Penguin announces shortlist for its inaugural Cover Design Award

The annual Cover Design Award aims to find the next generation of book cover designers by asking entrants to design a book cover based on a real-life cover brief. 

Formerly known as the Student Design Award, the award’s new name reflects how this year, for the first time, applications were opened to anyone interested in becoming a designer, regardless of their higher education status.

The briefs this year were based on three bestselling Penguin books: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty and Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. 

After careful consideration of over 1,500 entries, 30 designs have been selected as part of this year’s shortlist. 

View all shortlisted entries, and learn more about the concepts and briefs behind them.

Adult Fiction Cover Award

Shortlisted designs for the Penguin Cover Design Award 2022 with 'Girl, Woman, Other'

For the Adult Fiction Cover Award, entrants were asked to design a book cover for Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. The winner of The Booker Prize 2020, this book explores identity, race, womanhood, and what it is to be British through the lives of twelve very different people. 

Described as a novel for our times, Girl, Woman, Other is both fiction and social history: it defies traditional genres, and the brief asked entrants to reflect this in their cover.

Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award

Shortlisted designs for the Penguin Cover Design Award 2022 with 'Diary of a Young Naturalist'

For the Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award entrants were asked to design a book cover for Diary of a Young Naturalist by Dara McAnulty.

This book takes the reader on a journey through the eyes of Dara McAnulty, an autistic teenager coping with the uprooting of home, school, and his mental health, while pursuing his life as a conservationist and environmental activist.

The brief asked entrants to design a beautiful cover that does justice to Dara’s deeply personal memoir, and to the beauty of the natural world.

Children’s Cover Award

Shortlisted designs for the Penguin Cover Design Award 2022 with 'Murder Most Unladylike'

For the Children’s Cover Award, entrants designed a book cover for Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens. This mystery novel is the first book in a series of three, which follows Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong as they set up their very own secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls.

Entrants were tasked with designing a fresh and inventive cover for this book, with an audience of children aged 9 to 11 in mind.

All shortlisted entrants were given personal feedback and further art direction on their designs from one of our Art Directors, before being invited to re-submit their work, taking on board all the comments, before the final round of judging.

The winners of the 2022 award will be announced in June 2022. Find out more about the prizes.