In the early 60s, Penguin books were involved in an ugly identity crisis. Messy, cluttered covers with ‘A PENGUIN BOOK’ written in 36pt, shouted in the faces of pursed lipped librarians everywhere. Consequently, the world stopped reading, people forgot how to speak and held placards outside parliament proclaiming ‘BALLARD WAS RIGHT’ but no one could understand the words.

Then came David Pelham and I could insert some hyperboles about how he freed the cover from the shackles of constrained design and I did, but it sounded cheap and tacky. What he did do was to reinvent the cover so that artist and author worked together on a blank canvas. He puts it best, “ (I was) Like the director of a dating agency… putting authors and designers together because I just had a hunch they would get along.” He was also damn good with a pen and ink, airbrushes and maybe some paint.

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