Adam Hay

Adam Hay - Designer

York, UK

I am a book designer with over 37 years experience collaborating with authors to produce intelligent, creative solutions.

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I’ve designed and illustrated books and book covers for large clients in fiction, non-fiction, literary fiction, arts, architecture, photography, business, government, economics, music and music education, but have tackled projects in many sectors over a long career in design for publishing. I believe a book’s style and functionality comes only through careful assessment of content with authors and production staff. Simple. Hands on. Content lead. When the organisation of a strong grid structure and application of highly detailed typography follows the result can only be a more creative, coherent product for readers.

An early career in magazine publishing built strong skills in art direction of photography and commissioning of illustration. I also work as an illustrator, painter and photographer. I utilise a small in-house photography studio. Major clients include: Thames and Hudson, Phaidon Press, Faber & Faber Music, ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music), Schott Music GmbH, The Music Sales Group, The Edition Peters Group (Leipzig and London), BBC World Service, The Independent, The Times Educational Supplement, Wordsearch (architecture and design), Euromoney, The Architectural Press, Greenpeace, ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and many, many more.
Biographies & Memoirs
Literary Fiction
Mystery & Crime
Thriller & Suspense

Work experience

Independent Graphic Design Professional

August, 1993 – Present (over 29 years)

I specialise in design for publishing, concentrating on book covers and illustrated books, whilst continuing to work in most areas of print design. I work for many major London publishing houses and for several in Germany and, thanks to Reedsy, I now have a number of regular clients in the US. I approach each project afresh wishing content to lead the design process. I prefer to keep a close working relationship with writers, authors and editors as this tends to produce the most intelligent, appropriate design solutions. Please visit the studio’s website for greater detail of recent output. A small selection of work is also on display below.

For Richard Hollis

Graphic Design: A Concise History
July, 1993 – January, 1994 (6 months)

I was invited by Richard Hollis– one of the most influential figures in British graphic design who has worked as a printer, magazine editor, print-production manager, writer, teacher and a graphic designer – to work on his best-selling book Graphic Design: A Concise History, part of Thames and Hudson’s World of Art series. The book was put together sitting with Richard at his home studio. Images were embedded in the text following what Richard had done in John Berger’s book Ways of Seeing.

Creative Artworker

Pearce Marchbank, Studio Twenty
August, 1991 – August, 1993 (about 2 years)

This was actually the start of my freelance career. Pearce Marchbank, RDI, offered desk space at his Islington studio – which relocated to The Archer Street Studios in Soho and changed its name to Studio Twenty – in order that I provide desktop publishing, (new at the time) leaving me the chance to continue building my own client base. Pearce’s output is prodigious. I art-worked Music Sales books, catalogues, broadsheet newspaper redesigns and material for the wine merchant John Armit. Being around such an influential designer as Pearce afforded me an ultimate opportunity. I began to work in book publishing and soon started my own studio.

Associate Art Director

Burnett Associates
July, 1990 – August, 1991 (about 1 year)

I designed annual reports, logos, marketing campaigns and a magazine for the RSPCA, among many other projects. Accounts: Greenpeace, ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), RPSCA, National Asthma Campaign and the National Schizophrenia Fellowship.

Art Director

Redwood Publishing
June, 1989 – July, 1990 (about 1 year)

Intercity Magazine. Hired by Paul Harpin. I re-designed the title and art directed it. I brought in the first Apple Mac to Redwood’s design dept., then situated at Old Street. I also worked on several special advertising supplements for TimeInc., London

Art Director

May, 1988 – June, 1989 (about 1 year)

Now a worldwide company I art directed for Wordseach, the original publishers of Blueprint and Eye Magazines, at the Cramer Street building in Marylebone.

Assistant Art Editor

The Architectural Press
January, 1987 – May, 1988 (over 1 year)

I was hired as assistant art editor for The Architect’s Journal, known affectionately as the AJ, by Simon Esterson, who had just re-designed the magazine and was still overseeing it at the time

Art Editor

CW Communications
January, 1986 – June, 1987 (over 1 year)

I was responsible for art editing Computer News, a weekly broadsheet, and ICL’s flagship monthly ICL Today.

Assistant Art Editor

Haymarket Publishing
January, 1985 – May, 1986 (over 1 year)

I was hired by Art Director Roland Schenk. Management Today Magazine. Campaign Magazine.

Adam has 91 reviews

Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Aura Shira Michel
I feel extremely blessed to have come across such a talented and creative designer! Adam really did a brilliant job on the cover as well as the interior. He has tremendous patience and is so pleasant to work with. He really has gone above and beyond what is expected, I believe. He is ready to help and will not leave the job undone. He has also been extremely accommodating in terms of payme...
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Aura Shira Michel, January 2023

Colin Templeman
Very good work once again. Even more so given the time of year. Throughout Christmas and the New Year Adam continued to communicate regardless, acknowledging my needs and then delivering on time.

Colin Templeman, January 2023

Katie Carlyon
It was a pleasure working with Adam. I am not the easiest person, but he worked with me extremely well, checked in with me and answered my many many questions! Thank you Adam I love my book cover ❤️

Katie Carlyon, December 2022

Colin Templeman
How Adam was able to come up with such an outstanding book cover that captured the essence and narrative of my whole manuscript, whilst only having had minimal insight, is something to be admired. Here is a person who is, without doubt, well and truly on top of his craft.

Colin Templeman, December 2022

greg keynes
Adam did an excellent job on my cover, and our communication was vital to build an exciting project together. His years of professionalism were clearly demonstrated, and I would happily recommend Adam to anybody to complete their cherished manuscript. The Flying Bushman - Western Australia

greg keynes, December 2022

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