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Judging a book by its cover: Our favourites from the 2017 PANZ Book Design Awards finalists

One thing book purists can all agree on is that nothing quite compares to the touch, look and feel of a paperback book. Luckily for those aficionados, there’s an entire New Zealand awards ceremony dedicated to their design. Here’s some of our favourites.

The PANZ Book Design Awards honour excellence in the New Zealand book design industry. This year, over 27 finalists have made the cut across seven categories, which span everything from cookery books to educational titles.

The finalists also vary in publishers, with small, boutique businesses competing with large multi-nationals.

The judges for this year are Rowen Sommerset, illustrator and designer of Dreamboat Books, David Coventon, graphic designer at Auckland War Memorial Museum, Anna Egan-Reid, 2016 winner of the Allen & Unwin Young Designer of the Year Award and Vincent Heeringa, executive director at Anthem.

Sommerset says outstanding work has been done across the board – including categories that don’t usually have a strong showing.

"This year the judges all felt particularly excited and uplifted to see some exceptional work appear in categories that haven’t historically been the show ponies.”

Winners will be named at the awards ceremony, which will be held Thursday 20 July in Auckland.

Here’s our picks from the finalists below.


Annual by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris, designed by Spencer Levine


Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm by Lotte Wotherspoon designed by Lotte Wotherspoon, Clay Press and Keely O'Shannessy, Keely O’Shannessy Design


See Play Do: A Kid's Handbook for Everyday Creative Fun by Louise Cuckow, cover by Sally Greer, Beatnik Design, interior by Louise Cuckow

Necessary Distraction: A Painting Show by Natasha Conland, design by Arch MacDonnell, Toby Curnow, Sarah Gladwell & Oliver Worsfold, Inhouse Design

Cazador — game, offal and the rest by Dariush Lolaiy and Rebecca Smidt, designed by Tim Donaldson and Amanda Gaskin, Sea Change Studio


The full list of finalists:

Penguin Randomhouse New Zealand award for best illustrated book

Title

Designer

Bad Hair Day by Christchurch Art Gallery (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu)

Aaron Beehre

Beach Life by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins (Penguin Random House)

Alan Deare, Area Design

Gottfried Lindauer's New Zealand: The Māori Portraits edited by Ngahiraka Mason and Zara Stanhope (Auckland University Press)

Cover: Neil Pardington, Base Two
Interior: Katrina Duncan, Auckland University Press

Simon Devitt’s Rannoch (Simon Devitt)

Arch MacDonnell & Sarah Gladwell, Inhouse Design

Upstart Press award for best non-illustrated book 

Title

Designer

Extraordinary Anywhere: Essays on Place from Aotearoa New Zealand edited by Ingrid Horrocks & Cherie Lacey (Victoria University Press)

Jo Bailey & Anna Brown

Golden Month: Caring for the World's Mothers After Childbirth by Jenny Allison (Beatnik Publishing)

Cover: Kyle Ranudo
Interior: Sally Greer, Beatnik Design

My Mother and the Hungarians, and other small fictions by Frankie McMillan (Canterbury University Press)

Cover: Aaron Beehre, Ilam Press
Interior: Aaron Beehre & Gemma Banks, Ilam Press

Scholastic New Zealand award for best children's book 

Title

Designer

Annual edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris (Gecko Press)

Spencer Levine

Capsicum, Capsi Go by Toby Morris (Beatnik Publishing)

Toby Morris

Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm by Lotte Wotherspoon (Clay Press)

Lotte Wotherspoon, Clay Press & Keely O'Shannessy, Keely O’Shannessy Design

What Dog Knows by Sylvia Vanden Heede (Gecko Press)

Spencer Levine

Edify award for best educational book

Title

Designer

Mātaki Mai Ana Te Ao: Te Tawhio Pihirei o 1981 by Rachael Tuwhangai, Hone Morris and Pania Tahau- Hodges (HUIA)

Tim Hansen, Fay & Walter

See Play Do: A Kid's Handbook for Everyday Creative Fun by Louise Cuckow (Beatnik Publishing)

Cover: Sally Greer, Beatnik Design Interior: Louise Cuckow

Social Work in Aotearoa New Zealand by Kathryn Hay, Michael Dale and Lareen Cooper (Massey University Press)

Kate Barraclough

10 10 Printing award for best cookbook 

Title

Designer

Cazador game, offal and the rest by Dariush Lolaiy and Rebecca Smidt (Cazador)

Tim Donaldson & Amanda Gaskin, Sea Change Studio

Little & Friday Every Meal by Kim Evans and Sophie Beck (Penguin Random House)

Holly McCauley

Scrumptious by Chelsea Winter (Penguin Random House)

Design: Dana Gaddum Typesetting: Kate Barraclough

Mary Egan Publishing award for best typography 

Title

Designer

Annual edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris (Gecko Press)

Spencer Levine

Beach Life by Douglas Lloyd Jenkins (Penguin Random House)

Alan Deare, Area Design

Cazador game, offal and the rest by Dariush Lolaiy and Rebecca Smidt (Cazador)

Tim Donaldson & Amanda Gaskin, Sea Change Studio

Gottfried Lindauer's New Zealand edited by Ngahiraka Mason and Zara Stanhope (Auckland University Press)

Cover: Neil Pardington, Base Two
Interior: Katrina Duncan, Auckland University Press

Harpercollins Publishing award for best cover

Title

Designer

Ann Shelton: Dark Matter (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki)

Duncan Munro

Annual edited by Kate De Goldi and Susan Paris (Gecko Press)

Spencer Levine

Cazador game, offal and the rest by Dariush Lolaiy and Rebecca Smidt (Cazador)

Tim Donaldson & Amanda Gaskin, Sea Change Studio

Fits and Starts by Andrew Johnston (Victoria University Press)

Sarah Maxey

Necessary Distraction: A Painting Show by Natasha Conland (Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tmaki)

Arch MacDonnell, Toby Curnow, Sarah Gladwell & Oliver Worsfold, Inhouse Design

What Dog Knows by Sylvia Vanden Heede (Gecko Press)

Spencer Levine

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