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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Raymond Hawkey (1930-2010)

Designer and author Raymond Hawkey died on Sunday, 22 August, aged 80. Born in Plymouth, Devon, on 2 February 1930, the only son of John Hawkey, a commercial traveller, and his wife Constance (née Steckhahn). Whilst his father hoped Hawkey would become an accountant, the young boy preferred drawing. He won a scholarship to the local grammar school and, at 16, began attending Plymouth School of art. Two years later he won a scholarship to the Royal College of Art, studying illustration for a year before switching to graphics course.

Hawkey became the assistant director of ARK, the RCA magazine, and supplemented his grant by working for the Central Office of Information and working part time for the picture department of the Sunday Graphic. He won a deign competition sponsored by Vogue and was offered a job by Condé Nast. Quickly establishing himself as an art director of note, he briefly worked for the advertising agency Colmon Prentis and Varley before joining the Daily Express in 1959 where he was considered a trailblazer in the use of illustration and graphics in news reports.

In 1964 he became presentations director of The Observer and helped launch their colour magazine, winning the Newspaper Design Award twice during his 11 years with the paper. From 1975 he worked as a consultant on numerous magazines and newspapers, his clients including IPC, the Daily Mail and The Independent.

To the wider world he was better known for his book cover designs. When Len Deighton, a fellow student at the RCA, sold his first novel to Hodder & Stoughton, he suggested that they employ Hawkey to design the dust jacket. Hodder were unimpressed by the stark, minimalist image of a Smith & Wesson revolver laying next to a chipped cup with a cigarette stubbed out on its saucer and refused to pay more than 15 guineas (its standard fee) out of the agreed 50. Deighton had to stump up the balance. The IPCRESS File became a best-seller and the cover an iconic image from the 1960s and was reused in the late 1960s for the Panther paperback.

The book's success meant that Hawkey was invited back, following Deighton to Jonathan Cape, who also published Ian Fleming's James Bond books. Hawkey then became the designer of the 1963 Pan editions of the Bond novels, with the innovation of putting the name JAMES BOND at the top of each book in larger type than both the title and Fleming's byline. Another Hawkey innovation on Thunderball was to have two bullet holes die-cut into the cover, a photograph of a girls' back. Hawkey used a similar device when he designed the covers for Richard Stark's novels published by Coronet in 1969-74. You can see more of Hawkey's innovative designs in two of the galleries I've published at Bear Alley: James Bond and Len Deighton. He also provided covers for Kingsley Amis, Frederick Forsyth and Gavin Lyall as well as designing the title sequence for the Deighton-scripted film, Oh! What a Lovely War.

The full title sequence for Oh! What a Lovely War can be found here.
Hawkey also wrote three novels: Wild Card (1974), Side-Effect (1979) and It (1983, also published as End Stage). He lived for many years in a flat in Notting Hill and is survived by his wife, Mary, whom he married in 1989.

Obituaries: Daily Telegraph (31 August), The Guardian (31 August). There is also an excellent tribute by Edward Milward-Oliver (24 August).

(* The photo I found here on a website dedicated to spy fiction, Mister 8. Not sure what the copyright situation is on this one.)

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