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Greetings card designs
not just a shop x Tate card winners 2021

We run competitions throughout the year to provide students with opportunities to sell and showcase their work in not just a shop.

This includes our annual Christmas card competition with Tate, as well as competitions to get your designs transferred onto products to be sold in-store.

These provide current students who may not have market-ready products with a chance to get their work retailed. We manage the manufacturing, packaging and marketing and you do not have to be registered as a business to apply.

Apply for the not just a shop Notebook Design Brief 2022

Application deadline: 10am Monday 15 August 2022

We would like to invite you to create a design for a A5 notebook cover, to be sold not just a shop from September 2022. Our design theme for the notebook is joy.

What does joy mean to you and how can you translate this feeling into a notebook cover design? The design should not be limited to a literal representation of joy, this could be an abstract design or photographic piece that communicates the theme.

What we’re looking for

Designs should be appealing to the general public and represent the quality, creativity and diversity of UAL. Entries will be assessed on their originality, public appeal and the ability to evoke the feeling of joy.

Whilst the final image must be submitted in a digital format for a printed notebook, we encourage applications from all disciplines including but not limited to; graphic design, communication design, photography, painting, drawing, illustration, sculpture and animation.

Our practical parameters for the notebook design are: 

  • The notebook cover needs to have a front, back and spine incorporated within the design.
  • The full notebook cover dimensions are 314 x 216 mm. This includes 148 x 210mm for the A5 front design,12 x 210mm for the spine, 148 x 210mm for the A5 back design and 3mm bleed along the edge of the full design.
  • The design of the notebook will be laid out flat with the front cover on the right side of the design and back cover area on the left.
  • Key design elements (e.g. text) need be kept outside the 3mm from the design edge as this could be trimmed off in the production.
  • A template is available on the competitions page. 
  • We have also included an example design using the template.

The winning designs will be produced by not just a shop and we will need the Illustrator, EPS, or Tiff files. Copyright in the design will remain with the creator, but not just a shop will print a limited run to sell in store and online.

We will be using Generation Press to produce the A5 softcover notebooks. The notebooks will have 150 lined interior pages of 120gsm FSC recycled paper and the covers will be printed on 350gsm FSC recycled paper. Generation Press is B Corp Certified printing company based in Sussex.

We will select up to 2 designs to produce and each designer will receive a cash prize of £250 and 5 copies of their notebook.

Winners will be announced at the end of July and successful students will be invited to meet with the not just a shop team and have a one-to-one to discuss the production of their design.

What makes good notebook design?

When designing your notebook consider:

The audience, and who will buy and who will receive it? 

People enjoy notebooks that are aesthetically appealing to the buyer to liven up their office or study notes. Who do you want to purchase your notebook and where do you imagine it being used? When purchasing a notebook what do you look for in the design? It should have wide public appeal, consider who the audiences of not just a shop might be.

Think about the message you want to convey with your design.

Commercially viable notebooks usually have a versatile cover design and have imagery that’s suitable for all work environments as well as personal uses.

How does the colour pallet impact your design?

Colour can create a certain mood or theme and can highlight aspects of the design.

Is your image original/a different take on joy? 

If you can, research other notebooks to look for recurring themes and ideas and try to find a unique take on them. We have provided a resource document on the competitions page with examples of notebooks with contemporary designs which are currently available on the high street, this can be a good starting point when considering your design and what’s currently available on the high street.

Does your image fit the file type and dimensions set in the criteria?

When creating your notebook design, please make sure your artwork has a high image quality, at least 300dpi. We would advise doing a final quality check before submitting to ensure the dimensions are correct, you’ve included the bleed marks, and your design is in the best position, e.g. checking your design is clear, readable text size (if included), finished colouring etc.

How to enter

We will select only one design per person but you are welcome to apply with multiple designs for a better chance of selection:

  • Upload your design by 10am on Monday 15 August 2022
  • Submission file type: High resolution JPEG (300 dpi) with a max size of 1MB
  • Apply using this application form

NB: If selected the winning entry will need to supply an Illustrator, EPS or Tiff file.

  • Image format: 314 x 216 mm with allowance for a 3mm bleed around outside edge. Please note that this is the cover design laid flat including a 12mm spine, the A5 front cover of the design will be on the right side and the A5 back cover will be on the left side. A template is available here.

The prize

2 winning students will each receive:

  • Prize of £250
  • Five professionally printed notebooks of their winning design


  • Current student studying at one of UAL’s six colleges on a BA, MA, PHD or FdA level course
  • Disciplines including but not limited to: Graphic design, communication design, photography, painting, drawing, illustration, sculpture, animation.
  • Design must evoke or capture the feeling of joy
  • The full surface design for the A5 notebook must be 314 x 216 mm. This includes 148 x 210mm for the A5 front design,12 x 210mm for the spine, 148 x 210mm for the A5 back design and 3mm bleed along the edge of the full design. A template is available on the competitions page.

Criteria for selection

  • High quality production or crafting skills
  • Creativity, uniqueness, and offer fresh approach to the theme of joy
  • Commercial viability, for example have wide public appeal

Supporting documents

Terms and conditions

  • This competition is open to current students from all UAL colleges and courses (including international students).
  • There is no limit to the number of submissions that can be sent in and students are welcome to collaborate on the design(s), but to note that the prize money will be divided equally between them should their design be selected.
  • You can submit multiple entries but only one notebook per student will be selected.
  • Designs should be commercially viable and may be required to be adapted to increase suitability (in agreement with the entrant).
  • Artwork can be produced in any medium but must be submitted as a high-resolution digital image.
  • Winning applicants will need to supply the final artwork to not just a shop as an Illustrator, EPS or Tiff file and provide a short designer biography.
  • The intellectual property of designs submitted but not selected will remain entirely with the students who created them.
  • Designs entered must be your own original artwork, of which you hold and will maintain the copyright to.
  • Prize of £250 is equivalent to royalties for production of 50 notebooks. If we decide to print more, we will contact you to discuss a further fee.
  • The winning designs will also be used across UAL marketing and advertising materials to promote not just a shop and future competitions. You will be credited whenever image is used.
  • Production of the notebooks will be managed by not just a shop.
  • The notebooks will be produced as branded merchandise for UAL. The branded details will be in the inside of the cover design, we will send this over for the winner’s approval.
  • The notebooks will be sold both in-store and through the online shop from September 2022.
  • Proceeds from the sale of the notebooks in not just a shop, will be reinvested into UAL’s Careers and Employability department, which provides free support for students and alumni.

Brought to you by the Careers and Employability department, not just a shop sells a diverse range of home, fashion and giftware – all created by those who studied at the University’s six leading arts colleges. Proceeds from the retail business are reinvested into UAL’s growing enterprise programme, which provides free talks, workshops, funding and one-to-one business advice for the University’s students and alumni.

If you believe there are any barriers to your participation in this opportunity, or you have any access requirements you wish to discuss, we would be happy to talk to you.  Please contact in advance.

Contact us 

Got a question about not just a shop or need help with your application?

Email the team on or contact us via the social channels at the bottom of this page. Please allow 48 hours for a response.

Useful resources

  • Photo of the inside of UAL's shop.
    not just a shop. Photo by Damian Griffiths.
    Apply to sell your work in not just a shop

    If you're a student or graduate from UAL you can apply to sell your work in not just a shop through our open calls.

  • Illustration of a person multitasking
    Starting A Business by Gracie Dahl
    Freelance and business support

    Our enterprise team can support you with many aspects of setting up and running a successful business or freelance practice.

  • A man painting on canvas.
    Mohammed Adel painting in the studio. Photo Alys Tomlinson
    Support for visual artists  

    Artquest provides the professional information, advice and projects that visual artists need to understand the art world.