Thu, 6 May 2010


A look at his seminal work

BY  Adam Young

UPDATE: Raymond Hawkey died aged 80 on 30 August 2010. Read the obituaries at The Guardian and The Telegraph.

Len Deighton’s novels Berlin Game, Set and Match feature striking cover art; I remember being thrilled and slightly afraid of them when I first found them on my father’s bookshelves. They were designed by a colleague of Deighton’s from London’s Royal College of Art, Raymond Hawkey. His style is distinctive and influential: photographic elements, strong, blocky typefaces, simple and clean layouts.

Book covers
He often used the Super Grotesk typeface, bold and condensed. [expand this section, analyze hawkey's style]. His designs harken back to a time when design was done at a table with real tools, cutting and pasting photos and type.

His single foray into film titles was Oh! What a Lovely War by Richard Attenborough (for which Len Deighton wrote the screenplay). The titles feature impeccably lit photographic stills (taken by David Cripps) and interesting typography against a white background. Mike Dempsey describes the sequence:

Starting with items reflecting the jingoistic flag-waving, King and Country mentality, the images move on to symbolise the ultimate result of war. Death is represented by a skull and, in the last frame, a lone red poppy...In another designer's hands it could have easily slipped into a nostalgic pastiche.


Dempsey, Mike. "An Eye for Detail". Graphic Journey Blog. 6 January 2009. Web. 1 Mar 2010. Retrieved from: