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Friday, September 26, 2008

Winner and Runners-Up of the Creativity / Penguin Design Competition

UPDATE: Here's some information from Creativity Magazine about the competition and the selection process.

Now that the debate is over...check out the winning design and the first and second runners-up of the design competition featured earlier this week. Click on the images for a bigger, better look. Congratulations to all (and a link to the official press release to come). And many thanks to Creativity Magazine managing editor Ann-Christine Diaz for keeping me in the loop.

WINNER: Design by Matt Taylor:


FIRST RUNNER-UP: Design by Pillow Fort:


SECOND RUNNER-UP: Design by Ryan Doggendorf:

31 comments:

gruyere said...

The third one is my favorite, but I'm a sucker for hand lettering. (I think that the first one is perhaps too busy, and seems at odds with the synopsis.)

Anonymous said...

Honestly the winner's cover seems more suited for Life of Pi. If the book contains some background information on the designer's intent, then the design becomes more meaningful. Otherwise, at first glance, I cannot help but wonder if people will just dismiss it as a reissue of Life of Pi and move on to the next book.

I do understand that a cover like that would immediately jump out at the casual browser. It is without a doubt visually stunning and really quite surreal. Regardless, I think the top 25 entries were all really good.

Joseph said...

Monday's press release should contain some rationale for the choice.

Anonymous said...

Right, all the entries were good.
Okay, we wait to hear.

Anonymous said...

euro trash

Anonymous said...

I think the winner is a bit...pretentious. It seems a little to similar to http://nytimesbooks.blogspot.com/2007/12/this-is-your-brain-on-music.html which you don't seem to like. In your mind, whats the difference between these two covers?

Joseph said...

I just looked at the post you mentioned and it's a sloppy post; I don't clearly say which version is which. I still like the floral one (the UK edition), even if things floral have gotten a bit over done in the last year or so. So just to be clear, I like the busy floral one, and I like the cover of the winning design, although I do agree somewhat with the comment above that it looks like a(nother) cover for a new edition of Life of Pi.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think there were several designs much more in touch with the whole idea of the book. But then.. I'm a fan of simplicity and this is just to busy for me.

tim said...

i like the ones posted previously, the first two here look a bit 'trendy', i think they'll date quickly.

Anonymous said...

The Third one was the best of all 20, it seems to be the most timeless. The first place winners piece is not in touch with the summary of the book, the second place will be dated very quickly along with the first.

I hope the consider the third for a reprint.

Anonymous said...

The third one is my fav. I love dogs and dwarfs though.

Jacob said...

All three are well executed, but I think the third should have won. I really like the illustration style of the first quite a bit, but it almost feels a bit too contemporary to be timeless. The second is far too trendy. I think the third does a successful job of being stylish and timeless at the same time.

Ian Brian Shimkoviak said...

First one is not my cup of tea. Too overdone.

The runner ups are great—both of them.

But most of all I am being immature and laughing at the names of the designers: Pillow Fort and Doggendorf.

Anonymous said...

The third one was the nicest, IMO. The second one is completely meaningless. First is nice, but just nice.

John Mack said...

It seems a little unfair that the first place winner had a copy of the book to read. It was not even released in the United States yet. The third one is the best of the three, some of my favorites aren't even up on this page.

Mel said...

First cover reminded me too much of this band's album cover from 2004: Heiruspecs's A Tiger Dancing. Same elements: person, tigers, butterflies.

WAY too trendy and seems dated already. Totally the work of someone still in college, this is NOT a timeless piece.

And I also agree with the "Life of Pi" comments.

Allen Lupton said...

Great designs everyone. I agree with the comments on the first and second being trendy, the publisher will be begging for a book cover that is a little more timeless. The third one is great in that respect.

Does anyone have the links to the artists profiles? I be they have more amazing work. They deserve the exposure.

Jeffrey said...

I do like the first one a lot, maybe it's not the best, but better than the 3rd, which I think doesn't really stand out amongst other hand-lettered covers. And to all those who talk about the timelessness of the design: is that neccesarily a good thing? Some great designs are clearly products of their time, but that doesn't make 'm less great!

Anonymous said...

Wow, the third one really took my breath away, like when Kate Hudson realized she's in love with Matthew McConnahay in that one movie. Seriously, the first one seems more like flashy graphics than a meaningful, yet still cool design. The second one isn't bad, just not memorable.

So we all agree, the third won and from here on out we choose to ignore the judges' decisions, mainly because judges are racist . . . towards dawgs and dwarves, and that ain't cool.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to use computer programs for design, but I'm pretty sure that I could've made better designs than the first two. El numero tres is by far the best. The first two are way too warm colored and I don't think that many tigers and crows live on islands....fact. Anyways, the end of the world to me seems to be cool colored and dark, not bright and vibrant.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me like the third person was the only one who actually put any thought into this.

Anonymous said...

Cough, cough...

Here's a synopsis of the book from the Creativity Online site:

A chilling novel about the near future, where most of the world has been destroyed by catastrophic floods. As a father and his three children begin to rebuild their lives alone on an island, his youngest son Finn begins to question how they arrived there and why they alone have been spared. Finn's search for understanding takes an unexpected turn when a strange man named Will swims ashore, and he appears to know quite a bit about this family and the circumstances that surrounded the floods. But Finn's father is determined to keep him silent and is willing to do anything to prevent Will from disturbing his family's idyllic life on the island. Sam Taylor's The Island at the End of the World is a riveting post-apocalyptic tale that explores the darkness that lies within the hearts of men.

If that is true, then why were the ones with the warm colors even considered? That's just terrrible on the judges' parts.

Siong Chin said...

I am one of the 25 finalists who did not make the final 3. :(

I see that many comments do not agree with the choice, but perhaps the choice was based on the likelihood of attracting attention? Imagine this: you walk into a book store and see the first design: would it not catch your eye and intrigue you enough to make you pick it up? That, of course, also translates to better chances of a sale.

The way I see it, in a commercial setting anyway, the "right" design is the design that sells. And I have ample faith in the judging panel for picking the design that could potentially do just that.

alan said...

siong, it's too late to kiss up to the judges... ;)

the third, for sure, clear winner.

Anonymous said...

Siong, congratulations on making it to the finalist's stage.

But to say that a good book design is the one that sells well, is a pretty big call.

The great Chip Kidd himself has said, straight out, that he doesn't believe it is so.

There are many for's and against's in this debate, but not least of all – if we as designers hinge ourselves only on the sales success of a book, then we can't blame ourselves when our design is faulted as the reason why it doesn't sell well.

mog said...

I like the first one. Sue me.

I like the second one too. I have no idea which one is most appropriate for the book, I'm just going on which ones I liked the most visually. My two favorites were the top two. Yeah, the first one is busy, and I normally don't go for that, but sometimes cacophony works (see also: Oh The Glory of It All).

Are they timeless? Probably not. But I like them just the same.

Sean said...

According to the following description, which was posted previously, the only one that even comes close to fitting the book is the third. Here's the description again.

A chilling novel about the near future, where most of the world has been destroyed by catastrophic floods. As a father and his three children begin to rebuild their lives alone on an island, his youngest son Finn begins to question how they arrived there and why they alone have been spared. Finn's search for understanding takes an unexpected turn when a strange man named Will swims ashore, and he appears to know quite a bit about this family and the circumstances that surrounded the floods. But Finn's father is determined to keep him silent and is willing to do anything to prevent Will from disturbing his family's idyllic life on the island. Sam Taylor's The Island at the End of the World is a riveting post-apocalyptic tale that explores the darkness that lies within the hearts of men.

Now then, were the top two dark and mysterious? No. Were the top two related to water and an island? No. Are the top two silent or breathtaking? No. Are the top two "chilling?" NO. Therefore, the top two designs DO NOT provide an accurate, nor relevant, cover for this book. That only leaves book cover number three.If the judges would've read the description or the book, they would've been capable enough use these elementary connections and have chosen the only choice that follows the book.

matt t said...

i've been following this thread with great interest (being the illustrator who turned out the winning entry...)

thank you for the kind words from those who liked it, and those who didn't - anything creative is hugely subjective, and i never expected to please everyone (and any artist who tries to do so is in for a rough ride...).

for what it's worth, the two runners up were far and away my favorite other entries.

and to answer a few things...

- anyone could have got a copy of the manuscript to read - there was a link in the original contest entry form (and it's very good. if you dont like my cover, please please do pick it up when it comes out in paperback with a more palatable cover).

- no, there are no tigers on the island. there might be crows and butterflies. there probably are in fact, but they are there purely for metaphorical reasons. in fact there might be tigers, but i doubt it. that's missing the point. stop asking about the tigers!

- time will tell if it's timeless, but i suspect you might be right, and it isn't. but thats okay - most of the artists i love are very much of their time.

- curse the life of pi for consigning any book with a tiger on it to be compared to it. if you haven't seen Tomer Hanukas rejected illustrations for the Life Of Pi, seek them out - they are beautiful.

- lastly, and most importantly: no, my cover may not convey the same information as the blurb, but it does articulate much more my interpretation of the whole story. and to say more would spoil it (you'll have to get to the last page before part of the picture makes sense)... it's a great book which no blurb will do justice. please read it.

anyhow, that's enough for now. anyone who wants to see more of my pictures can go here: www.matttaylor.co.uk

matt x

Jacob Covey said...

Damn but this is a conservative lot. Please cancel my subscription. To whatever.

Anonymous said...

I was one of thee non finalists also. The manuscript was not available on-line it was available to Matt Taylor because the book was released in his country. Where as all the American designers did not have that advantage.

The second design is poor and has terrible trendy type. The first selling over the others is probable, but only for a few months while it looks trendy, it will however fade quickly. The third is pretty timeless, and that is a good thing its probably the best of the three design wise.

Anonymous said...

For all those complaining about not having access to a copy of the book, the transcript was available to all the participants. It was right there in the instructions, which said you had to email the editors to request a copy. That's how I got mine. Read, people!