Art students pitch designs to True Creative Management founder


Art students from New College Lanarkshire have pitched their ideas for book covers to the founder of a leading Glasgow-based design company.

Prior to lockdown, 18 HND Art and Design students who entered this year’s Penguin Student Design Awards took part in a ‘Dragons’ Den’-style presentation with Susan Blair, owner of True Creative Management.

The students, who are based at our Kirkintilloch Campus, had worked on creating innovative and eye-catching designs for the prestigious competition.

Now running for 12 years, the Penguin Random House Student Design Award is an opportunity for students of colleges or universities to experience real book cover design briefs first-hand.

Ahead of submitting their work to the competition, their course lecturers invited Susan Blair from True Creative Management into the College to hear about the students’ creative processes and give her comments on their work.

Established in 2011, True Creative Management has worked on artwork and design for a number of organisations, including the Beatson Cancer Charity, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity and South Lanarkshire Council.

Susan Blair said: “I was honoured to be asked to participate in the judging of NCL’s entries for the Penguin Design Award 2020.

“The brief, to design a new cover for an existing book, is not an easy one, as preconceived ideas are always going to hamper the process. However, the work presented by the students far exceeded my expectations.

“They showed real skill at interpreting the brief and demonstrated a fundamental understanding of their target audience.

“The range and diversity of ideas presented was exceptional, with students playing to their individual strengths, whether that be graphic, illustrative or photographic, to offer well-rounded and well-thought-out concepts.

“Judging by the book covers they presented, I think many of the students will have very successful careers in the design industry to look forward to.”

To enter the competition, students created a design chosen from one of three categories: Adult Fiction – The Night Manager by John le Carré; Adult Non-Fiction – A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson; and Children’s – Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.

Each category had a set brief which included text and a design template incorporating the Penguin branding.

Lecturer Sandra Ord said: “The Penguin Student Design Award is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain valuable experience working to a real client brief, with the added bonus of creating designs for a much-loved and recognised publishing company.

“Although the briefs require students to work with supplied content, they allow each student to express their own individuality and creativity through their preferred choice of medium, whether that is, for example, printmaking, painting, sculpture or illustration.

“I am delighted with the variety of creative approaches our HND Art and Design students have produced in response to the briefs.”

The shortlisted finalists in the Penguin Student Design Award will be announced on Wednesday 24th June, with the winner announced on September 22nd.

The overall winner will win a four-week work placement within the Penguin Random House Design Studios and £1,000 in prize money.

Read more about NCL’s range of courses in Art and Design:

Art & Design

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