Riding high on a diverse portfolio of design work, Random House New Zealand's Megan van Staden has been named Young Designer of the Year at the PANZ Book Design Awards.
Advisory judge for the category Keely O’Shannessy commended the consistently high standard of van Staden’s portfolio and her ability to design with “a real sensitivity to subject matter”.
She noted the variety of van Staden’s work, from “the quirkiness of Q & Eh to the stately, sophisticated treatment of Te Hao Nui, the wistfulness of The Parihaka Woman and the blokey, masculine design of Untamed.”
Van Staden is an enthusiast for typography who uses hand-drawn type to bring an emotive quality to her designs. This is particularly evident in her personal favourite – Te Hao Nui – featuring typography that showcases images lifted from the book, on a dramatic black background.
Children’s picture book Two Little Bugs won Best Book as well as Best Children’s Book, making it the second consecutive year that a children’s book has won the top going.
Described by convening judge Jenny Nicholls as “a triumph – a work of wonderful charm and considerable skill”, Two Little Bugs was designed by Rowan Sommerset, of husband-and-wife publishing team Dreamboat Books.
Fleur: The Life and Times of Restaurateur Fleur Sullivan won both Best Typography and Best Illustrated Book. The book was designed by Alan Deare of AREA Design, whose work was described by the judges as “consummate typography and design – each page layout, the cover and even the spine show the designer’s attention”, creating a book to “suit the warm, unpretentious character of Fleur herself”.
The judges commended Young Designer of the Year candidate Saskia Nicol for her brilliant design of Tupaia, which won the HarperCollins Award for Best Cover.
Fellow Young Designer candidate Anna Egan-Reid was also praised for her innovative and intelligent design for Janet Frame: In Her Own Words, which won Best Non-illustrated Book.
Best Educational Book was won by He Kōrero – Words Between Us: First Māori–Pākehā Conversations on Paper, designed by Sam Bunny.
The PANZ Book Design Awards acknowledge excellence in the categories of typography, cover design, illustrated, non-illustrated, educational, and children’s books, with an overall award for Best Book. The awards are administered by the Publishers Association of New Zealand.