Design 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 fourth year, Computer Arts' annual cover design contest – in partnership with its friends at D&AD New Blood – returns this summer with a search for another exciting new cover artist.

And the team has its most exciting print finish yet for you to play with, courtesy of print finishing partners Celloglas: Mirri. Read on to find out more...

Win a £500 commission

The brief is simple: create an original cover illustration for CA's New Talent special, an 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 – full details on how to enter are below.

The winning entry will receive a commission fee of £500, and will be featured in the magazine and on Creative Bloq. Computer Arts will also feature selected highlights from the shortlisted entries.

Who's eligible to enter?

The team are keen to commission someone they 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! 

You can be based anywhere in the world, if you meet the above criteria.

Get creative with print finishes

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

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 eye-catching sparkle.

And in 2016, Krystina Chapman literally wrote the destiny of that year's crop of new talent in the stars, with a constellation-inspired design. Each star was stamped with a rainbow diffuser foil, while a blue-tinted pearlescent varnish gave the night sky a stylish shimmer.

Once again, Computer Arts is teaming up with Celloglas – but this year it has made an even more special print finish available to all entrants to consider as part of your design from the outset: Mirri.

How Mirri works

More common in high-end packaging applications than editorial, Mirri is a luxurious metallic laminate, available in silver, gold and a broad range of colours, as well as holographic and iridescent varieties.

It will first be applied to CA's cover stock, and then the winning design will be printed on top in CMYK, with a metallic shimmering effect underneath. Where you can really get creative with the finish, however, is by 'underpinning' certain areas of the design with white, to make them opaque – and really punch out.

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

Where to draw inspiration

The New Talent special (issue 269) 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.

As with previous years, 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 Celloglas' Mirri finish within your concept, and consider how a white 'underpin' base layer can be used to turn the shimmering metallic finish on and off in certain areas – we look forward to seeing how creative you can be with this stunning print treatment.

How to enter

Submit a 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.

If you prefer, you can submit an existing piece of work rather than a new concept, but it must still meet the above criteria – and please label it as such.

Deadline for entries: Midnight (BST) Friday 2 June 2017

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!

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.

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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.