Penguin Jacket Design Competition



The first Penguin paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935, revolutionizing the publishing industry and becoming an integral part of British culture and design history. The development of Penguin covers runs parallel to the emergence of graphic design as a profession, and, under a long line of talented and creative designers, the design of Penguin books has evolved and progressed. It is currently led by Art Directors Jim Stoddart and John Hamilton.


Penguin by Design by Phil Baines and Seven Hundred Penguins provide further information on the history of Penguin design and on the most striking and well-loved covers.



Submission Deadline: 12:00pm, September 10 (Beijing Time)

Shortlist Announced: September 24

Winners Announced: October 22


The Prizes

1st Prize (One person)

  1. A certificate signed by Penguin Art Director Jim Stoddart.
  2. A private tutorial by Penguin Art Director Jim Stoddart (depend by availability, and may via telephone, email, or Skype.)
  3. A signed artwork by Coralie Bickford Smith.

      A Bill Amberg Penguin Leather iPad Case: A beautifully designed leather iPad case, with press down button closure. The case is made from 100% Smooth bridle leather and is black with contrast colour lining and detail in Penguin orange. A perfect companion for your iPad and its Penguin eBook collection!


2nd Prize (One person)


  1. Certificate
  2. A copy of Treasure Island Ltd Edition (Puffin Designer Classics)

Following the demise of bloodthirsty buccaneer Captain Flint, young Jim Hawkins finds himself with the key to a fortune. For he has discovered a map that will lead him to the fabled Treasure Island. But a host of villains, wild beasts and deadly savages stand between him and the stash of gold. Not to mention the most infamous pirate ever to sail the high seas . . .

We approached the design similar to the way we approach designing buildings.

Frank Gehry




Readers’ Favourite (One person)


  1. Certificate
  2. A copy of Around the World in 80 Days (Puffin Designer Classics)

For a bet Phileas Fogg sets out with his servant Passeportout to achieve an incredible journey – from London to Paris, Brindisi, Suez, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco, New York and back to London again, all in just eighty days. there are many alarms and surprises along the way – and a last minute setback that makes all the difference between winning and losing.


Its about applying my usual ideas and schemes of thought to a different scale.

David Adjaye





The Judges


Jo Lusby (Managing Director, Penguin China)

Hang Jian (Vice President, Academy of Arts & Design of Tsinghua University)

Xu Chaojun (CEO, Diandian)

Phil Baines (Professor at Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design)

Jim Stoddart (Creative Director, Penguin Books)

Aric Chen (Creative Director, Beijing Design Week)


The Brief


Text on Front Cover (optional)




爱米丽·勃朗特 著



Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte


Text on Back Cover (optional)






In a house haunted by memories, the past is everywhere … As darkness falls, a man caught in a snowstorm is forced to shelter at the strange, grim house Wuthering Heights. It is a place he will never forget. There he will come to learn the story of Cathy: how she was forced to choose between her well-meaning husband and the dangerous man she had loved since she was young. How her choice led to betrayal and terrible revenge – and continues to torment those in the present. How love can transgress authority, convention, even death. And how desire can kill.


LOGO – Penguin Books

Download high resolution files here.




Full jacket is requested. However, exception will be considered whenever there is a difficulty in submitting the full jacket. But please be aware that the judges may refuse to accept partial jacket.



(H) 198mm × (W) 129mm

Spine 18mm


The Brief


This story is well known, so it is essential to come at it from a fresh angle. Try to design a new cover for a new generation of readers, avoiding the obvious clichés and steering clear of any film promotional graphics. Originality is key.


Audience: all readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the texts, male and female.


Message: there are many themes, motifs and symbols within the book including but not limited to love, social position, nature, destructive forces, transcendence, ghosts, moors. Read it and discover what the book means to you.


What the judges are looking for:


We are looking for a striking cover design that is well executed, has an imaginative concept and clearly places the book for its market. We will accept both Chinese and English language versions of the title and author and any other copy on the front and back covers, as well as the logo of Penguin Books. While all elements of the jacket need to work together as a cohesive whole, remember that the front cover must be effective on its own and be eye-catching within a crowded bookshop setting. It also needs to be able to work on screen for digital retailers.


The winning design will need to:

  • Have an imaginative concept and original interpretation of the brief
  • Be competently executed with strong use of typography
  • Appeal to a contemporary readership
  • Show a good understanding of the marketplace
  • Have a point of difference from the many other book covers it is competing against


Submission Details




Entries must supplied in the following format:


Digital copies:

•     JPG

•     300ppi

•     CMYK

•     5mm bleed

•     Ideally colour managed to ISO Coated 39 or ISO Uncoated 29 (optional)

•     Trim and crop marks to be included

•     Maximum file size 5M


All digital entries must be submitted digitally via the Submissions Site. Entries submitted in any other way, including by email or copy, will not be accepted.


Hard copies:

  • May be in the form of hand-painted illustrations, embroidery, paper cutting, and any other formats.
  • May be submitted online as high-definition photographs or scans, or can be mailed to:

Penguin Jacket Design Competition Committee

B-7 Jiaming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District

Beijing 100020

Tel: 010-85877777



Hard copies are strongly encouraged. Penguin has published Penguin Threads. Commissioned by award-winning Penguin art director Paul Buckley, the Penguin Threads series debuted with cover art by Jillian Tamaki and continues with art by Rachell Sumpter for gift-worthy Penguin Classics. Sketched out in a traditional illustrative manner, then hand stitched using needle and thread, the final covers are sculpt embossed for a tactile, textured, and beautiful book design that make truly special gifts and be welcome additions to any craft or literature lover’s collection.



Shortlisted Entrants

Shortlisted entrants will be notified by 24 September 2012.


By submitting an entry, you agree to the competition Terms and Conditions.


Terms & Conditions



The closing date for entries is 12 noon (Beijing Time) on Sunday, 10 September 2012.


    The competition is open to designers and aspiring designers of all nationalities and ages.


    Entrants may enter one design.




  1. No purchase necessary to enter the competition.
  2. This competition is not open to employees of Penguin, their families, agents and anyone else connected with this competition.
  3. No responsibility can be accepted for incorrectly uploaded entries. Entries via agents or third parties are invalid.
  4. All correctly completed entries will be forwarded to a judging panel who will select a shortlist of 10 entries.
  5. The shortlist will be announced on this website by 24 September 2012.
  6. The shortlisted entrants will be notified by 24 September 2012.
  7. First-, and second-prize winners will be selected. The winning design will be the one which, in the opinion of the judges, best fulfill the brief. However, if, at the sole discretion of the judges, none of the entries is of a sufficiently high standard to merit the awards, no prizes, or only second prize, may be awarded. Readers’ favourite winner will be voted offline.
  8. The prizes are non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered to the winners.
  9. Events may occur that render the design competition itself or the awarding of the prizes impossible due to reasons beyond the control of Penguin. Penguin may, at its absolute discretion, vary or amend the promotion, and in such an event, the winners will agree that no liability shall attach itself to Penguin, provided that any prize is not of lesser value than the one advertised.
  10. The decision of the judges is final and correspondence will only be conducted at the absolute discretion of Penguin.
  11. The winners agree to take part in reasonable post-event publicity, and to the use of their names, photographs and designs in such publicity.
  12. All entrants hereby license to Penguin the use of their entry for display on any Penguin-owned website, for display in a physical exhibition and for use in any promotional materials related to the competition. Appropriate credits will be given to each item displayed, but Penguin shall not be under an obligation to hold such exhibitions, or to include every entry if it does. Each entrant warrants to Penguin that his/her entry is original, and made without the inclusion of material owned by any third party.
  13. Penguin 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 Penguin for the purposes of the administration of this competition and any other purposes to which the entrant has consented.
  14. By submitting an entry, each entrant agrees to these terms and conditions.


Promoter: Penguin Books (China)
Write to us at:
7F Tower B, Jiaming Center 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020
Email us at:



  • Where can I find out more about Penguin Design?
    Click on these links to find out more
  • Can I work with an illustrator?
    Yes, but we can only award one prize to the named entrant.
  • Should I read the book?
    Absolutely! It will help your concept development.
  • Can I enter more than one submission?
    No, you can enter the competition with a single submission.



About Penguin:

Penguin is one of the world’s leading consumer publishers. It is home to other famous names such as Dorling Kindersley, Puffin, Ladybird and Rough Guides and publishes close to 4,000 titles every year for adults and children in fiction and non-fiction, from timeless classics to the hottest bestsellers. Penguin has offices in 15 countries including the US, UK, Australia, South Africa, India and China.


About Penguin China:

Penguin China was established in 2005, and works to develop the availability of English language imported books from the UK and US, establishes Chinese language publishing partnerships, and supports the acquisition of titles on and from China for international publication. Recent Penguin China successes include the iconic Penguin Classics in Chinese (in partnership with Shanghai 99 Readers) and new editions of the Tales of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (in partnership with Poplar Publishing). In 2012, Penguin China publishes its first major Chinese language acquisition, the autobiography of tennis player Li Na.

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