Entries will be accepted through this website between 00:01 (GMT) on Wednesday, 2 December 2020 and 14:00 (GMT) on Tuesday, 2 March 2021.


To be eligible for the 2021 competition, you must be a student on a Further Education or Higher Education course (part time or full time) in any subject and at any level at the time of the deadline for entries (2 March 2021). Entrants must be aged 18 or over by 1 July 2021. The competition is not open to graphic design professionals.

Entrants must be eligible to work in the UK and available to take up a 4-week work placement if it can be offered as part of and they win the first prize. We regret that Penguin Random House UK is unable to provide a certificate of sponsorship should a work visa be required in order to take up the first-prize work placement.

We advise entrants that ideally they should have a reasonable standard of English so that, if they win the first prize, they are able to get the most out of their work placement.

There can be only one named entrant per entry.


Entrants may submit one design into each of the following categories: (i) the Adult Fiction Cover Award; (ii) the Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award; (iii) the Children’s Cover Award. You may not submit more than one design for each category.


All entries must be supplied digitally via the Submit Your Entry page. Entries submitted in any other way, including by email or hard copy, will not be accepted.

Entries must be supplied as a high-resolution PDF, 300 dpi, CMYK.


1. There is no fee to enter the competition.

2. Closing date for receipt of all entries is 14:00 (GMT) on Tuesday, 2 March 2021. If unavoidable circumstances beyond the Promoter’s control make it necessary to extend the competition closing date, any such extension shall be notified on our website. Late entries received after the advertised closing date shall not be accepted under any circumstances. 3. This competition is open to students on a Further Education or Higher Education course (part time or full time) in any subject and at any level. Entrants must be aged 18 or over by 1 July 2021. This competition is not open to graphic design professionals or to employees of Promoter, their families, agents and anyone else connected with this competition. Entrants must be eligible to work in the UK and must be available to take up a 4-week work placement if it can be offered as part of and they win first prize.

4. No responsibility can be accepted for incorrectly uploaded entries or those that are illegible or corrupted. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid and shall not be considered.

5. All correctly completed entries for each category shall be forwarded to a judging panel, comprised as follows, who will select a shortlist of entries for each category:

a) Adult Fiction Cover Award – The Penguin Random House Art Directors and guest judges.

b) Adult Non-Fiction Cover Award – The Penguin Random House Art Directors and guest judges.

c) Children’s Cover Award – The Penguin Random House UK Children’s Art Director, Penguin Random House UK Children’s Managing Director and guest judges.

6. The shortlists for each category will be announced on this website by Tuesday, 27 April 2021.

7. The shortlisted entrants will be contacted by email by Tuesday, 27 April 2021 and required to resubmit their entry following feedback and further art direction from the Penguin Random House Art Directors. The closing date for the shortlisted entrants’ resubmissions is 17:00 (GMT) on Wednesday, 12 May 2021.

8. Shortlisted entrants will be required to provide the following submissions for each design entry:

a) A digital A3 board showing the full cover to scale 1:1 supplied on USB memory stick or CD.

b) The design mocked up on three copies of the book (which Promoter will supply).

c) A short, typewritten text (max. 50–100 words only) submitted as a Word document, explaining the concept for your design. A digital copy must also be supplied.

d) An A3 board demonstrating the development of the thought process from the original research to the final concept. A digital copy must also be supplied.

e) A high-resolution PDF and JPEG of the front cover only and full cover design with and without bleed or trim marks.

f) The sender must prepay all shipping costs, insurance, customs duties and handling fees for all entries.

9. Entries will not be returned and the Promoter accepts no responsibility for the loss of or damage to any portfolios or other cases in which shortlisted entrants send their resubmissions.

10. A first-, second- and third-prize winner will be selected for each of the three categories. The winning designs will be the ones which, in the opinion of the judges, best fulfil the brief.

11. Subject to any corporate policies, government guidelines, laws or other recommendations issued or in force at the time in relation to public gatherings as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic or otherwise, all entrants whose entries are shortlisted and who subsequently provide resubmissions in accordance with terms above shall be invited to attend an awards ceremony in London in June 2021 at which the winners shall be announced. With the exception of entry to the event itself, all travel, accommodation and other costs associated with attending the awards ceremony are the sole responsibility of the entrants

12. The first-prize winner of each of the three categories will each receive a cash prize of £1,000 and be offered a four-week work placement in the Penguin Random House Design Studios. The work placement will be paid at the London Living Wage rate. Accommodation and any other costs associated with the work placement will not be provided. All work placements will be subject to agreeing terms and will take place within one year of the announcement of the prize winners on dates to be mutually agreed between the Promoter and the winners. The provision of the work placement prize shall be subject to any corporate policies, government guidelines, laws or other recommendations issued or in force at the time in relation to workplace safety as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic or otherwise. The second-prize winners of each category will each receive a cash prize of £500. The third-prize winners of each category will each receive a cash prize of £350.

13. The prizes are non-transferable and no cash alternative to the work placement will be offered to the first-prize winners. However, if, at the sole discretion of the judges, none of the entries in any of the categories is of a sufficiently high standard to merit the awards, no prizes, or only second and third prizes, may be awarded.

14. Events may occur that render the design competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of the Promoter. The Promoter may, at its absolute discretion, vary or amend the competition and the terms thereof, including any necessary extension of the closing date. The Promoter shall notify any necessary changes to the terms of the competition on its website. The winners agree that, in the event the Promoter is required to vary or amend the competition terms, no liability shall attach itself to the Promoter, provided that any substituted prize shall be of no lesser value

15. The decision of the judges is final and correspondence will be entered into only at the absolute discretion of the Promoter.

16. The winners agree to take part in reasonable post-event publicity and to the use of their names and photographs in such publicity. Winners may withdraw their consent to such use at any time by contacting the Legal department at Penguin Books Limited, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA, or by email: Legal@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk  

17. Entrants acknowledge and agree that the Penguin and Puffin design templates, Penguin and Puffin logos and the cover copy supplied in the entry packs are the property of Promoter. Entrants’ use of any material comprised in the entry packs, including the items listed in the previous sentence, is limited to use in respect of this competition only. No further use shall be permitted without the Promoter’s prior written consent.

18. All entrants hereby license to Promoter the use of their entry for display on any Promoter-owned or third-party website or other media for publicity purposes. Entrants further permit Promoter to display their entries in a physical exhibition. The choice of which entries are included in any such exhibition shall be solely made by the Promoter without consultation. Appropriate credits will be given to each item displayed, but Promoter shall not be under any obligation to hold such exhibitions, or to include every entry if it does.

19. By entering this competition each entrant confirms that his/her entry is their wholly-owned creation and to the extent that such entry makes use of any third-party materials, that these have been fully cleared unless they are no longer protected by copyright or other intellectual property rights. Entrants must ensure that their entry clearly identifies any third-party materials used. Entrants will keep the Promoter harmless from any claims in relation to their entry alleging that the entry infringes the personal or proprietary right of any other person.

20. Promoter will use any data submitted by entrants only for the purposes of running the competition, unless otherwise stated in the entry details. By entering this competition, all entrants consent to the use of their personal data by Promoter for the purposes of the administration of this competition and any other purposes to which the entrant has consented. Details on how we process the personal data of entrants can be found in our Privacy Policy (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk/PrivacyPolicy/ )

21. Promoter may disqualify any entrant whose entry does not comply with these terms and conditions (in Promoter’s sole opinion) or who, in Promoter’s sole determination, has acted in a manner that is fraudulent, dishonest or unjust to other entrants including, without limitation, tampering with the operation of the competition, manipulating or rigging votes, hacking, deceiving, cheating or by harassing or threatening other entrants, the panel or a representative of Promoter.

22. These terms and conditions are governed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and the courts of the same shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any claims arising out of or in connection with this promotion.


Penguin Books Ltd, on behalf of itself and the Random House Group Limited, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA.

Write to us at:

Penguin Random House Student Design Award

20 Vauxhall Bridge Road



Email us at: mail@penguinrandomhousedesignaward.co.uk

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