The designs

A visual overview of Len Deighton's design work

In this section of the website you will find information and a visual record of Len Deighton's career as a designer, and the wider design aspects of his books and movies.

Before The Ipcress File, Deighton was originally an artist and a trained graphic designer working for a range of commercial agencies and freelance for publishing houses like Penguin and André Deutsch.

He did his professional training at the St Martin's College of Art & Design in Charing Cross - for which he received monetary support from a fund for ex-servicemen - and the Royal College of Arts in London. He was one of a number of emerging young designers in the 'fifties who were moving design away from the stiff formalism of what had gone before and drawing on elements of American advertising and film.

It was as a designer, working first in the publishing field and then in advertising - including a time spent as an Art director in a New York ad agency - that Deighton developed his first writing break when his 'cookstrip' designs (see right) were picked up and serialised in The Observer. He had developed these as simple aides memoire for his own - very professional - work as a food writer and cook.

As well as incorporating his own designs in his books, Deighton worked closely with a number of designers such as his close pal, the late Raymond Hawkey and former fellow design student Arnold Schwartzman to create a consistent 'look' across all his work.

Book cover pioneer

Take a look at many of Deighton's book cover designs in the 'fifties and 'sixties when he worked as a freelance designer in London. All contain his characteristic jerky, dark outlines and bold use of colour

Design for books

Much of the design work for Len's own books and marketing campaigns has been ground-breaking, in large part to the contribution of two friends - Ray Hawkey and Arnold Schwartzman - along with a range of other designers and photographers


Do you speak Deutsch?

Deighton worked on a freelance basis for publishing house Arnold Deutsch, producing book cover designs and covers for their catalogies. Find out more here