Ian Fleming's James Bond

Spy meets Design

The Challenge

She turned to the Designer. ‘Hey, limey. What’s your name?’ ‘Davis. Tony Davis.’

This was the initial approach from Corinne Turner – Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. Well, maybe not quite that, but you get the picture. Corinne was interested in the design ideas and approaches Tony had used on a number of projects, not least Penguin and wanted to explore the Fleming assets (from books to personal archive) to create some unique objects.

The original Pan covers illustrated the excitement of the original books but these were no longer available. The film franchise also dominated the visual look of anything Bond-related. The words of the books were an option? So Tony set about reading all 14 of the Fleming originals to see what was possible. And, just a little bit, for the thrill and romance of it all…

About Ian Fleming’s James Bond: For more about Ian Fleming look here.

Project Overview & Solutions

The solution often turns out more beautiful than the puzzle – Richard Dawkins

Project Overview

The books themselves are visceral and exciting. They feature Fleming’s trademark interest in brands (he was an inveterate collector of ephemera during his travels and as correspondent for the Times). They are also peppered with many references to food and drink. Apart from spying Bond always seemed to be eating or drinking. This provided an additional verbal direction. The James Bond books have been published by a number of larger publishers since the 1950s and at the time of this project were published globally with Penguin Group. The UK covers were photographic featuring, largely, film-stills. The Penguin USA covers had an exciting re-work of the original Pan covers by Richie Fahey and Penguin’s Art Director Roseanne Serra. This was the basis for the design work.

Tony visited Richie Fahey in New York and permissions arranged to re-work the originals to the differing proportions of mugs (8 designs landscape), deckchairs (4 designs portrait), and bookbags (4 designs portrait). The mugs also featured dramatic quotes from each book on the reverse.

Distribution: UK/Europe/ROW
Availability: None of the designs are in production by now. Originally sold in various retailers all over the world and featured at the Imperial War Museum’s celebration of Ian Fleming’s 70th birthday.
Website: N/A
Development Phase: Complete

Other Projects

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better - Ralph Waldo Emerson