Grimm news is great as Tim lands Puffin Prize

Published: 22 June 2012 at 16:03

Anglia Ruskin students rule the roost at prestigious Penguin Design Awards

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Tim Parker, a BA (Hons) Illustration student at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, has landed the Puffin Children’s Prize at the national Penguin Design Awards, drawing praise from an illustrious panel of judges including Raymond Briggs.

The Penguin Design Awards, an annual competition with entrants being asked to design book covers which “stand out from others on the shelf, whilst appealing to the book’s target market”, also saw another Anglia Ruskin student, Alison King, named as a runner-up in the Penguin Adult Prize category.

This year’s competition received 1,450 submissions, with entrants in the adult books category asked to design a cover for Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, while Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm was chosen for the Puffin Children’s Prize competition.

Commenting on Tim’s winning design, leading illustrator Raymond Briggs, who is famous for The Snowman and Father Christmas, said:

“A clear winner – strong design, fierce without being frightening, super lettering and typography, a huge wolf head on the front contrasting with the small child figure on the back.
“The idea of the tongue becoming a path was ingenious.  If you had been told about it in words you might have thought “contrived” but it isn’t, it works perfectly.  Ingenious and witty.”

Fellow judge David Almond, author of Skellig, The Savage and Clay, added:

“Very dramatic and appropriately dark without being dour.  Love the spine and the use of typography.”

Tim, who will be invited to spend four weeks at Puffin’s design studio as well as receiving a cash prize of £1,000, said:

“Winning the Puffin Prize at the Penguin Design Award is incredibly exciting and hopefully a great step for my future career.  The competition was pretty fierce, so I’m flattered to have been selected from so many great entries.”

Explaining his work, Tim added:

“The best fairy tales tend to be about things being more than they seem.  The wolf reeks of inherent threat, and not wanting to treat a young audience as too immature to deal with fear, I thought it the perfect primary visual element.
“I wanted the wolf’s head large, to make it part of the landscape, and the idea of the path arose, fitting perfectly with the tongue.  I decided to link the breadcrumbs from ‘Hansel and Grettel’ with the sense of being eaten, and the minimal colour palette was designed to stand out when surrounded by bright covers.”

To see more of Tim Parker’s artwork, please visit

MA Children’s Book Illustration student Alison, a runner-up in the Penguin Adult Category, said:

“I wanted my cover design to have an impact on the shelf as well as having a connection to the story.  I chose a retro look, which connects with the 1960s but is relevant to today’s market.”

The judges were impressed by Alison’s approach and Alice Rawsthorn, the design critic of the International Herald Tribune, said: “Fresh and intriguing, the tattooed figure is an adroit reference to 1960s subculture, which is an important subtext to the novel.  That subversive spirit is reflected in the hand-drawn typography, which also succeeds in being clear and legible.”