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Celebrating Book Design in New Zealand

The PANZ Book Design Awards recognise the best book design in New Zealand.

2014 PANZ Book Design Awards

The shortlist for the 2014 Awards will be announced on 13 June.

 The 2013 winners have been announced!

The winners of the PANZ Book Design Awards 2013 were announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 18 July at the Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland.

A big congratulations to all the winning publishers and designers.

See the PANZ Book Design Awards winners and the PANZ Young Designer of the Year.

winners books

Latest Features

Previous Young Designer and 2013 Judge

23 July 2013

Megan van Staden was awarded the Awa Press Young Designer of the Year in 2012 for her sensitivity to subject matter and versatility. This year she was the convening judge for the award. We recently had a chat with her about design.

Megan Van Staden_BWWhose work is inspiring you at the moment?
Australian designer, Allison Colpoys — I love her hand-drawn, personal approach to book design, Alan Deare — typography genius, John Boyne —his illustrations and stories, Colin McCahon — his style and colour palette. I also recently visited Melbourne’s Federation Square and have been inspired by the Aboriginal art; dotted type is in my future.

Do you have any advice for other young designers out there?
Work hard, practise, be brave!


What do you enjoy most about being a book designer?
I enjoy the challenge of constructing a visual identity that’s original and creative, as well as the technical and organisational aspect. There is something relaxing and methodical about laying out a book.

If you could design a book/cover for any author, who would it be?
I’d like to design for Jostein Gaardner. I love the magic realist touch to his books, and I think I could bring a childlike innocence to the design.

Do you have a particular design process?
After briefing, I mull over the book for a few days. Depending on how inspired I’m feeling, the ideas flow, and I’ll start drawing and collecting visual references. If I’m struggling to come up with options, I will focus on research and visiting bookstores/our extensive warehouse. The next step is organising and narrowing down the ideas. I’ll do page plans and mood boards with the different elements I am planning to use for each concept. Once I translate this into InDesign, the designs are tweaked, as I print things out and adjust for the best visual outcome. Then it goes to the commisioning editor and author and continues to develop.

the-thrill-of-fallingWhat has been your favourite book design project so far?
As much as I love typography and grid structures, I find the most creatively satisfying books for me are the ones which I’ve had a ‘hand’ in. I loved drawing and designing for Felix and the Red Rats, Thrill of Falling and First Crossings.

In your opinion, what is the most awesome book cover ever designed?
There are too many beautiful covers, it would just be impossible to choose.
Stefan Sagmeister heavily influenced me when I was studying, and I always admired his interactive approach to design. Both The Things I Have Learned in My Life So Far and Made You Look are great covers, maybe not from a marketing perspective, but definitely from a designer’s.

What makes a book a stand out book for you?
Something that’s original with a bit of a personality, flawless typography and beautiful photography.

Which category in the PANZ Book Design Awards appeals to you personally and why?
I love the non-illustrated section. There seems to be a bit more creative freedom and emotion in the covers — lots of beautiful illustrations and type.

What are some of your favourite tracks you listen to while working?
I like to listen to a wide range of music depending on my mood. Some favourites include Alpine, Fernando Milagros, James Blake, Sigor Ros. I have a few guilty pleasures which I shall refrain from mentioning . . .

See Megan’s bio

See the 2013 winner of the PANZ Young Designer of the Year

Kate Barraclough – Shortlisted for Young Designer



My day as a book designer starts with a coffee, and from that point onward no one day is the same. I’m generally working on anywhere from 5-10 books at once, and all will be at different stages of the design process.

At the start of a project I usually meet with the publisher to discuss the look and feel, the format and other more specific design requirements. Research is always important as each book requires a different approach. Whether I’m targeting the home baker, the expert cook, the outdoor lover or tractor/sailing/gardening enthusiast, it is important to understand what attracts that audience to buy the book. The design of a book is what engages the reader, it brings the images and words together in a way that helps them navigate and digest the content, making the reading of it a really enjoyable experience.


I’ll style sample layouts, which once approved by the author, publisher and sales and marketing team, become the basis for layout. On receiving the edited manuscript and photographs, the book really takes shape. It will go through numerous rounds of corrections before the final layout is signed off and ready for print.

On the odd day when there is nothing in my inbox you can probably find me at the bookstore or library, checking out the new and innovative ways others are approaching book design.


See Kate Barraclough’s page

Anna Egan-Reid – Shortlisted for Young Designer

Here is another awesome design video from one of our shortlisted Young Designers:

Design Video from Anna Egan-Reid on Vimeo.

See Anna Egan-Reid’s page

Carla Sy – Shortlisted for Young Designer

Here is a great video from one of our shortlisted Young Designers:

My Video from Carla Sy on Vimeo.

See Carla Sy’s page

See previous features