David John King (born 1943, West London).

After leaving The Sunday Times Magazine, King designed many covers for Penguin Books and other publishers, such as Pluto Press, often based on left-wing and political themes.

In the late 1970s, outraged by the treatment of black people under the South African system of apartheid, he volunteered his services as a designer to the Anti-Apartheid Movement, producing many trenchant posters for the cause. Similarly alarmed by the racist language and actions of the National Front, he designed protest posters for the Anti-Nazi League, which was set up to confront the NF. King’s covers for the left-wing London listings magazine City Limits share the same ultra-bold manner of design, which became his signature style. King’s last major commissions as a graphic designer were the art direction of Crafts magazine, from 1984 to 1988, and book cover designs for Earthscan, a publisher of titles about sustainable development.

“I always saw things in terms of film: close-up, longshot, multi-pictures, giant picture bled off. Crop it harder than it’s ever been cropped before, if it works. Contrast it, use primary colours, wood letters, double-printing, triple-printing – fantastic!” David King, 1998


1 thought on “David John King (born 1943, West London).”

  1. David King studied at LCP. He said that it was seeing a lecture by Robert Brownjohn (http://robertbrownjohn.com) that switched him on. There was also a comment about the diversity of staff at LCP where you might agree with one person and spar with the next. It was said that Robin Fior was an influence. King also designed record sleeves for The Who, Arthur Brown and Jimi Hendrix. King began to tire of the commentary around the design profession and got more into writing and research. When he died it wasn’t the design profession that picked up on this but his political allegiances such as Marxism.com and World Socialism Website. Esteban Volkov, Leon Trotsky’s grandson commented on his marvellous contribution. Design historian Richard Hollis knew him well, he was at the lecture the other night. When Rick Poynor couldn’t answer a question I thought ask Richard, he’s here.


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