This stunning series of James Bond covers were the paperback presence of Ian Fleming’s character during the height of its fame in the 1960s and the Sean Connery films. There were millions of copies printed so that by the time I started collecting in the late 70s/early 80s, these were still the most-common editions to be found, even though other cover designs had succeeded them.
The previous paperback series had more typical painted illustration covers, but these simple, conceptual and iconic covers remain fantastic examples of design. They were the first series of Bond books to use modern typefaces (Helvetica and News Gothic in this case), and minimalistic imagery that included photographs. They would have stood out on a spinner rack that was still dominated by traditional imagery.
While I’ve listed the books below with the date of their first printings, the first cover designed was Thunderball, by Raymond Hawkey in 1963. The rest followed and were done by designers on staff at Pan.
007 Magazine did a great article on Mr. Hawkey in issue #54 (Feb 2011), available on their website.
Casino Royale (1953)
Live and Let Die (1954)
Diamonds are Forever (1956)
From Russia with Love (1957)
Dr. No (1958)
For Your Eyes Only (1960)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1964)
The Man with the Golden Gun (1965)
Octopussy and the Living Daylights (1966)
What follows are the other Fleming-related Pan books of the 60s. Movie tie-in versions, Fleming’s non-Bond books and a couple of others. Presented in chronological order. Readers new to Bond may note that the books were filmed in a different order than they were written, and as the movies went on they used less and less of Fleming’s narrative.
The Diamond Smugglers (1960)
Dr. No (1962)
From Russia with Love (1963). Like Thunderball with its die-cut bullet holes, this edition has the film sprockets punched out.
Goldfinger (1964). Printed with gold metallic ink.
Thrilling Cities, Part One (1964)
Thrilling Cities, Part Two (1965)
The James Bond Dossier (1965) by Kingsley Amis. Analysis and commentary. Published at the height of Bondmania.
You Only Live Twice (1967)
Casino Royale (1967). The first film version was a rather bad send-up of all things Bond, but the DVD is worth picking up for the included black & white TV version from 1954 with Barry Nelson as Bond.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Colonel Sun (1970). Robert Markham was a nom de plume for Kingsley Amis, and this was the first post-Fleming Bond novel.
Diamonds are Forever (1971)
My Name’s Bond, James Bond (2000). An anthology of memorable excerpts from Fleming’s Bond books, organised by theme. Edited by Simon Winder for Allen Lane/The Penguin Press. A nice little hardcover volume that uses the Pan covers as design inspiration.