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By July 14, 2011No Comments




Media release
15 July 2011

Young Designer shortlist rewards book designers who take creative risks

Book designers Pieta Brenton, Sarah Healey and Spencer Levine make up the shortlist for the 2011 Awa Press Young Designer of the Year Award, announced today.

‘The designers’ ability and willingness to take creative risks was impressive,’ said judges Dexter Fry and Sue Reidy. ‘These three shortlisted designers stood out markedly from the rest of the pack.’

The shortlisted designers’ portfolios span the glamour of architecture and fashion photography, the intimacy of poetry and the energy of children’s books, all with a demonstrable consistency of design.

The Awa Press Young Designer of the Year Award was introduced in 2009 to showcase and encourage young book designers. Designers under 35 years of age present a portfolio of book designs to be considered for the award, which is a major feature of the PANZ Book Design Awards. These are judged on artistic merit, innovation of form and appropriateness to the intended market.

Pieta Brentonis currently ‘in her dream job’ as a freelance book designer. She started her career at the boutique studio Inhouse Design, where she worked for three years. She then worked in what she describes as ‘book heaven’ as the head designer at Random House New Zealand.

Sarah Healey joined Penguin Books (NZ) as an in-house designer in February 2011. She loves the scope and variety of book design: ‘my favourite briefs have allowed me freedom to illustrate, photograph, draw or paint, and develop concepts that visually reflect the author’s ideas’.

Spencer Levineworks in his own design studio in Wellington. Levine describes designing books as ‘a responsibility that I take very seriously and cherish deeply’.

Judge Dexter Fry is a freelance designer and illustrator, and was a judge for last year’s Awa Press Young Designer of the Year Award. This year he is joined by Sue Reidy, a full-time corporate writer and project manager who is involved with graphic designers on a regular basis.

The winner of the Awa Press Young Designer of the Year Award will be announced at the PANZ Book Design Awards ceremony in Auckland on 25 August.

The list of shortlisted titles and high-resolution images of the books are now available at

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