Freelance Illustrator and Designer Steve Panton

Freelance Illustrator and Designer Steve Panton is a Penguin Design Award 2013 (2nd place) and current third year student at Plymouth University.


‘Heavily inspired by both illustration and design my work often rests between the borders of the two, my education background has always been in both of these fields in fact I was very close to pursuing a career as a product designer and so it is safe to say my future was never set in stone, but it was my love of producing images that resulted in me choosing an illustration course.

Through out my time on the course I dabbled with both illustration and design contexts. However, it was not until earlier this year when I entered Penguin’s Design Award competition to re-design the cover for Raymond Chandler’s ‘The Big Sleep’ that I discovered the almost perfect culmination of all my interests. It is now that I realise that book cover design can fuse all these different art and design disciplines. Yes a cover can use illustration or photography and yes it can also be produced purely at the hands of a graphic designer, but I believe it is best to view designing a book cover as you would a product and use the expertise of illustrators, photographers and designers to achieve the best final product.’


‘I want to be able to design books that consider not only how the cover looks as a piece of art, but how it feels as a desirable product and how it is interacted with. Can the material used represent themes in the narrative? Can we make it possible for the reader to act out an event from the book by using it, even if this act is only metaphorical?

This is not to say that I do not want to work as an Illustrator, in fact I love producing Illustrations even more now than when I started the course and I would love to pursue a freelance career as an editorial illustrator as well as working within book cover design, as I believe they both consist of similar techniques just instead of summarising a book you are summarising an article.’


‘Currently after only just finishing a range of editorial briefs I am working on producing illustrations and a book cover for Folio Societies ‘Heart of Darkness’ competition and also working on book covers for Penguin and Puffin’s latest design award books, ‘What a Carve Up!’ and ‘The Outsiders’ all fascinating reads in their own ways and so very excited about the coming months, always looking for an excuse to bury my nose in a book.’



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