Two Northampton students shortlisted for Penguin Random House’s design award

Toby Clarke
Toby Clarke

Two students from the University of Northampton have been shortlisted for the 2019 Penguin Random House Student Design Award.

Toby Clarke and Femke Smits were chosen out of a record-breaking 2,310 total submissions for this year’s award.

Femke Smits

Femke Smits

Toby and Femke have both been included in the ten-strong shortlist for the Non-Fiction Cover Award, which saw them re-design the cover of The Establishment by political commentator Owen Jones.

Students entering the Non-Fiction category were tasked with designing a cover, which would help the book appeal to a new audience whilst making it feel fresh, accessible and an important read, whatever your political persuasion.

Second year Graphic Communications student Toby, said: “The inspiration behind my design originates from the use of redaction letters, which is used by governments to create censorship and hide information. I believe this reflected the book’s context appropriately.

“Through this competition I have learnt to focus and analyse my work thoroughly, to organise it for print with experimentation on colour and a grid system for the best effective outcome.”

Toby's non-fiction design.

Toby's non-fiction design.

Third year Graphic Communication student Femke said: “The main focus of my design was ‘The Establishment’ how it holds power and authority over the normal citizen, like you and me.

“Understanding the brief, and knowing who you are designing for, was so important here. It is always easy to design something that I like personally, but to adjust the brief for such a broad audience was a challenge.”

The Penguin Student Design Award, now in its thirteenth year, aims to find the next generation of book cover designers by giving students the opportunity to experience real cover design briefs first-hand.

Art directors from Penguin Random House have now provided each of the shortlisted designers with detailed feedback on their covers, giving the students the opportunity to refine their designs before the final judging takes place.

Femke's non-fiction design.

Femke's non-fiction design.

The winners in each of the three categories (Adult Fiction, Adult Non-Fiction and Children’s) will receive a work placement within the Penguin Random House UK design studios, as well as a £1,000 cash prize.

The judging panel is made up of art directors from across Penguin Random House UK as well as guest judges from the design and publishing industry, including: Noma Bar, Seb Lester, Coralie Bickford-Smith, Jamie Keenan, Laura Ellen Anderson, and Jan Bielecki.