And the winner is… Happydesigner!

It may not be the Oscars, the BAFTAs, or the Oliviers, but we are thrilled to bits here at Happydesigner to have won an award for our children’s book illustration business.

We have been named Illustration Studio of the Year 2022 in the annual Prestige Awards. These awards were set up to recognise the hard work of small and independent businesses, which are overlooked by the larger, international awards. Winners – that’s us!

We’re delighted at this award win, because it’s not one that we sought out and entered ourselves into. Our hard work was spotted by the judges, and we were deemed worthy winners.

In their summary the judges said they were “impressed by the upbeat ethos that drives Happydesigner and has made them such a popular studio with their clients”.

They went on to say: “The artists are passionate about their work and offer a quirky and unique take on illustrations, which immediately sets them apart from their competitors. The services provided at the Herefordshire-based studio constitute a complete package for clients and cover every facet of the design journey in one destination, saving money and time and always going the extra mile to ensure satisfaction.”

They were also impressed by our green credentials, noting that we invest in worldwide climate and reforestation projects with Ecologi.

Wow! We’re very proud of these comments, especially as the judges picked up on the very ethos that we strive to maintain within our little company – fun, friendly, professional, quirky.

So, it got us to thinking about awards. The book world – which we inhabit, with our children’s book illustrations – has several awards.

Probably the most well-known is the Booker Prize but there are many, many others including the Costa Book Awards, the British Book Awards and Waterstones Book of the Year.

Some are for particular genres, like the Arthur C Clarke award for science fiction, or particular categories, such as the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

And of course, the ones we’re always really interested in relate to children’s fiction, like the Kate Greenaway Medal.

‘But is there any point to these awards?’ we hear you as ask. Well, we think there is. Because book awards shine a light on the world of literature and encourage people to read. They may not want to read all the Booker Prize long listers, but they may well go for a Costa Book Award winner.

We’re so thrilled that one silver lining to the pandemic has been the positive effect it has had on reading. More than 200 million print books were sold in the UK in 2020, the first time since 2012 that number has been exceeded. For children’s books, by September 2021 sales were up 9% year-to-date over 2020. 

And we know people love reading more than ever, because we are soooo busy here at Happydesigner working with our fantastic authors to illustrate and design their children’s books.

If you have a book project and you’d like to work with award-winning children’s book illustrators, then please do get in touch. We’d be happy to hear from you – after all, we are the ‘happy’ designers!

Written by Jo Smyth (

A few of my previous clients

happydesigner clients

  • "Outstanding illustrator with exceptional talent. You couldn’t wish for a better artist, as it would be impossible to find. Such a spectacular gifted designer who is always happy!" - Rachel Lake

  • “Thank you, Sarah, for the amazing work you did on the illustrations for my book. Working with you has been so easy thanks to your enthusiasm, flexibility, support, professionalism and, of course, the amazing quality of your work." – Stuart Neath

  • “When we first contacted Sarah, Dainty Dizzy was a concept;  an idea to be shaped into a brand.  Sarah took this idea and illustrated it perfectly….and our brand look and feel was born.” – Dainty Dizzy

  • "She has a keen eye for the quirky detail, she is punctual and a joy to work with. I simply cannot praise her enough.” - Clickety Books

  • "WOW! Love it! I'm so happy with what you've produced- and with so little input from me. FANTASTIC!!! THANK YOU” - Darren Pascoe: 'Red Rabbit Book'

  • Sarah is professional, friendly and very knowledgeable, she delivered 100% with a new logo that was spot on! We can't recommend her enough!” - Lucy @ Get Active

  • "It's been great working with Sarah as our illustrator! She's been so great in taking all feedback on board and delivers work of the highest standard. Would 100% recommend :-)" - Michelle Gibbs, Doodle Dozen Series
  • Sarah is an extremely talented designer and illustrator. She has that rare gift of being able to find something in your business or character that you never knew existed" Craig Green

  • “I am so happy that I found Sarah to bring my book to life. Sarah took the time to listen and really made the effort to make sure that I was happy and her brilliant designs translated the words of my book into a beautiful visual story." - Jodie Jackson

  • "Thank you both so much for your hard work and dedication. Sarah is a fantastic illustrator! It is nice to know I have worked with someone who is so professional at her job, and will certainly remember her for the future if I need another book illustrating."
  • Sarah really understood the brief right from the beginning and has been able to translate my ideas and mental images, that at times were quite specific, into magical illustrations that are better than I’d ever hoped. She has absolutely nailed it!” – Gareth Edwards

  • "Sarah is amazing - very fast at understanding the requirements, great pictures and never too much trouble. I recommend her wholeheartedly" - Fernando Caldeira-Saraiva
  • “Books arrived safely today- I am absolutely delighted with how they look – I can’t thank you enough – you’ve made my dream come true :)” – Jane Collins

  • "I can’t speak highly enough of Sarah! She has brought Roopert Snoopert to life in a way I could never have imagined.
    The illustrations are fantastic! Sarah keeps you update with progress from the draft stage right through to sign off." - Paul Micklewright
  • "I am absolutely thrilled with the colours and love the look and overall feel of the book, its so different and unique, thank you so much"
  • "These posters and flyers are perfect”
    - Julia G, Manager at the Truro branch of Pets at Home

  • "The logos are absolutely fantastic, they are spot on brief and are even better than we imagined!Paolo Pini, Step Up To Languages

  • "Sarah loves her work, her friendly ‘can do’ approach is reassuring whether you’re on your first or tenth book."  – Darron Jon Love
  • “Sarah was lovely to work with and keen to make sure that the illustrations were a perfect match for the story. It’s obvious that she really cares about her work and wants you, the author, to be happy with the final results.” – Marion Adams

  • Sarah has a great insight into how to best produce a children’s book and is really helpful in getting you there! I really cannot recommend Sarah enough – brilliant designer, friendly and professional. The experience has been a great one!“ – Jodie Jackson
  • “Sarah’s advice has been invaluable, she could have just illustrated my first attempt but knew there was more to be had from the story and pointed me towards the right help." – Darron Jon Love

  • "Sarah quickly understood what I wanted to achieve and the look I was after. Sarah kept me informed and brought me into the whole process” – Darron Jon Love

  • "Sarah understood what I was looking for and produced a fantastic logo for me.  She is very approachable and friendly – I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her” Katie Jarvis, Fancy Prints

  • “I was so nervous ringing you as i've never done anything like this before, but you were so friendly and put me completely at ease.” - Donna Purvis

  • "I hope my recommendation will persuade you to use Sarah! I cannot fault her, for her professionalism, enthusiasm and talent." - Michelle Hawkins, Director: The Flying DoDo

  • “Sarah’s re-branding of my business has given it a much needed fresh and quirky feel. She provided us with an extremely friendly courteous and efficient service and injected an energy into the project, that only Sarah could.” – Discovery Leisure