images above are of the final artworks I submitted to Penguin for the competition.



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