Friday, 20 January 2012

Deep Cover: The Hunt for Len Deighton's Dustjacket and Paperback Cover Designs


Interrupting the Desmond Cory/Johnny Fedora posts momentarily, Rob Mallows from The Deighton Dossier contacted me last night asking for assistance on a matter to do with Len Deighton's dustjacket designs. For those who don't know, prior to making a splash with his debut novel, The Ipcress File, in 1962, Deighton was a designer and illustrator (he trained alongside his friend Raymond Hawkey at the Royal College of Art), and created covers and jackets for a good number of books from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s (something of a Golden Age for cover design, in my opinion), perhaps the most famous being his design for the 1958 Andre Deutsch British edition of Jack Kerouac's On the Road.

Together with Len himself, Rob Mallows has identified twenty-two books which sport Deighton-designed covers, but he suspects there may be more, and is currently working with The Len Deighton Companion author Edward Milward-Oliver to try and track down any missing ones. Rob's posted a complete list of the known covers on The Deighton Dossier blog, so pop along there and have a look, and if you can spot any gaps in the list, do leave a comment either on that post or this one.

And with that, let's return to Desmond Cory, Johnny Fedora and Feramontov...

10 comments:

Kelly Robinson said...

I had no idea he did graphic design. I work in a gigantic used book store. This will give me something else to hunt for and collect. If I spot any unknown ones, I'll be sure and let you know.

Louis XIV, "The Sun King" (Nick Jones) said...

Cool, keep us posted if you find anything, Kelly!

Kelly Robinson said...

Do you know if these are credited, by chance? I think I have a handle on the style to look for, but I'm curious whether or not the flaps will give me any confirmation.

Anonymous said...

Yes, all these jacket designs and illustrations are credited. As a freelance commercial illustrator, it is most likely that every jacket design by Deighton will be credited.

Louis XIV, "The Sun King" (Nick Jones) said...

Thanks for answering that, Anonymous! I find that illustrated '50s/'60s jackets are usually credited, although there are exceptions. In those instances, though, there's usually a signature somewhere on the artwork. Did Deighton sign his illos?

Anonymous said...

All the Penguin cover illustrations are signed, and most of the jackets too.

Kelly Robinson said...

Thanks!

Luke said...

Hi Sun King,

Informative post as ever. Don't forget Deighton's foodie books, illustrated in comic strip style. I need to investigate exactly how many he wrote, but off the top of my head, can think of at least four.

Have you ever come across his travel guides, published in the 60's? I think there's one based on driving across France to Switzerland- it's designed in a 60's "Spy" style, and was rather obviously trying to appeal to wannabe International Men of Mystery.

Louis XIV, "The Sun King" (Nick Jones) said...

The Continental Dossier? I saw one of those the other day in a Brighton bookshop if so...

Luke said...

Yup that's the one...The Continental Dossier, published in 1968. Bought one a few years ago, and managed to loose it- however, plenty available very cheaply on abe. As we're planning a drive across France this summer, will try and track down another in decent condition...