Graphic design students 'stand out' at Penguin Design Awards 2010

Published: 6 August 2010 at 11:17

The work of two Cambridge-based students catches the eye of judges

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Cambridge School of Art’s Graphic Design students are continuing to impress, this time with resounding success at the Penguin Design Awards 2010.

Following the course’s philosophy of teaching students through engagement with live briefs, students are increasingly receiving national and international recognition within the Design industry through their success in competitions – all of which counts towards their final degree.

The Penguin Design Awards is an annual competition with entrants being asked to design book covers which would ‘stand out from others on the shelf, while appealing to the book’s target market.’ This year’s books were Patrick Süskind’s Perfume for the Penguin Adult Prize and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll for the Puffin Children’s Prize.

Anglia Ruskin University was the only University to be represented twice in the shortlist with Jurate Laugalyte going on to take first place in the Puffin Children’s Prize while Julie Tostevin was highly commended in the Penguin Adult Prize.

Jurate, who is just about to start the final year of her BA (Hons) Graphic Design course, has also been offered an internship Penguin Books and seems somewhat surprised by her success. Feeling that being shortlisted was a ‘high achievement’ in itself she didn’t dream about winning particularly as her concept was so simple.

As she explains,

"While I was reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I noticed that throughout Alice’s journey she encounters many characters that seem oddly familiar. I understood that they are children’s interpretations of adult personalities. So my concept was to create a book cover where one of the characters would be transformed in an absurd and funny way (I wanted to show the way 4-6-year-old children are drawing and imagining the real world without strict rules)."

The judges, however, felt the work’s simplicity lent it clarity and playful character which represented the book perfectly.  Judge Charlie Higson said of the cover,

"It jumped out at me – a very strong, clear and instant idea. It’s funny and odd and playful – a mixture of childishness and sophistication, exactly like the book."

Fellow judge Joe Berger added,

"It literally leaps off the shelf and into your lap with a big meow."

The comments from Puffin Books were also very positive.  The book is ‘Simple, fun and instantly attracts’, according to Anna Billson, Art Director, Puffin Books.  Managing Director, Francesca Dow, is also impressed with the interpretation,

"Very playful and commercial – captures the feeling of the book in an inviting and modern way".

In the adult competition, Julie Tostevin took on the challenge of design for Perfume with a unique concept of a very stark design coupled with silver edged pages and scented paper, based on the story’s main themes.

Talking about her idea, she rationalises,

"How unique would it be to be led to a book on a shelf by your sense of smell? To smell it, see it then touch it ... A wonderful fresh aroma of lemons masks the stench of the storyline within.  A bright white cover that stands out among the crowded bookshelf, conveying the purity of the story’s victims.  A single drop of blood, so real you want to touch it. An intriguing sign that all is not as pure as it first appears. The title and author, like perfume, slowly emerge – you know they are there, although not always easily visible."

The judges commended the ‘Strong typography’ of the design, a particular specialism of the course at Cambridge School of Art, as well as the ‘clean and simple concept’ which was applauded by Richard Bravery, Senior Designer, Penguin General.

For more information about the BA (Hons) Graphic Design at Cambridge School of Art or any enquiries about postgraduate study in Graphic Design please contact