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MOPHEAD Takes Top Honours at PANZ Book Design Awards

A book described as a “sensation” has been judged the overall winner at the 2020 PANZ Book Design Awards. MopheadSelina Tusitala Marsh’s autobiographical tale written for children, but just as beloved by adults, was awarded the Gerard Reid Award for Best Book sponsored by Nielsen Book at a ceremony held in Ponsonby this evening.

The award is the ultimate acknowledgement of design and designer and takes into account all aspects of a book’s look and feel. The judges were delighted with Mophead from cover to end-paper, and entranced from the first touch to the last word.

Mophead scored a near-unachievable 39/40 from the four judges,” said convening judge Anna Brown.
“The positivity of the message is celebrated with a visual language packed full of graphic energy. The illustrations are upbeat, popping and dancing with the pace of the text. The typeface interacts seamlessly with the hand-drawn type. The cover is well-considered, and the size is just right.”

Mophead, which was designed by Vida Kelly of the Kāpiti Coast's Vida and Luke Kelly Design, also won the Scholastic New Zealand Award for Best Children’s Book, one of 11 awards presented at the event, which celebrates the best in New Zealand book design.

Another AUP book, Exploring Society: Sociology for New Zealand Students, 4th Edition edited by Ruth McManus, Steve Matthewman, Chris Brickell, Gregor McLennan and Paul Spoonley was also recognised at the awards, with the Edify Award for Best Educational Book or Series – Secondary/Tertiary. This book was  Designed by Kalee Jackson (cover) and interiors by Katrina Duncan.

The 2020 awards saw the introduction of a new category, the Allen & Unwin Award for Best Commercial Book for Adults, which challenged the judges to define “commercial” and “for adults” from a design perspective. They eventually settled on Garage Project: The Art of Beer by Garage Project, designed by Tim Gibson and Katrina Duncan, a book they say celebrates craft beer with style.

Another hotly contested category was the PANZ Award for Best Typography with the judges praising the winner Crafting Aotearoa edited by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa Māhina-Tuai and Damian Skinner, designed by Alan Deare, for its brilliant typographic choices and pairings. “The variety of text and typefaces is complex but handled effortlessly to smoothly navigate the reader through the diverse content,” said Brown.

The HarperCollins Publishers Award for Best Cover gave the judges plenty to talk about with self-published cookbook Pass it On by Shobha Kalyan and Keryn Kalyan, designed by Jessica Read in collaboration with the authors, judged the ultimate winner.

“The choice of clashing colours is brave and the gilded edges finish it perfectly. And all with confidence to not use food to sell a cookbook. Magic,” said the judges.

Continuing the foodie theme, acclaimed local chef Josh Emett’s The recipe, designed by Cameron Gibb,received the 1010 Printing Award for Best Cookbook, with the judges finding its gorgeous, bible-like format perfectly suited the collection of all-time classic recipes, calling it a “cookbook for the ages”.

A highlight of the awards is the Publishers Association of New Zealand People’s Choice Award, which is decided at the ceremony by attendee vote. The assembled crowd was in tune with this year’s judges and Mophead designer Vida Kelly was again called to the stage to collect her third award of the night.

The PANZ Book Design Awards were established by the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) to promote excellence in, and provide recognition for, the best book design in New Zealand.