One Strange Book Cover Competition

Will Schofield, whose 50 Watts blog is, as David Pearson writes, “quite possibly the richest source of book-related design and illustration in the universe,” wrote to tell me about a book cover competition he launched. My first inclination was to ignore yet another competition, but this one . . . well, see for yourself. Here’s what Schofield wrote:

I just announced the “Polish Book Cover Contest,” asking designers & illustrators to “Design the Polish edition of your favorite book.”

The top prize is $400. The judges are cover designer Peter Mendelsund and the husband-and-wife editors of 1000 Polish Book Covers. Deadline is Friday May 20th.

I’m pretty excited about this one. I decided to do this pretty much on a whim, and I’m putting up my own money — no ulterior motives here. Really just hoping to raise awareness of Polish design and to celebrate the publication of the 1000 covers book, which I enjoy and which hasn’t gotten much press.

To which I responded:

I’m a little confused here. Are you asking designers of ALL countries? And are you asking them to REDESIGN existing covers? Must the covers be designed in POLISH? Help me out.

To which he replied:

Steve, if you refresh the page I just added a bunch of clarifications. In my posts, I’m so used to “talking” only to people who follow the blog that I can come off as overly obscure. Thanks for asking those questions.

Although still a bit confused, I am also taken with such a seemingly “random” concept as “I’m asking you to create a fake cover in the style of the Polish book designers featured in this post and elsewhere on 50 Watts. Do I have a preference for styles from 1920 to 1985? I do, but don’t let that ‘cramp your style.’”

So, here is the website, which includes the rules and examples of real Polish book jackets and covers (including the ones below).

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