Design heroes, Notebook

Design heroes: David King

Notebook: 17 October 2014

Having just watched the wonderful film Pride which is set in 1984 and is based on a true story of lesbian and gay activists supporting the miner’s strike, it prompted me to recall some of the bold, political graphics of the time such as Rock against Racism posters, Anti-Nazi League banners and logo and City Limits magazine covers.


three city limits covers

These were all designed by a guy called David King and many of us who grew up in the late 1970s and early 80s will remember his distinctive yellow, red and black constructivist style designs with condensed block sans fonts. City Limits (1981-1993) was a London listings magazine that rivalled Time Out and each week both magazines’ covers vied for attention on the newsagent’s shelf. Now, what I hadn’t realised was that David King had also been art editor at The Sunday Times Magazine from 1965-1975 and had worked alongside the famous art director, Michael Rand. The Sunday Times Magazine employed some of the best photographers, illustrators and writers of the day and as a young child I remember avidly looking through the pages of the magazine and admiring Don McCullin’scaptivating black and white photos from the Vietnam war and features brought to life with bold illustration such as that by Brian Sanders shown here.

d3facc26a9c406fcf1fe3fc9368cc5f2  McCullin

I remember trying to persuade my father to buy The Sunday Times just so that I could look at the magazine but he said it was too expensive and so we had to make do with the dull old Sunday Express. Luckily for me, our next door neighbour saved me all his copies. Looking back, I guess it was David King and Michael Rand’s designs for The Sunday Times magazine that first aroused my interest in magazine design. You can read more about David King on Mike Dempsey’s fascinating blog.