The jacket – for Len Deighton's first novel, The Ipcress File – introduced high-key photography and commercial art techniques to the dull world of cover design and has been described as the template for all airport novels since. The book's publishers, Hodder and Stoughton, were appalled by the groundbreaking illustration designed by the late Raymond Hawkey. But it went on to be regarded as a trend-setting moment.
At the centre of the current row is a virtually identical jacket on Harry Lipkin, PI. This book's publishers and author, Barry Fantoni of Private Eye fame, call it an "affectionate homage" to Hawkey, although they admit it is used without acknowledgement or authorisation.
Hawkey's widow, Mary Hawkey, Deighton's biographer, Edward Milward-Oliver, and a number of Hawkey's contemporaries have branded the jacket a rip-off and asked for its withdrawal, condemning it as "shameful" and "outrageous".
Mary Hawkey calls the jacket "plagiarism". "I can't tell you how distressed I am on seeing such an obvious copy of Ray's work. He was extraordinarily generous with, and encouraging towards, young graphic designers, but I believe he would have been appalled and angered by such a naked, barefaced copying."
Full story at The Observer