Art Direction : David King

Following a link about the Anti Nazi League posters I came across the recent obituary for photographer and designer David King the other day, mainly as I was interested to learn who designed those brilliant graphics for the ANL posters and flyers (and badges, I still have a small collection I amassed at the time) which were a big part of the late Seventies for me and many others.
I had not made the connection between him and sleeve design before though. David King’s day job in the Sixties was the art director at The Sunday Times Magazine, which again I always admired back in the Sixties (goodness knows what he would have made of the awful advertorial mess it has become these days.)
David was friends with Chris Stamp, who got him to design and art direct a few sleeves for his label, Track Records. A few sleeves. For Hendrix and The Who.
I can still show you the record shop window in Sheffield where I first saw The Who Sell Out sleeve on display. I was too young to understand what it was really, but it clearly made an impression! Hendrix’s Axis Bold As Love is again a very memorable cover, even if David misunderstood which Indian heritage Jimi wanted it to reflect. Electric Ladyland needs no introduction (and I won’t repeat the cover here!), but what a cover to have been onvolved with, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown is less well known, albeit just as clever and particularly timeless. You could easily imagine it appearing on one of the Stone Roses albums 20 years later.
For all these covers, David acted effectively as art director, commissioning the photographs (from David Montgomery) and illustrations (by Roger Law) and giving them the brief. So for Hendrix, David sourced an original Indian poster and explained to Roger how he wanted it redoing and adapting.
I like to keep this blog to material I own normally, and I do not have originals for any of these covers, so have sourced them from the web.
You can read The Guardian obituary here. I was very depressed to see I was the only person to have commented but I guess that is because it’s buried away amongst the clickbate which passes for The Guardian site these days.

About simon robinson

Having worked as a graphic designer in the music industry, mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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1 Response to Art Direction : David King

  1. All three covers featured here are iconic in their own ways. The Who and Jimi in 1967 and Arthur Brown in ’68. Vale David King.

    Thanks for this acknowledgement.

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