What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
My university tutor gave me some good interview advice. He said that “By the time you’ve been selected for a job interview, you know the interviewers have already seen your portfolio and liked it. An interview is a time to relax and show that you are a nice, fun person to have around the office.” I think a lot about that advice and tell it to other people all the time – hopefully this helps someone else too!
What advice would you give someone looking to get into a similar role?
If you want to get into cover design, probably the best thing to do is to engage with a lot of books. When I’m reading a book I’ll always look at the cover and work out why the designer made their choices.
Setting yourself speculative briefs is a really useful way to prove that you can do the job. At university, I chose to redesign a couple of my favourite books, which was great practice in working out which parts of a narrative are most important to pull out in a cover design. Also, think about how designs are set up to appeal to specific audiences.
There are also a lot of design competitions, which are a great opportunity to practice working on professional briefs. Entering the Penguin Cover Design Award was incredibly helpful to me since it gave me the experience of following a brief set by a real art director; and gave me a tiny glimpse into the world of cover design and Penguin. This eventually opened doors to a full-time job doing something I love!
The Penguin Cover Design Award is currently open to UK and Ireland-based designers and illustrators who haven’t yet had significant experience in a paid creative role. Click the button below for all the details on how to apply.