Penguin Design Awards, Wonder cover winner

On June 19th, Sian McKeever was awarded 1st place for her reimagined children’s book cover design, at the Penguin Random House, UK wide student design contest. With over 2000 applicants, Sian was 1 of 10 shortlisted students in the children’s category. As a winner, Sian will receive a work placement at Penguin Random House, and a £1000 cash prize. The concept for the design was to capture the main character’s perspective on the world he lives in. A whimsical and ever expanding universe he is set to explore as a growing boy in middle school. Noting the character’s love of Star Wars, Sian illustrated Auggie as a duck in a space helmut. The duck is in reference to the character’s self portrait he draws in school. The duck’s placement in the centre of the cover is to symbolise how the other character’s in the story orbit around his experiences.


Judges' Comments via Penguin
‘Our stand-out winner – we all unanimously fell in love with the duck! It hits just the right note of intrigue, joy and hope in such a simple but powerful way’
Anna Billson – Art Director, Penguin Random House UK Children’s
‘Wow! Strikingly different, full of humour and yet tender in its approach. This simple, bold design captures the book’s individuality brilliantly. A unanimous first prize!’ 
Francesca Dow – Managing Director, Penguin Random House UK Children's
‘A wonderfully vibrant cover. The level of abstraction is measured and effective and the bold type makes the whole cover fly’ 
Jan Bielecki – Guest Judge
‘This cover caught my attention straight away. It’s a bold and striking design. I loved the simplicity of the design which references a key moment in the book, without relying on having read the book first. It makes the viewer ask questions and want to know what the duck in a space helmet means! A wonderful cover! Congratulations!’ 
Laura Ellen Anderson – Guest Judge

Team Credits

Sian McKeever

  • Illustrator

Project Tags


  • Penguin Random House UK

    Penguin Random House UK

    • Publishing
  • P

    Penguin Books


    Inspired by this project? Showcase projects you’ve worked on and inspire other people.

    Like what you see? Be the first to leave a comment for Sian!

    Add comment
    Sian McKeever