Being judged by his cover has had a positive outcome for Graphic Communication student, Elliot Lee, as he has been crowned the winner of the Penguin Random House Student Design Award for his book design.
The third year student was tasked with creating his own version of a modern book cover for either ‘In Cold Blood’ by Truman Capote and he took inspiration from finding different research material surrounding the story.
Elliot was announced as the winner in the Adult Non-Fiction category at a prestigious awards ceremony in London on 21 June and has won a placement within the Penguin Random House UK design studios, as well as a £1,000 cash prize.
He said: “For my design, I wanted to detail both a desolate Kansas and also the rawness of ‘In Cold Blood’ through sharp and creepy wall etchings, and also represent an old school prison.
“My creative process initially started with researching old, American-style prison mugshots, followed by different representations of the height charts. Though the images of Richard Hickock and Perry Smith were important to ideation, it was an old image of the famous Steve McQueen prison photo that was a huge influence on my final concept. I felt that the hand-drawn visceral lines provided me with the chilling and shocking aspect the book has, in a simple way.
“Winning the award was really a total shock, I had such a strong category with people producing such great ideas. My tutors have really helped guide my skills in the right direction this year, which has given me the confidence to produce more risk taking work. Winning this award has given me the opportunity to kick start my career and I can’t thank my tutors in the Graphic Communication team and the University enough.”
The Student Design Award aims to find the next generation of book cover designers by giving students the opportunity to experience real cover design briefs first-hand.
One of the judges, John Hamilton, Art Director, Penguin General, commented: “I was drawn to this design on the initial selection and it has stuck with me throughout. It’s clever, chilling and eye-catching.”
Alex Taylor, Subject Leader for Design and Photographer, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Elliot has won first prize. His cover design instantly stuck out to me as having a special quality when I first saw it in the graphics studio. Winning awards like this from what is arguably the world’s most well-known and best publishing house can¹t be underplayed.
“This prize will be a key feature of Elliot¹s portfolio for many years to come. I am also very proud of our two other shortlisted students Carly Ayre and Matthew Barnard for all their hard work. It was a very proud moment to see three of my students in the final.”