ABDA Awards 2020 | Student Finalist Rommey Watts

Book cover designed by Rommey Watts

This year marks our first year as a sponsor for the Australian Book Designer’s Association Awards and it represents our commitment in supporting and showcasing the work of emerging designers. Our category for 2020 was ‘Best Student Design Award’ and four very talented designers from Shillington were chosen as finalists—Rommey Watts, Laura Tournier, Tara Cosgrave-Perry and Molly Keene.

We wanted to take this opportunity to get to know these talented designers a little more and to dive a deeper into the processes behind their cover designs.

Let’s say hello to Rommey Watts!


1. Tell us a little bit about who you are
Hi! My name is Rommey and I’m graphic designer based in Brisbane. I love fantasy books, sending my friends bad jokes, and baking exceedingly elaborate tiered cakes.

2. How did you get into design?
Design has always been something I’ve admired and enjoyed doing.
From a young age I’d often be making a giant mess crafting things using anything I could get my hands on from around the house. In high school and university I really honed in on the problem solving aspect but shifted to primarily digital work. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to pursue my passion with support from friends and family.

3. What made you start getting into book design?
I’ve always loved print design and combined with the fact I’m an avid reader I end up in book stores quite a bit adding to my collection. I know generally speaking you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I definitely do and it’s always the interesting covers that snag my attention. For me, book cover design was a way to pay tribute to the stories I loved while also hopefully being able to help someone find their next favourite book.

4. What was the inspiration and thought process behind your book cover?
At Shillington College our brief for this project was to create a book cover or album artwork with the key focus that it needed to be handmade. I love Diana Wynne Jones’ novel Howl’s Moving Castle and wanted to get back into paper craft, so thought this would be a great opportunity to try reimagining the book cover. The idea was to reveal a central character comprised of different layers of cut paper. You see a fuller picture of who a character is the further into a story you go, and I wanted to reflect this using depth and shadow. The cover focuses on my interpretation of Calcifer, a fire-demon and former shooting star, and really trying to reconcile those two factors in a minimalist way.

5. What’s been happening in design for you since you entered?
A lot! I’ve been working as a creative director for a tech company which I really enjoy, and have been trying my hand at digital hand lettering. Definitely need more practice but loving it. It’s been a hectic year and I’ve been trying to focus on more personal projects in my spare time.


You can get in touch with Rommey at LinkedIn or via email.

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