Len Deighton, designer

While best know for his written words, Len Deighton was an accomplished graphic designer and illustrator. As Deighton himself has commented, his work as an artist shaped his work as author. He wrote as he would design, with a particular emphasis on description for example.

Len Deighton was at the centre of this revolution as student and then as a writer. His pal Raymond Hawkey was a student with Deighton at the Royal College, and subsequently went on to design some of the most iconic book covers in publishing history, changing forever the scope of what a cover could do for a book, with his black and white photography and sparse, simple lettering. Deighton, Hawkey and others were also to recognise the growing link between art and the commercial world such as in advertising.

The production of Ark magazine, the in-house journal for the Royal College of Art which subsequently became a commercial operation creating and designing a high end periodical on art, design and words, was something in which Len Deighton was involved and edited on a couple of occasions. Many of those who worked with Deighton on Ark and other projects went on themselves to become leading designers and artists. Through his book covers, his posters, his work inspiring other designers, his own distinctive drawing style and his acceptance of the commercial benefits of good design, Len Deighton can add design to writing and cookery as areas where he has had a significant influence on the development of these fields. Click on the images below to go to each section.

Book covers








More to come


All content (c) Rob Mallows 2010-2016 (unless otherwise stated)