Create a Computer Arts cover and win £500

Computer Arts has a history of showcasing and supporting new talent, as well as creating eye-catching, innovative covers.

Now in its third year, our annual cover design contest – in partnership with our friends at D&AD New Blood – returns this summer as we search for another exciting new cover artist.

Win a £500 commission

The brief is simple: create an original cover illustration for Computer Arts' New Talent special, our annual celebration of the best graduate talent from across the UK.

Simply submit a sketch / scamp / mockup of your concept, with a short paragraph (100 words max) explaining it – you'll find full details on how to enter below.

The winning entry will receive a commission fee of £500, and will be featured in the magazine and on Creative Bloq.

Who's eligible to enter?

We're keen to commission someone we haven't come across or worked with before, so the brief is only open to current students and recent graduates (within the last two years). Mature students are welcome of course!

Get creative with print finishes

This is CA's third cover design contest, and our print finishing partner Celloglas has supported us since the beginning with innovative special treatments to enhance the winning designs.

Previous winners Paddy O'Hara and Julia Frances made use of special Celloglas finishes

Previous winners Paddy O'Hara and Julia Frances made use of special Celloglas finishes

In 2014, Paddy O'Hara's winning design used a simple graphic metaphor of a glass of lemonade surrounded by lemons to represent new talent standing out from the crowd – and Celloglas applied a zesty lemon fragrance to the final print.

2015's winning design by Julia Frances depicted a young designer nurtured inside a 'talent terrarium', surrounded by plants and foliage – here, Celloglas stamped a transparent glitter foil over the dome to add real eye-catching sparkle.

Once again, we are teaming up with Celloglas – but this year we've made one very special finish available to all entrants to use as part of your design from the outset: pearlescent varnish.

This stunning treatment can be applied over CMYK print to give it a shimmering, metallic gloss – but that's not all. It also significantly alters the colours of the ink underneath, so when applied creatively on selected parts of a design can produce something truly eye-catching.

If you'd like to know more about how this treatment works and how you can apply it, email

Where to draw inspiration

The New Talent special (issue 256) is released at the end of July, as grad show season comes to a close. It will include an extended feature on the rising stars of design and illustration.

Themes such as ‘fresh talent’, ‘rising stars’ or ‘getting noticed’ could be potential starting points – but feel free to be creative and explore something more abstract and conceptual.

Remember to make full use of pearlescent varnish within your concept – we look forward to seeing how creative you can be.

How to enter

Submit a sketch / scamp / mockup of your concept, a short paragraph (100 words max) explaining it, and a link to your portfolio, to

Entries will be judged by the CA team based on creativity of concept, its suitability for use as a magazine cover, and the quality of your existing portfolio – and the winner will receive a paid commission to develop it into a final cover with direction from CA's art editor.

Deadline for entries: Midnight (BST) Friday 3 June 2016

Hi-res artwork (or any amends!) will only be requested from the chosen designer once the commission is set up. All IP remains with the creators, until a contract is set up with the winner.

We will also showcase a selection of the best entries on Creative Bloq, including a paragraph about the artist and a portfolio link. Good luck!

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Nick Carson

Nick is a content strategist and copywriter. He has worked with world-class agencies including Superunion, Wolff Olins and Vault49 on brand storytelling, tone of voice and verbal strategy for global brands such as Virgin, Pepsi and TikTok. Nick launched the Brand Impact Awards in 2013 while editor of Computer Arts, and remains chair of judges. He's written for Creative Bloq on design and branding matters since the site's launch.