SND names winners in first
annual book cover contest
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but as plans crank up for the 29th annual SND creative competition (set to begin Feb. 9), the first ever competition to design the Society's book cover has been judged, and the winners are...
Jay Fletcher, a staff artist at The Post and Courier in Charleston, SC, is the big winner of the Society for News Design's first cover competition. Fletcher's cover will appear on SND's version of the 29th Edition of The Best of Newspaper Design. The winners' book will be available in early October and feature competition winners from the year 2007, according to C. Marshall Matlock, SND's Competition Committee director.
It took 11 judges three weeks to select SND's winner from the 42 covers entered.
In a separate review, Rockport Publishers, producers of the hardcover version of the book, selected a cover designed by James Watts, creative director of the Atlanta Business Chronicle.
It took four weeks for SND judges to select the winning entry from the 42 covers entered. "When we first planned the competition we thought the judging could be done in a week," Matlock says, but the quality of the designs as well as the number of entries changed that. It took a month to get through the judges' discussions, according to Matlock.
The cover competition, the first for SND, will be continued at least through the 30th Edition book, Matlock says. "It's natural for the Competition Committee to have a cover competition," he says.
The Competition Committee received 42 entries. The next cover competition will be announced this summer in hopes that the winner or winners can be recognized at the Society's 30th anniversary Workshop and Exhibition, scheduled to take place in Las Vegas in September.
Fletcher has worked as an illustrator & designer at The Post and Courier since 2001. He grew up in Connecticut and graduated from the Columbus (Ohio) College of Art & Design in 2000. His first job out of college was at The Morning News, in Florence, S.C. He says he has recently "rediscovered painting with an actual brush." He admits his 6 x 6 inch pear "still leaves a lot to be desired."
Rockport winner Watts, who grew up in Mobile, Ala., graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He says he is proud of the Awards of Excellence he won in the 27 and 28th Editions competitions.
Both winners will be recognized at SND Vegas, the Society's 2008 Las Vegas Workshop, Matlock says.
Winnie Prentiss, president of Rockport Publishers, said her staff was "impressed with the excellent concepts" the cover designers presented. Normally Rockport has its artists design its book covers but the entries were so good the publisher decided to change up this year and go with Watts' entry.
Getting to know Jay Fletcher:
Q: What was your inspiration?
A: I was originally thinking about what news artists & designers do, which is package information. Take information and present it in the prettiest way possible. So I wanted to do something bold and edgy where the whole idea centers around the "29," which is the information -- the news.
That's the sophisticated answer, anyway. Honestly, I came up with a pretty simple idea and just tried to make it look cool.
Q: Have you worked on any other wide-publication books before?
A: Nope. I've done a few dictionary covers for a local non-profit, but that's about it.
Q: What's your day job like?
A: My day to day job entails, mostly, illustrations for feature pages -- an average of two a week or so. I lay out the cover of our entertainment tab "Preview" every week as well, which usually ends up being a half-illustration, half-design sort of thing. After that, I'll pitch in with pages, logos, skyboxes, etc. Whatever's being kicked around that I can help with.
Q: Do you do other freelance illustration work?
A: Yes, I've actually been doing quite a bit of freelance lately. I used to do occasional magazine illustrations, but lately it's been more design oriented -- web and print stuff. I've got a site people can check out: jfletcherdesign.com, and they can get in touch with me through that, at jay (at) jfletcherdesign.com.