Three young book designers have been singled out for a new award that encourages young designers to develop their careers in books – the Awa Press Young Designer of the Year. The award is one of a range of book design awards run by the Book Publishers Association of New Zealand (BPANZ) in association with the New Zealand Listener.From a strong field the judges have shortlisted three of the entrants for the award: Carolyn Lewis, Spencer Levine and Keely O’Shannessy.
Judges Nick Turzynski and Sharon Grace say ‘It bodes well for the future of the award that the best of the entries sit convincingly alongside the main body of the BPANZ Book Design Awards.’
The judges were looking for ‘spacial sense, typography, innovation and the designer’s complete understanding of their subject’. Also important was ‘a sense of passion, without which book design cannot succeed’. Judges were encouraged by the potential in the entries that were not shortlisted, confident that there is a strong future for the Award and book design in general.
With considerable experience for their years, the three shortlisted designers are finding book design a welcome attraction within the wider design space.
Carolyn Lewis graduated from Unitec School of Design, and designed street music magazine The FiX, before moving on to work for book packager PQ Blackwell in Auckland. She had the opportunity to design an array of books including Mandela: The Authorised Portrait and A Simple Freedom by Robben Island prisoner Ahmed Kathrada. Lewis currently works as a freelance book designer in Auckland.
Spencer Levine set up his own studio in 2008 in Wellington, after working for various design agencies for 9 years. He enjoys every aspect of design, from brief to concept and on to delivery. Encompassing clients of all sizes, from arts organisations to corporate sectors, his work is largely print-based with a lean towards book publishing.
Keely O’Shannessy is a freelance designer. Once she had gained qualifications in Fine Arts from AUT in 1998 and Electronic Design and Interactive Media from RMIT in 2003, she worked as a web/multimedia designer and video artist in Melbourne for three years. She started freelance design work for Penguin NZ in 2006 and fell in love with designing books. Since then, publishing work has become increasingly central to her practice.
Judges Turzynski and Grace will have a tough time selecting one standout from the shortlist. Reinforcing their decision will be their extensive design experience both in the book industry and wider afield, various accolades and previously awarded BPANZ book design awards.
Entrants for the Awa Press Young Designer of the Year Award were asked to send between three and five books they designed, published between 1 January 2008 and 31 March 2009, to be judged collectively. The designer had to be aged under 35 years to qualify. The winner will be announced at the BPANZ Book Design Awards in Auckland on Thursday 3 September.