A while back, Penguin UK invited design students to create “a fresh and bold new look” for Donna Tartt‘s The Secret History “in order to bring it to a new generation of readers,” and the judging committee—which included Penguin Press art director Jim Stoddart, novelist Hari Kunzru, and British designers Frith Kerr and Amelia Noble—declared the above submission by Peter Adlington the best. “I wanted to look at the hierarchy within the group, as well as their merging whilst in a catatonic state,” Adlington writes of his design and its effort to reflect the book’s plot. (Also, note “[the] black void in the middle, which represents the impending doom that the group faced from the moment they committed the first murder.”)
The judges considered it “a bold, beautiful and distinctive cover that mirrored the themes of the book in an imaginative and succinct way,” but not everybody agrees:
As far as we know, though, this is not going to be the new cover for the British edition of The Secret History. Instead, Adlington will get to spend six weeks in the Penguin design studio on a work placement assignment, plus a £1,000 cash prize.