The year: 1968
Me with my first brand new car. My second VW Bettle
And here is some of the news for that year:
British Rail ran their last steam train.
The White Album with its minimalist cover by Richard Hamilton.
I bought this album...
Having located a copy of The Bookseller in the local library, I eventually
found the ad for the job as art director of William Heinemann. The description
required the candidate to have experience of commissioning art, producing
production artwork, liaising with printers, etc., etc. I quickly realised that
to have any chance of getting this job, I would have to be extremely
‘economical’ with the truth. So at the interview I said ‘yes’ to everything,
with great enthusiasm. Amazingly, it worked and I got the job and immediately
began to panic. There was so much I didn’t know and what I quickly realised was
that the very people who had interviewed me also knew very little about the
job. Thinking quickly, I contacted the various printers who printed the
finished book jackets and owned up to my inexperience. All were wonderfully
generous and coached me in the mysteries of letterpress and offset litho
printing, along with the various papers and finishes.
For the first time, I had a secretary and was left very much alone to get on with the job. The previous Art Director Tom Simmons had built up a very good body of designers that he commissioned, many of whom went on to very successful careers in advertising...
These two covers were by Ron Collins (left) and Neil Godfrey (right). They both went on to become giants in the advertising world
These two jackets were by a wonderful design collective called Churchill/Holmes/Kitley. They produced many covers during the 1960's and 1970's then disappeared, never to be seen again.
Initially I continued with many of them, but I soon started to make time to see new designers, as well as having my antennae out for what was going on. You have to remember that this was an age where the only form of immediate communication was this…
There was just one magazine: the monthly Design (above). Apart from its cover, it contained very few graphics. Other than this, there was Graphis magazine, and the D&AD, Modern Publicity, Penrose and Graphis annuals were all relatively expensive. So that was the main source of seeing other designers work, apart from magazines like Twen, Town and Nova and the colour supplements, which were relatively new but had great art directors commissioning some exciting things.
The publishing scene in 1968 was a very gentlemanly affair with many independent houses, not the large conglomerates we have today. Heinemann’s offices were situated on Queen’s Street, Mayfair. Chairman Dwye Evans; Managing Director Charles Pick; Editorial Director Roland Gantt; and Production Director Nigel Viney were all comfortably situated on the first floor with individual, plush rooms with oriental rugs and large mahogany desks set against walls lined with glass-fronted bookcases. They would be given morning coffee and afternoon tea (from India or China) along with biscuits served by the live-in housekeeper, Ella.
I quickly got used to seeing the likes of J.B. Priestley, Paul Gallico, Peter Ustinov, Patricia Highsmith and many more distinguished authors visiting the building. As I was situated on the top floor next to the publicity director, I would often be invited in for drinks and be exposed to these literary giants. I was still very green and rather uncomfortable in this elite company. Most of the people at Heinemann were university graduates and were very bright. Then there was me with one O-level in art still living with my parents in Dagenham. This was a different world and I was just bluffing my way through day by day. The Publicity Director William Holden was a wonderfully sympathetic and warm character. He picked up on my anxieties and very subtly set about helping me to overcome my inferiority complex. He’d make a point of including me in book launches, would take me to lunch, suggest food and wines and generally knocked me into shape to help me feel more at ease in this rarefied world of publishing. I embraced it wholeheartedly and am indebted to him for his generosity.
My film for the year..
Stanley Kubrick's ultimate trip, 2001: A Space Odyssey
And here is my effort for 1968...
I was beginning to illustrate more by this time, heavily influenced by the style of the time.
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